A THREE-PHASE World Bank project to upgrade rural feeder roads kicked off on Thursday with the signing of a $45 million financing agreement between the government and the bank. This is the first phase of the $60 million funding the World Bank is providing under a grand project to overhaul rural roads.
Obviously, good feeder roads facilitate easy movement of farm produce from villages to markets in urban area and beyond. But benefits from an improved rural road network go beyond moving cassava tubers, Irish potatoes, beans and cabbages from farms to markets. Benefits also go beyond walking on them to visit friends and relatives on the other side of the hill.
Good roads open up rural areas to investments in agri-business, health and education and indeed commercial farming – that is producing for the market.
Wherever a good road is constructed – whether in a rural or urban area – living conditions change for the better because it comes with improved services. Private schools will be built because it becomes easy to get students there; and so do private health facilities, retail and wholesale businesses. With a good road, no area is too remote for bank to open a branch. After all the population there would have been empowered to produce more and make money for the banks to keep.
That is why corporate citizens, local authorities and individuals should ensure that these roads are maintained in good condition; because everybody stands to benefit.
Local leaders should encourage people to take advantage of the improving infrastructure to produce for market – both local and regional – to better their lives. The government, as an enabler, is playing its part by ensuring availability of quality crop seeds, animal breeds, fertilisers and indeed good roads. It is up to the citizens to put all these investments to productive use.