Bridging the Rural-Urban Divide for Local Economic Development in Nekemte and its Hinterlands, Oromia, Ethiopia
This study explores some of the challenges to strengthening rural-urban linkages for local economic development in the Guto Gidda district of Oromia Region, Ethiopia. Participants were selected from farmers, traders, small-scale processors of maize and niger seed, and government officials using a snowball sampling technique. The primary data gathered related to flows of agricultural produce (maize and niger seed), people, and market information between the actors in agricultural products at Nekemte town and its hinterlands. The information was collected using interviews. Results indicated that despite the enabling policy of the government to facilitate rural-urban linkages, the linkages in the district remain weak as far as their capacity to improve the overall local economies. Diversification of economic activities is therefore used as a temporary strategy to reduce poverty, but it is a stop-gap venture rather than a strategy that could improve the income of the community at large. In this study, I recommend that investments in rural feeder roads, improved provision of rural microfinance and access to market information, and ensuring affordable agricultural inputs would improve rural-urban linkages and thus lead to stronger local economic development.
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