Regional News of Sunday, 16 February 2014
Keta, literally meaning the land of sand, was once the most populous town in the Volta Region.
Known for its rich and colourful culture, its colonial fort, the lagoon and golden sand beaches, the town currently relishes on past glory.
Keta has suffered many calamities, but has shown its resilience. It is a town that has been ravaged by the sea, which has ‘eaten’ the land.
According to oral tradition, the sea in Keta was four kilometres away from the main road in the town.
The construction of the Keta Sea Defence Wall and the reclamation of the lands had helped to transform the town, giving the people some relief.
In 1890, the first 25 miles trade road was built to link Anyako on the bank of the Keta Lagoon to the Avu Lagoon.
In 1902, the Volta Transport Company was established to convey goods between Atiteti and Ada, and continued to Accra and other parts of the country.
In addition, most of the foreign enterprises and firms had their own ships, thus improving and encouraging the export of livestock and fish, and the importation of goods through the Keta sea port.
By 1921, Keta had become the fourth largest town in Ghana, next to Accra, Kumasi and Cape Coast.
From the 1930s, the launch services were upgraded into regular fortnightly inter-coastal shipping services between Keta and other sea ports including Pampram, Winneba, Cape-Coast, Axim and Lagos in Nigeria.
The town experienced a boom in imports and exports, and thus increased shipping activities, provided work for the energetic fishermen, clerks and factory hands. However, from the 1940s, the growth of Keta declined sharply due to the threat of the sea erosion.
Currently, the major economic activities in and around Keta has been fishing and salt mining at Havedzi.
According to Mr. Samson Lotsu, who is the Managing Director of TransVolta Salt Complex Limited, lack of finance remained a major challenge facing the salt mining industry in the municipality.
He blamed the inability of his company to access bank loans on high interest rates and appealed to the government to come to their aid.