Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Rural Entrepreneurship: Grassroots Economics

“Give a man a fish and he will live for a day (aids, grants, donations, etc.);
"Teach a man how to fish, and he will live for many days." (skills development)
“Guide a man to raise fish, and he will live for a lifetime.” (entrepreneurship)

Dr Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature - School on Blog
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid with Melly C Tenorio
738 DZRB AM, 8 to 9 Evening Class, Monday to Friday 
 Local wine products (basi, fruit wines from tropical fruits0 and natural vinegar
cater to tourists and the local market.
 Vegetable and fruit stalls in Urdaneta, Pangasisnan attract many local 
buyers and tourists.
 Flue-cured tobacco on transit for delivery to cigarette manufacturers in Manila
 Tourists watch the making of empanada, Vigan's specialty - 
a version of Mexican tacos.
 Bamboocrafts (nesting basket, laundry basket, baby 
walker, etc)  on transport to market, Villasis, Pangasinan 
 Miniature wind mills, souvenir items around the giant 
windmills in Bangui, Ilocos Norte
Author and entrepreneur hold samples of fruit wine made from 
the ripe fruits of bignay, a wild fruiting tree. Adams, Ilocos Norte 

When I was asked me to give a reaction to this lecture (of the same title), I took it as an opportunity to participate as a student, rather than an expert, in rural entrepreneurship.

Spontaneity of the lecturer shows his mastery of the subject, and clearly manifests his rich experience in the field of rural entrepreneurship during his 20 years work with Philippine Business for Social Progress. I am sure that Mr Eugene Caccam wanted to share in more occasions such as this forum.

A. The rationale of rural entrepreneurship virtually finds no reason for debate among those who believe in such principles of development based on
1. internal growth
2. bottom-up approach
3. grassroots- based
4. people empowerment 
5. exodus to cities and other urban areas

B. It focuses attention to the solution of present ills of Philippine society characterized by hemorrhage of human resources attracted by opportunities abroad.
1. mass poverty ( there are 47 million Filipinos living below the poverty line today.)
          2. poor quality of life, as a consequence.
·              3. external –led economic formula may be treated as another case, and perhaps a different story.

C. Enterprise system provides/ strengthens the links of
     1. Farm and market
     2. Production and processing
     3. Research and technology
     4. Principal and secondary enhancing value-added to farm produce, equitable
sharing of the benefits among the various sectors involved, optimum    utilization of resources, reliable delivery/ distribution of goods to the consumers, and the like. 

I cannot help but relate rural entrepreneurship with the old Chinese saying which goes like this

   “Give a man a fish and he will live for a day (aids, grants, donations, etc.);
      Teach a man how to fish, and he will live for many days, (skills development)

If I may add on, following the trend of this Confucian philosophy-
    “Guide a man to raise fish, and he will live for a lifetime.” (entrepreneurship)

The continuum leads on to the development of a higher level of enterprise which may involve diversification and integration, export-directed products, etc. - all leading to a common idea that entrepreneurship encompasses a wide range of business opportunities which leads us to two topics: leadership and enterprise models.

D. Entrepreneurship rests on quality leadership and proven projects models. Eugene illustrated the three phases of development, namely: social preparation, technical and entrepreneurial preparations. I believe that these three phases are important in the development of both.

It is my observation that people who are successful in the first stage are likely to become good members of cooperatives.

Enterprise models of local or indigenous setting are found almost everywhere. To cite –

1.  Multiple cropping systems of Cavite and Ilocos (high- value crops revolving on rice and corn)
2.  Agro- industrial in Bulacan and Laguna (Village- based dairy, food processing, etc.)
3.  Multipurpose cooperatives (rice milling and trading, market vending, irrigation, etc.) There are many advantages of adopting local models, especially if they lend themselves to practical innovations. But this should not close sight to suitable foreign models.
4.  On the macro level, rural entrepreneurship must be extended necessary support and protection mainly from government through policies like protectionism to guard against unfair competition particularly from foreign enterprises/ interventions. (A review of the import liberalization policy is deemed necessary.)
a. Removal of unnecessary bureaucratic control/ barriers
b. Assurance of peace and order
c. Provision of basic infrastructure
d. Physical (Roads, Bridges, port facilities, etc.)
e. Social (Cooperative structure, “Kalakalan 20” or family-
    based, and village type enterprise structure)
f. Education- emphasis should be towards functional literacy ( one 
   out  of 4 Filipinos are functionally illiterates. Less than 10 % of
   agriculture graduates go into farming )

As rural enterprises grow, each striving for viability and self- reliance and working on the principle of cooperation and business linkages not only among themselves but with other sectors and organizations, this role of government becomes increasingly indispensable. I am referring to this role like a protective umbrella that is important to enhance the growth and the development of rural enterprises. This is greatly wanting under present conditions.

     E. Books rarely mention the unity of economics and ecology in rural entrepreneurship. I would like to deal on it further through these scenarios:

·         The “Unity of Enterprise” must be attuned to the “unity of the environment.”  The environment should be regarded as an ecosystem where all parts harmoniously work together. We help the ecosystem sustain its balance by protecting our forest, river, plains, coral reef and all other ecosystems.

Entrepreneurship should aim at enhancing the ecosystem’s balance, this being the foundation of sustainable productivity, the most important heritage we can pass on to the next generations.

On the enterprise level (micro), the concept of optimum resource utilization can be translated through vertical and horizontal integration. BUSPAN (Bulacan)  Multipurpose Cooperative has embarked into an  integrated business which has the following components:
1 irrigation,
2 rice milling,
3 warehousing,
4 input distribution,
5 farm credit,
6 by-product and waste recycling,
7 grain drying,
8 root crops and vegetable growing,
9 piggery and poultry
10.cattle fattening.

I hope that this article has opened up greater awareness on rural entrepreneurship as a vital component of any development formula. In fact, in many instances it is the formula itself. 

Lastly I would like to congratulate Eugene for his lecture, and to Prof Bien Nito and his staff for a very successful workshop. I would like to thank all the speakers and co-participants and especially to our foreign guests, Dr. Werner Bader and Dr. Holger Magel, for sharing their expertise and time. From them I learned a lot about agriculture and cooperative in their country, but the expression of the sciences or humanities of one’s country, but the expression of  people thinking together, working together, and moving forward together towards a common aspiration and goal.

NOTE: This reaction paper was retrieved from my lecture files. The reasons I am posting it are: 1. To accede to the request of the radio audience to have a lesson on entrepreneurship, and that, (2).I find the topic as relevant as it was presented. some  years ago, at then CRC, now University of Asia and the Pacific.  It poses the same challenges to entrepreneurial development in the Philippines – which admittedly is lagging behind other countries. ~

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