Overlooked potential for industrial development in rural communities

Other Names:
Lack of rural industrialization
Uncoordinated rural economic enterprises
Underuse of commercial enterprises in rural areas
Market economic activity in many communities consists only of below-subsistence farming. Possibilities for regional industries, available job opportunities or potential agricultural markets remain unexplored. Uncoordinated attempts at commercial enterprise, such as village markets and small businesses, may have only marginal success. The scant exposure to successful business enterprises and the past failure of economic ventures leaves residents hesitant to risk commercial investment. Resources and opportunities for the development of new enterprises in business and light industry are not explored and enterprises remain undeveloped. The shortage of facilities in supervisory and management development programmes is still more acute in rural areas except in countries having well-developed cooperatives. Distance and transportation costs are also a major deterrent to attracting new industries.
Industry in the developed countries is tending to move into rural areas in order to escape the problems of urban locations; but communities in these rural areas tend not to turn their attention to the work necessary to take full advantage of this resource, which could bring them added capital and employment opportunities. Often no market research or resource census is done to see how there could be a blending of small industries, nor is advantage taken of those financial advisory services which could gather the market data into accurate projections of income, expense and capitalization needs necessary for a nascent industry to be successful.
Limited employment opportunities perpetuate the role of unskilled labourers and villagers tend to work in nearby areas as unskilled farm labour, although others may work in larger towns and cities and commute to the village at weekends. Such labouring work and the time-consuming pattern of home-care for the women does not challenge the resources (particularly of the young) to acquire the skills or training needed to assume new roles in the job market. This compounds the problem because one of the major constraints on rural industrialization is lack of skills, since the complexities of modern farming have made literacy essential. Even programmes to improve crafts have had difficulties, since understanding of improved methods and processes requires some degree of education. Civil work contractors working in rural areas often prefer to bring in semi-skilled workers from urban areas, because rural workers on such projects are unable to understand simple instructions. If enterprises are to organize such training themselves they need subsidies to cover the costs incurred.

Without the appropriation and systematic application of fuller literacy, updated technical skills training and extension resources, small communities have no way to develop their services, attract capital or increase their agro-industries in order to compete in the modern economic world. Yet most villagers in developing nations find their daily existence unrelated to the aim and intent of practical education. Emphasis on the few traditional, low-paying skills of the area tends to undermine willingness to make the sacrifices necessary to learn new and more profitable skills that these communities so desperately need.

Problem Type:
F: Fuzzy exceptional problems
Date of last update
05.06.2000 – 00:00 CEST