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APO pushes for community-driven rural innovation and development

8 Nov 2018

The workshop on Rural Community Development Models focused on steps to boost rural economies using local resources to drive innovation and entrepreneurship.

As part of its commitment to developing more productive rural economies for holistic socioeconomic growth in its member countries, the Asian Productivity Organization (APO) along with Indonesia’s Directorate of Productivity Development and Foreign Cooperation Division, Public Relation and Cooperation Bureau, Secretariat General of the Ministry of Village, Development of Disadvantaged Region, and Transmigration (MVDDRT), Republic of Indonesia, organized a five-day workshop on Innovative Rural Community Development Models in Yogyakarta, 22–26 October 2018.

The workshop examined the latest trends in rural community development (RCD) and elements of community development utilizing local resources, while exploring innovative ideas that could help boost rural economies. It was attended by 22 participants from 13 countries, including senior government officials, community leaders, professionals, and academics promoting rural projects.

More than 75% of the developing world’s poor live in rural areas, and hence many countries have launched national RCD initiatives to boost their economies, which is critical for overall national productivity growth. One of the drivers of successful RCD is recent technological advances that have reshaped the landscape of knowledge and methodologies to increase productivity.

Advanced economies are using digital technologies to migrate from conventional farming using manual labor and manned agricultural machinery to precision farming. Farm machinery is increasingly being equipped with sensors connected to the soil and satellite databases to receive and transmit precise information on the amounts of inputs needed to maximize per-hectare agricultural yields.

Innovative community models incorporating residents’ ideas and participation are also being introduced for accelerating rural development through optimizing the use of local resources. Methodologies like the “living lab” model help to increase villagers’ contributions to creating innovations and making community decisions. Such initiatives lead to more open, demand-driven, user-centric systems to improve sustainable productivity in rural areas.

During the workshop, the participants deliberated on the impact of the fast-changing global environment on RCD and steps to promote inclusiveness in communities for establishing sustainable rural development models. They also visited an Indonesian village-owned enterprise, BUM Desa in Ponggok, Klaten, to review new RCD models, including best practices for establishing innovative community-driven development systems and to assess the possibility of replicating them in other APO member countries.

The workshop was conducted by APO resource persons from Japan, the Republic of Korea, and New Zealand: Kyoto University Prof. Emeritus and Yanmar Agribusiness Co., Ltd. Corporate Executive Adviser Dr. Mikio Umeda; Korea Institute for Rural Development President Dr. Chung Ki-Whan; and Lincoln University Faculty of Agribusiness and Commerce Dean Prof. Hugh Bigsby.

Photo: Directorate General of Training and Productivity Development, Indonesia’s Ministry of Manpower

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