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Globally, more than 66% of the world’s population is predicted to be urban by 2050. A serious implication of expanding urbanization will be a decline in the rural population. To ensure the sustainability of food production, rural communities, and natural resources, there is a need to slow the outmigration of rural populations by accelerating rural development.
The APO in partnership with the Ministry of Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations, and the National Training & Productivity Centre (NTPC) of Fiji National University organized a training course on Rural Entrepreneurship Development in Nadi, 2–6 March. Twenty-four participants from 13 countries, five local observers, and four resource persons from Fiji, India, Pakistan, and the USA attended.
Minister for Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations Jioji Konusi Konrote, who was the chief guest at the opening ceremony, stated in his inaugural address, “The trend today is that rural development is intricately linked with entrepreneurship development to promote employment and create jobs. One of the key deliverables’ of my own ministry is employment and job creation, and I am convinced entrepreneurship is a strategic development intervention that has the potential to accelerate the rural development process. Rural entrepreneurship is vital for the generation of employment in the rural areas and for promoting incomes and earnings of people.”
In his video-linked welcome remarks, APO Secretary-General Mari Amano said, “To make entrepreneurship a driving force of rural development and enterprises, an enabling environment, including policies for promoting it, is needed. Intensive promotion of entrepreneurship through training and business development interventions is also essential. In most developing countries in the Asia-Pacific, however, there are no comprehensive programs catering to such needs, and institutions meant to serve this sector require more trained experts.”
The training program consisted of lectures, case studies of successful rural entrepreneurs, sharing of country experiences, group exercises, and a visit to the farm and nursery of the Pacific Harvest Company Limited. The participants drafted a set of the recommendations for promoting rural entrepreneurship in developing APO member countries and elsewhere.
The course was concluded successfully. The experts from the USA and Pakistan were impressed by the level of the fellow experts and participants. Director and Executive Director Steven Chiang of the Agribusiness Incubator Program and GoFarm Hawaii of the University of Hawaii stated, “I was impressed by the ideas and relevant experiences of the other resource persons, and was glad to discover that we were of the same mind on rural entrepreneurial development. I think this really made for a cohesive, persuasive training course.” Chairman Syed Saquib Mohyuddin of the Pakistan Enterprise Development Facility felt that, “It was heartening to interact with such enlightened group of participants, enriched with requisite information, and motivated to expand their learning horizon.”
Click here for:
Inaugural address by HE Jioji Konusi Konrote, Minister for Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations
Rural Entrepreneurship Development: findings and recommendations
Photos courtesy of NTPC.