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Support systems for new activities in rural areas

Part 1 - The support system
Four common pitfalls

How to use this guide & Table of Contents


The lack of economic realism and continuity
of the system, the attempt to "follow fashion"
and the competition between support
structures are all pitfalls to be avoided if
the creation of new activities is to be
effectively supported.


1) The Lemmings Syndrome

Under this scenario, LEADER groups and other agencies put all their energy into the services which they know best. They rapidly achieve certain results, especially in terms of information and animation, training and the mobilisation of financial resources, etc., even if it means not taking into account the commercial prospects of the activities they create. Unless market and other needs have been foreseen and covered, local people may be led up the cliff and left to fall off it.


2) Lack of continuity

This is a less serious, but no less deadly, version of the first pitfall: LEADER and other public or private agencies manage to cover most of the needs of project promoters but there are a series of gaps or discontinuities into which the projects constantly fall. In some cases this may mean a lack of technical expertise; in others, the need for training for project promoters being underestimated, etc.


3) Following the fashion

Another problem which often threatens LAGs is that a new service like financial assistance or the joint marketing of local products is taken on simply because it is fashionable and, therefore, fundable. However, in many cases the service has little real impact on development because needs which are sometimes simple, more immediate and more relevant have not been taken into account beforehand (e.g. needs in terms of training, improvement in production quality, etc.).


4) Institutional competition

Unfortunately this is a fairly common and extremely wasteful scenario. Instead of coming to an agreement about a clear division of labour, public and private agencies basically compete with an almost identical range of services for the best projects, even if it means bewildering the promoters. Having "won" a project there may or may not be a clear support strategy for the rest of the life cycle.

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