One of the interesting cycles organized by the Executive Club is called “Motors of the economy in Paraguay”. It intends to make known in depth those sectors that drive the country’s economic growth.
We have had the opportunity to hear the cases of Agriculture (soybeans and derivatives) and meat, the current stars of the agricultural world and which have had extraordinary development in recent years.
While it is true that by their very nature these sectors are climate-dependent -an uncontrollable variable-it is no less true that the breakthrough has been due to a number of other factors that were handled correctly such as: a strong capital investment and constant re-investment, the incorporation of appropriate technology, animal genetics adapted, biotechnology, public-private partnerships, opening up new markets at the international level and appropriate public policies that do not hinder sector development (such as healthy Macroeconomics), competitive exchange rate).
Finally, These are successful cases in which, at the impulse of the private sector, the country has become competitive in these areas. Future prospects are encouraging, which is very important to sustain this growth in the future, which is absolutely essential if we are to combat poverty through wealth creation.
These sectors carry out their activities mainly in rural areas, where they live with thousands of peasant families who in the vast majority of cases have not been able to escape poverty, although in theory they are dedicated to the same successful areas. In other words, small farming and family farming.
In their case, they do not have enough scale and are generally unorganized to win it. They do not have the technology required to help them increase their productivity. They also do not have access to credit on favourable terms and do not have market information, or even are barely connected to it. In addition, public policies aimed at the sector have had a minimal impact.
This growing contrast is ethically unworthy. But it is also dangerous for the very sustainability of the successful sectors because of the high degree of social conflict involved. That is why we urgently need to develop a new ‘social technology’ that transfers much of the knowledge and know-how from successful sectors to the less developed ones, so that they in turn have access to the benefits of all this growth potential.
The traditional pattern of concern for these disadvantaged populations, based on philanthropy through scattered donations with little impact, does not lead to a fundamental solution to the problem. And it actually perpetuates unfavorable conditions and social discontent. But where do we find the most appropriate “social technology”?
I believe that such state-of-the-art social technology exists, and several civil society organizations have been developing it with encouraging results. The problem usually with these organizations is that they do not have the capacity to scale, since they operate primarily with “pilot schemes”. And that is where an efficient space for collaboration can be found between them and the private sector, because it is precisely the companies that have the capacity to scale certain projects.
We need to aim for strong strategic alliances that will allow the appropriate social technology to scale up to include the least favoured sectors. The opportunities are enormous, and the first step is probably to overcome the traditional mistrust between civil society organizations and business.