Portuguese municipalities revitalize local job market and develop new business ideas
See how the rural areas of Portugal cope with shrinking populations and economic growth
- December 12, 2019 09:30
Portugal is one of the countries in the EU which can be characterized by slow economic development after the financial crisis of 2008 and a higher percentage of rural population compared to other EU Member States. Most of the rural areas in the EU and especially the ones in the Southern parts of the continent become increasingly deserted and economic activity slows.
Rural Areas Lead the Way
One typical example is Manteigas, a small settlement in the midst of the Portuguese mountains. It is a typical story because, like many others, the economic decline caused factories to close. The consequences are decline in population, closing of schools, shops, etc.
What can be seen in Portugal, however, is a very interesting tendency. A lot of Portuguese investors have started working towards reviving the rural areas. A family from Lisbon, for example, has decided to invest in a factory in Manteigas and revive the manufacturing of clothes there. Today, Burel Mountain Originals employs more than 60 people and is a supplier to shops in Lisbon and Porto.
Another excellent example is Pepe Aromas, a family business. The company is located in Alentejo and has taken advantage of EU funding under European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development to grow Opuntia ficus-indica, organically farmed prickly pears from which organic foodstuffs are made. The company contributes to the development of the rural area, creates new jobs (one or two new job positions will be available in 2020). It also preserves the nature in the area and has renovated an old building to use as the company`s offices.
Alto Minho brings local stakeholders to solve common challenges
And one more example. In the mountainous area of Alto Minho, a technical assistance project is underway for the last 2 years. It is funded under the same programme that benefits Pepe Aromas. It is called Acontece in Loco and aims to help the local community to revitalize the area by bringing the local stakeholders together to find solutions to the area problems. The expected results are to find and take advantage of local private investors as well as European funds to revive the economy, the agricultural sector as well as the tourist industry. The last can be done through the preservation of the beautiful nature and cultural sites.
There are a lot of other excellent examples that can serve as an inspiration and show how the rural interior of a country can develop and thrive. Because cities are not the only chance to create something that will serve future generations and will give jobs to the unemployed. In this respect Portugal sets an example for others to follow.
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