Dealing with fractured markets


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Successful market intervention to prevent large scale bankruptcy of farming business in Eastern England. Assisted the diversification and development of over 4,500 rural business.

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Dealing with fractured markets

  1. 1. ADER Dr Jamie MacAskill Supporting Rural Entrepreneurs and Agricultural Reform
  2. 2. ADER <ul><li>The ADER (Agricultural Development in the Eastern Region) project is a region - wide agricultural support project started in 2000 </li></ul><ul><li>It is focused on helping farmers to address the economic and environmental pressures they are facing </li></ul>
  3. 3. Drivers <ul><li>Initial research highlighted a stagnating rural economy and a real chance of 8000 farmers going bankrupt </li></ul><ul><li>In 2000 the exchange rate with Euro severely depressed farm gate prices </li></ul><ul><li>CAP reform </li></ul><ul><li>First Rural Development Programme was launched in England </li></ul>
  4. 4. Issues <ul><li>Farm businesses focused on production agriculture dominated by government and CAP policies </li></ul><ul><li>Absence of practical and cost effective support for small or micro businesses made change uncomfortable </li></ul><ul><li>High costs of entry to assistance </li></ul><ul><li>Plethora of business support services tended to confuse, the team stopped counting after 78 in one county and 100 in another </li></ul>
  5. 5. Challenges <ul><li>Need to modernise </li></ul><ul><li>Diversify </li></ul><ul><li>Develop new income sources </li></ul><ul><li>Poor profitability </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of investment capital </li></ul><ul><li>New skills for new businesses </li></ul><ul><li>Existing business support services failed to deliver business training, technical advice and support services in a co-ordinated way </li></ul>
  6. 6. Opportunities <ul><li>Writtle advisers working on the RDA’s Rural White paper </li></ul><ul><li>Policy abyss between Rural White paper proposals and actual support for diversification on the ground </li></ul><ul><li>RDA keen to preserve skills in the rural economy and farm business diversification </li></ul><ul><li>The six land based colleges were ready to co-operate to re-connect with the industry </li></ul>
  7. 7. Solution <ul><li>Coordinate actions between all public sector providers working in agriculture [ core ] </li></ul><ul><li>Change the culture of the support providers to make them more market led [ subtext ] </li></ul><ul><li>Make a real difference to businesses by providing a single route into a mix of training, education and business support enabling rurally based businesses to progress </li></ul>
  8. 8. Strategy <ul><li>Short term to focus on skills development and launch into delivery immediate rather than negotiating the partnerships </li></ul><ul><li>Long term to develop a region wide support service to support the transition in the agricultural economy which was required </li></ul><ul><li>Complement and fill gaps in delivery and join up supply with demand </li></ul>
  9. 9. Consortium <ul><li>4 key partners: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Farming organisations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Agricultural Colleges </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Government agencies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>and FARMERS themselves </li></ul></ul><ul><li>2 original initiatives: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Information Technology (IT) training </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Farm diversification support </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Delivery <ul><li>6 County officers, one in each county based in a college </li></ul><ul><li>A central office facility in Cambridge </li></ul><ul><li>An executive board run by the College’s </li></ul><ul><li>A steering group including all stakeholders including the funding agencies </li></ul>
  11. 11. Programme <ul><li>By 2005 over 4000 farmers have been help ed to: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>assess diversification options; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>develop a business plan and a bid for grant aid </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The support programme is delivered by: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>a series of workshops & seminars; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>visits to diversified farms; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>one to one on farm business support </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Partnership <ul><ul><li>Overcoming complexity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Overcoming rivalry </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Developing trust chains </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sustainable personnel changes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Secured £4.2 million over 5 years </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Extended partnership </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Lessons learnt <ul><li>96% satisfaction </li></ul><ul><li>Farmer engagement </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Used farmers themselves to help </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Used national farmer organisations to help </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Small business people need a package tailored to them </li></ul><ul><li>Spouses important in development process </li></ul><ul><li>Farmer needs change quickly </li></ul><ul><li>Business people dislike traditional teaching locations </li></ul><ul><li>It is possible to knock down silos </li></ul><ul><li>Need champions </li></ul><ul><li>It takes time, there is a time value to spend </li></ul>
  14. 14. Future <ul><li>Further £1.7 million secured to deliver: </li></ul><ul><li>Rural Gateway </li></ul><ul><li>Formal joining of the regional Business Links with ADER to provide a seamless diagnostic, brokerage and delivery partnership to create the Rural Business Development Service </li></ul><ul><li>If a business thinks its rural then it can benefit from the service, no longer just about agricultural reform </li></ul><ul><li>Further improvements in access to provision </li></ul>
  15. 15. Thank you <ul><li>Dr Jamie MacAskill </li></ul>