A Mission for the Rescue of the Villages
Rural development and rural entrepreneurship are a new development philosophy of agribusiness in the European Union. It is a new concept of socio – economic development both in theory and practice of the developed countries. Unfortunately, Serbia has not had a solid and long-term policy of rural development and of entrepreneurship until now, but a long-term strategy of rural development is being created. Its integral part will be the rural entrepreneurship as a modern system of doing business and sustainable development, and a model of multifunctional agriculture. Therefore, it is a model of doing business relating to agriculture and everything else in relation to the agriculture. Multifunctionality is a key word of a new agricultural and rural policy in Serbia. The rural areas in Serbia make up the third fourth of its territory in which a half of Serbian population lives. Taking into account this fact, there is a potential for the development of agricultural entrepreneurship. Serbia has over a half million of unemployed people, whereas out of ten workers who lost their job, more than a half of them could find a job in rural areas. However, return to rural areas does not mean turning an employee into a farmer and his returning to a plough, hoe and tractor, but getting employed in various fields of agriculture – forestry, water management, service sectors, craftsmanship, handicraft business, infrastructure and small and middle-size plants. The EU experiences show that a thought-out and financially supported policy of rural development leads to a successful rural economy with possibilities for employment. Return to a village will make it survive, because out of 4,709 villages in Serbia, some 1,200 are on the way to die out! In addition, it is followed by the reaffirmation of old craftsmanship activities and traditional local products, an increasing demand for rural tourism and the interest in a local culture and tradition. It establishes a connection between a traditional and modern. As in the developing countries, in Serbia the concept of rural is very often identified with poverty. Unfortunately, the development of entrepreneurship in general and agricultural entrepreneurship are not sufficiently supported in Serbia, due to which its rural areas increasingly ‘suffer’ from deagrarianization, senility and extinction of villages. It could be proved by the fact that the total of 1.034 villages have less than 100 inhabitants. A ray of hope for the survival of the villages can be seen in the ‘500 Cooperatives in 500 Villages’ campaign. This campaign involves the creation of cooperatives in each village, and from the beginning in 2017. the campaign has returned the spirit of cooperatives in Serbia. It was founded 650 new cooperatives. Some 1.7 billion dinars were invested and 153 cooperatives, i.e. 6,120 families in undeveloped parts of Serbia, received assistance. Thus, the survival of the village can only be seen through the association and development of the cooperative.