(…) when Miguel returned from the States and declared he was going to grow oranges they asked him what he had been smoking in America. But Miguel had figured out that unlike the volatile weather in the orange-growing regions of Mexico, the climate in Puebla was relatively mild year-round. Even if he started out with a small yield (and low economies of scale), he would still be able to make a profit selling at market prices because he wouldn´t have to invest in all of the protective equipment that other orange growers use to shield their harvests from intense heat, storms and the like. So he recruited several other farmers who were sick of being taken advantage of by middlemen in the corn and bean industries and started an orange-growing cooperative. Today it is a thriving business and the sight of thousands of orange trees bursting out of the ground, slowly beating back the millions of acres of corn and bean fields is truly something to behold.
It is our hope that this project will yield results that will help the government to remove obstacles for and provide support to small businessmen and women in Mexico, but we must accept as fact that policymakers will never be able to bottle up and replicate the ingenuity of true entrepreneurs. Plus, even if they could pull off that trick, they would first have to find these guys.
Doug Randall, from the research institute Innovations for Poverty Action, writes in Latinoamérica…Puede.