Rural potential in La Noguera
By Gemma Cortada
This week on our visit to the climbing equipment shop in Priorat Pep, the shop owner told us that he had had a similar climbing equipment company in Montserrat (El Bruc). The company was dedicated to the sale of mountain equipment and the repair of climbing shoes. The company was quite successful with a gross annual income of € 150,000 in the shoe repair section where the commercial margin was very high. The company also has other business lines such as the sale of mountain equipment and a coffee bar on site which is leased by another person. But Pep had to close the shop in Montserrat because it was not viable, despite having many more potential customers. The location of the two shops was close to a mountain for climbing and the mountain near the Montserrat store has more visits of people and climbers. So having a lot of people is not a guarantee of success.
Returning on Sunday to La Noguera, my rural area, led me to reflect on the importance of identifying the opportunities for rural diversification that may not be available in urban areas.
In La Noguera there are several companies that have had problems finding opportunities and I will present three examples:
1- In the Zona del Montsec, where rainfall was very low, people had a very negative picture of the future and they went to the city. Since there are no people, there are no lights, and because there is no rain, there are no clouds. So… it is possible to see the stars very clearly and this area has one of the best views of the night sky in the world. Tourists come to see the sky.
2- In the village Cabanabona of 80 inhabitants all the sons and daughters took care of their parents, and they were able to invent orthopedic products to improve well-being and optimize the time of the carer and the patient. This became a successful business.
3- A young farmer began raising rabbits but at the age of six months all the rabbits died. In response he created a business for caring for and feeding pets.
These are three examples from my region. Imagine the opportunities that hide in all the rural areas taken together!