How to overcome challenges in a solid and discrete way
All over the world, societies are facing tough challenges. Portugal is not an exception, says professor Ricardo Ferreira Reis, Associate Dean for International Affairs and the Director of Center of Applied Studies at Católica Lisbon Business & Economics.
In an article published on Jornal de Negócios, he mentions climate change, the clash of the cultures, demographic changes, technological revolutions and gender equality as the major issues.
How governments, companies and people are prepared to face all these challenges is the million-dollar question. To have a proper answer, professor Ricardo Ferreira Reis says that the internal situation of each country plays an important role.
“To achieve success, we need to be prepared to face, resist and overcame these challenges”.
In Portugal, the recent economic and financial crisis should be seen as a lesson. “If there is something that we have learnt in recent years was that we were not prepared”.
However, the country has shown some positive signs, such as the “extraordinary expansion” of national exports and the “surprising” external balance. Professor Ricardo Ferreira Reis also names “two fantastic examples of resilience, innovation, strategic vision and authentic revolution” in the agriculture sector.
“The Portuguese wine industry had everything to be crushed by colossal challenges in the last decades. National challenges: land abandonment and ageing of the rural population, the image of the sector, lack of national and EU support policies. International challenges: competition from traditional producers and New World, technological modernization, adaptation to new wine culture and sustainability. Called to react and resist, the industry response was admirable, taking advantage of all the available resources, such as the national and EU support policies (they exist), the technological revolution, a new image and a reconfiguration of business, all based on sustainability. Today, the wine industry meets the environmental, social and financial sustainability standards that have become the basis of our competitiveness in the sector”, he shares in the article.
The other example is horticulture, particularly the production of small fruits. “Raspberries is the most exported fruit, having already surpassed pears. Growing raspberries so intensively required a combination of challenges that we were able to transform into opportunities. First, the mild climate in Portugal – in the rest of the world is changing. Then, the proximity of major European markets, followed by the influx of workforce from other countries (Eastern Europe or Asia). Finally, there are good irrigation infrastructures, especially in the Southwest Alentejo region. The biggest US investment in Portugal right now is in this sector because the Americans have found a combination of natural and social conditions that allow them to overcome challenges”.
We can’t let guard down. However, there is a certainty that Portugal can overcome the tough challenges with “strength and inventiveness”, he concludes.