Bio-enterprises, endogenous development and well-being
Suneetha M. Subramanian (UNU-IAS), Wim Hiemstra (ETC-COMPAS) and Bas Verschuuren (ETC-COMPAS)
UNU OurWorld 2.0, 9 March 2011

In this article, the authors examine the relationship between biological resources, well-functioning ecosystems and economic development at the community level, presenting examples of how communities take proactive entrepreneurial measures to strengthen or rebuild the links between cultural and biological diversity. Such actions spring from sustainability concerns as well as from a desire to preserve long-standing cultural assets – such as shrines, sacred mountains, etc. – that have long been home for local biological diversity. As one example of such bottom-up development, Kalavathi – a farmer in Karnataka, India – is conserving a popular, traditional rice variety called Rajmudi. The Rajmudi she cultivates is certified organically and is marketed by Sahaja Organics, a sales initiative of Sahaja Samrudha, an organization established by a group of farmers to “exchange ideas, seeds and share knowledge on sustainable agriculture”. Communities engaged in bio-enterprises identify easy access to biological resources, ecosystems and knowledge as important factors in the establishment of an enterprise activity. Most communities further demonstrate a preference for balancing reciprocity relationships with non-monetized economies, where practicable. Customary values, beliefs and norms inform local peoples’ well-being and the process of priority-setting in bio-enterprise development. Read the article … Download policy brief on the issue [pdf] …