Raspberries and Jobs: a Perfect Combination?Feb 18, 2016
During an unusually warm and sunny February day, Ariana and Muhamed Duka, raspberry producers from Firajë/Firaja village in Shtërpcë/ Štrpce municipality share insights about growing red gold with a group of curious visitors.
In addition, they warmheartedly offer the fruits of their labour. Literally. Drinking a mouthwatering raspberry juice typical for the area, Mr. Martin Ledolter, the Managing Director of the Austrian Development Agency, along with representatives of UNDP and ADA, appreciate the extended Duka family raspberry farm.
After many unsuccessful attempts to find a job, the Dukas are now self-employed farmers producing 7000 kg raspberries a year and employing 5 seasonal workers from the community during the harvest season. Their farm is now expanded and upgraded through new tools and equipment provided by the Integrated Territorial Development (InTerDev) project.
“For years, my wife and I tried to find some jobs, anything that can provide stability for us and our family. I even tried to work as a taxi driver but my investments and expenses were always bigger than income. One day, I decided to start with raspberry production, and now, five years later, l have a safe income and, in addition to the job for my wife and me, I also provide seasonal jobs for my neighbors”, concludes Mr. Duka.
Couple of kilometers east, Ilmi Bajrami, a cow breeder and milk producer from Brod, explains in fluent German to Mr. Ledolter his current activities, as well as the future plans he has for expanding his business.
Having been awarded a grant to advance his rural enterprise from the Local Development Fund under the InTerDev project, Mr. Bajrami now has a modern barn in which he plays music for more than 12 cows that generate sustainable income for his family.
“For a period of 11 years, I lived and worked in Germany and Norway where I was looking for an opportunity to settle down. After unfortunately losing my job, I returned to Kosovo, and, for more than 4 years, I was unemployed. With the support I received from the project, doors of my future opened up. Now I am self-employed and stability is back in my family”, Mr. Bajrami adds.
The Dukas and the Bajramis are among more than 240 farming families that upgraded their farms and rural micro-enterprises through the Local Development Fund and Territorial Employment Pacts that are part of the InTerDev, a local rural development intervention implemented by UNDP jointly with the Municipalities of Dragash/š and Shtërpcë/Štrpce, and financed by the Austrian Development Cooperation.
From the start of the project in early 2014, over 500 people now have a job and better income in Dragash/š and Shtërpcë/Štrpce, the municipal leadership is now more empowered in planning and service delivery, understanding the importance of inclusive and participatory approaches, and the municipalities are strengthening their cooperation in economic and rural development, sharing experience and expertise in their niche activities.