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Rural communities in Bosnia and Herzegovina take command of development path

Rich in karst fields and scenic views, rural life in Canton 10 of Bosnia and Herzegovina has its opportunities and challenges. Although the canton’s geography does not allow for intensive farming, it provides a good basis for livestock production and rural tourism. Its rural communities are well-positioned to shape their own development possibilities.

Today, at a workshop culminating a two-and-a-half-year project in the area, a new strategy for agriculture and rural development in Canton 10 for 2019–2025 was presented, along with a feasibility study on the development of sustainable rural tourism.

Both were developed as part of the rural community development project, with financial support from the Government of Hungary, technical expertise from FAO, and the involvement of local stakeholders, farmers, veterinarians and municipality representatives.

The local rural developments plans for the city of Livno and the municipality of Bosansko Grahovo also include recommendations on natural resources management, agriculture and rural tourism. The uniqueness of the intervention in the area lies in the strong emphasis on a participatory approach. Local and cantonal farmers, officials, decision makers and others were involved in the process through workshops, trainings and consultations to ensure that the development plans and strategy were fully tailored to their needs and circumstances.

“Implementing this type of local community development project, by its nature, requires attention and flexibility, as we had to revise the initial plan in some cases to adjust it to the reality,” said Katalin Ludvig, FAO rural development expert. “Although we didn’t consider animal health an issue at the start, after learning about the presence of bluetongue disease during the consultations, we incorporated special trainings and awareness-raising materials on the disease, and we’ve received positive feedback.”

“It is crucial to prepare the plans and strategies through a participatory and inclusive planning process to ensure local consensus and ownership of the outcome of the process,” Ludvig added.

Attention also was paid to gender aspects throughout the project. For example, special training for female small-scale cheese producers was organized on cheese quality standards and good hygiene practices in artisanal cheese production.

Items supporting rural development – including agricultural machinery, construction materials and recreational tools – were distributed to local institutions in Livno and Bosansko Grahovo as part of the project, including kindergartens, elementary schools, secondary vocational schools, pre-school education and observation institutions.

The project is part of FAO’s overarching priority to empower small-scale family farmers in Europe and Central Asia.

21 May 2019, Livno, Bosnia and Herzegovina

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