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Transforming Lives

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Partnering with Officials in Kosovo’s Disputed North on  Priority Community Needs

For the mayors who were elected to represent Kosovo’s four northern Serb-majority municipalities for the first time in the newly independent country’s history, their most important task upon taking office in early 2014 was to instill confidence in their constituency. They needed to show the citizens of their communities that they not only understood their needs, but that they would follow through on campaign promises to meet them.

The AgriCard – developed with assistance from USAID – reached 1,000 agribusiness users in its first five months.

Access to finance is a constant challenge for Kosovo’s small farming businesses, with profits from a low sales year often drying up before they can be put to use in growing the following year’s bumper crop. To address this, USAID recently partnered with TEB Bank to unveil the Agricard—a credit card specifically designed to increase cash flow for farmers before the spring growing season.

USAID worked with local government officials and the community to bring a water system to villages that never thought the day

Aug. 2014—The villages tucked into the hills outside the town of Malishevë/o in central Kosovo are like many in the landlocked country—difficult to access by road—but many who live there prefer the quiet agrarian life to the faster pace of the country’s bigger cities.

Residents of Staro Gracko/Grackë e Vjetër gather around their newly-renovated Community Center.

For the people of Kosovo, family is the foundation of a vibrant culture that values bringing people together regularly to celebrate the big events, like holidays and weddings, as well as the commonplace, like traditional family lunch on a Sunday afternoon. In many of the country’s remote villages, community is a vital extension of the family unit—with families regularly working together in farm cooperatives and town councils.

Kosovo growers sell their hand-picked asparagus under the brand name Viridis. It’s Latin for fresh, young and green.

June 2014—A new opportunity for Kosovo’s farmers has sent up its first tender green shoots, only to see them quickly harvested, cooled, packaged and sold to an enthusiastic public.

Kosovo produced its first asparagus crop in 2014, marking the culmination of a three-year effort by USAID to introduce cultivation of the spring delicacy.

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Last updated: September 22, 2014

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