Agriculture provides for a significant share of economic activity
in Kosovo. Grains and other industrial crops, winter wheat, spring
barley, animal feed, sunflowers, sugar beets, vegetables, fruit,
and livestock provide half of most rural families incomes.
Many farmers lost their animals, farm buildings, and
agricultural machinery during the war. Now, landmines limit access
to farmlands and pastures.
But due to the will and resourcefulness of Kosovo
farmers, in July 2000, the wheat production was more than double
of last years crop.
Shaban Rama, 75, a former carpenter, was harvesting
his hay with his grandson, Ilir, on a hot July afternoon in Gerdoc,
outside of Pristina. Shabans grandfather lived in Serbia in
1880 then they came to Kosovo. The family had been expelled three
times. Shaban stayed in Kosovo throughout the recent war. The Serbs
had a military airport nearby and he lost some corn and machinery
but the Serbs did not burn his house. His son was beaten several
times and harassed by Serb police who came looking for guns. He
told them he had none but they took him out and kept his son in
I am satisfied now, I am free
I have been born for a
second time, he told us. Shaban owns six hectares and lives
with 30 family members in the farmhouse.
During World War II, he was a soldier for the Germans
on the nearby border protecting Kosovo from Serbs. He said that
he was told that Serbs would eat bodies of children.
We have to live all together. If we are not together, we cannot
succeed. We have to choose the right person to head the country.
Ilir attends secondary school in Pristina, but wants
to learn how to be a waiter like his father. Until then, he is content
playing soccer and driving the tractor with his grandfather.