© 2002 Friends of Bosnia  

Shaban Rama
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 year’s 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. Shaban’s 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 the house.
“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.




Above: Shaban Rama
Left: Ilir Rama