Not a Single Minor lives in 804 Places of Bosnia and Herzegovina!

Milos Popovic, a researcher at the Institute for Security and Global Affairs (ISGA) at the University of Leiden, who has been publishing interesting maps on social networks Twitter and Facebook for years, which are related not only to our region, but to Europe and the world as well, has now mapped places in BiH where minors, young people under 17, no longer live.

The map shows a devastating figure – as many as 8% of all cadastral settlements do not have a single minor. There are 804 places that are part of over 90 municipalities or cities in BiH, and according to the data that BUKA received from Popovic, the worst situation is in the municipality of Visegrad, where as many as 62 places do not have a single minor, followed by Trebinje (53), Rogatica (41), Gorazde (38), Konjic (35), Rudo (33), Sokolac (32), Foca (31)…, Buka writes.

The fact that the villages are disappearing was also confirmed by the data from the 2013 population census, according to which less than ten inhabitants live in 1.486 villages in BiH!

Various factors can be ”blamed” for this situation. There is, of course, war, then rural-urban migration, and in the last few years a real exodus of the able-bodied population from the villages to the EU countries. Why? Most of them will tell you that it simply did not pay off to work in the village – there is no agrarian strategy or incentive policy, or premiums, so small farms are not able to compete and make a profit. They will also tell you that the villages have been neglected, that it has not been invested in them for a long time, and they are often without electricity and proper road communication with other places, while in winter, when the snow falls, many of them are cut off from the rest of the world.

Those who somehow overcame these problems or ignored them and hoped for a better future, have now reached a hopeless situation, and they no longer have anyone to sell their products to.

Vladimir Usorac, the president of the Association of Agricultural Producers – Dairies of RS, says that the situation in the villages is best illustrated by the data that the dairy sector in RS in 1996 had 17.696 dairy producers, and today it only has 4.300.

The main reason for that, as he says, is the wrong policy: “We have no Strategy, no incentives, no protected domestic production, no access to European funds, no agricultural loans or agricultural bank, no list of farms, no list of livestock, machinery, so who would want to stay in the countryside and engage in agriculture in such situation. It is about time to start investing in villages and agriculture, because without villages there will be no cities.”

It has also been talked with Mirhunisa Zukic, the president of the Union for Sustainable Return, about the places that are literally disappearing, and strategies that are not adopted by the competent authorities.

According to her, the situation is most alarming in Posavina, in the villages but also in the cities – Derventa, Bosanski Brod, Modrica, Orasje, Odzak. In one village in Modrica, as she says, she felt very sad because every other house was locked. Herzegovina is also being emptied, people are leaving, selling their property. The same situation is near Travnik, Zenica, and in eastern Bosnia.

Unfortunately, as she says, their appeals and initiatives towards government institutions to develop a strategy to stop the departure of citizens from these areas have never been met with understanding and reaction.

“People tell us that they are tired of all these promises, injustice and corruption. They are tired of the fact that they have to search for job for years, or even if they have one, they cannot afford even the basic things from their salary. People who are still here, or who are planning to go, only need that this government decides to do something, and to offer them something that would keep them here. What the people are asking for is to give them a chance. And that can be provided through the normalization of standard of living, allowing people to live from their work, by changing the overall climate and environment in BiH “, Mirhunisa points out.

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