The co-operative “LAG” in Tomislavgrad is full of young people, listens to Leon Kutlesa, who explains the principles of beekeeping. Kutleaa is one of the founders of this cooperative, which in 2015 gathered war veterans of this region with the aim of their inclusion, gathering and training on beekeeping. From year to year the cooperative is expanding and through the recently launched practice for the students of the Secondary Vocational School Tomislavgrad became an example of working with youth in the local community.
“Together, through a cooperative, you can do a lot, and alone not that much. It took us some time to prepare the right recipe for the ‘bee feed’, and this year we made it right. Now we are doing the job, we plan to go to 500 hives, we use new technologies such as ‘SMS scales’, through which we monitor the pest of grazing and thus cover a wider space. The next challenge was to start involving new generations in this process, giving them the a chance and feeling that they can do something with my own hands,” Kutlesa shares.
Students come to practice in two shifts, they learn and work directly on making ‘bee feed’. Children from the surrounding villages were brought a school bus, and in the evening Leon and members of the cooperative transport students back home in their own cars.
“Parents are happy, the students are happy, they have come to practice – they learn something, how to feed bee colonies and generally about beekeeping, got their tasks and responsibilities, and finally earn their money. Some of us from the cooperative are always present, we take care, we show them a recipe. They told me that in some other practices they always feel that they are only seen as a problem and bother workers, and here they feel they contribute. That’s exactly what they need”. adds Kutlesa.
In cooperation with USAID/Sweden FARMA II, “LAG” recently acquired a mixer for “bee feed” making, and the implementation of platforms with trailers is being prepared which will facilitate the mobility of hives. They also started training for beekeepers, and soon they are expected to purchase additional equipment.
“This cooperation with FARMA II Project has helped us modernize local beekeeping, we have achieved excellent cooperation with the employees working on this project. Somehow I think it’s important to know what you expect from the project. Sometimes people are searching for resources, but they do not have a wider picture of what they really want. Look at these kids, this is a positive story for the city, it’s a pleasure to be a part of a ‘good story’ that sends out a message from Tomislavgrad: our children are worthy of effort and that we are ready to do the best for them and for community, “Leon tells us.
With the end of the school year, the activity of practical courses in the cooperative “LAG” Tomislavgrad enters its final phase, and some of the pupils will use the acquired knowledge in households. For Leonu Kutleša and other members of the cooperative their smile is a enough for keep working and trying to reach out to new generations.