PUBLIC LIBRARIES SUPPORTING FARMERS
Librarians train farmers to use the internet in Bagrdan village library.
Librarians train farmers to use the internet in Bagrdan village library.

Public Library ‘Radislav NikCeviC’ in serbia helps farmers increase their incomes

Investment in rural areas of Serbia declined in the 1990s as a result of conflict, followed by economic recession. Village libraries could not afford new books, and many closed down and fell into disrepair. Without access to information, farmers’ struggled to improve their farming methods and rural areas stagnated.

Jagodina is the administrative capital of Pomoravlje District in Central Serbia. Based in Jagodina, Public Library ‘Radislav Nikčević’ supervises 16 rural libraries in the district. The question librarians asked themselves was: how can we revitalize our rural libraries and serve farmers? The answer led to the creation of the Agrolib-Ja service.

Dejan’s story

Dejan Stanković is a dairy farmer who works with sheep and cattle. 

“The AgroLib-Ja team showed me how to make a profile on the AgroLib market, and I have now come across a lot of agricultural forums. I also found new customers. I think that the internet is a good way of associating farmers and a good way of exchanging experiences,” he said.

One customer was especially happy: “In my family there are some of us who suffer from high blood pressure and we have a diabetic. I found this website AgroLib, and I was thrilled that such a site existed. Then I found out that there is a cheese made in a traditional way – dietary cheese. I was delighted. I called Mr Dejan, we talked about it and since then I have been buying this cheese constantly. The cheese is really good. It is their family tradition and they have been making it for a long time,” she said.

Zoran’s story

The AgroLib-Ja team invited Dejan StankovićMr Zoran Milošević, an agricultural engineer who farms quinces to advertise on the online market. Almost immediately, Mr Milošević sold 1,500 kg of quinces.

“I really didn’t expect anything in the beginning.  On the very first day I opened a profile on the AgroLib market I got a call from a producer from Trnava village near Kragujevac. I got important contacts, and I think I will easily be able to sell the entire amount next season,” he said.

It is of vital importance that in each community there is a place where people gather, exchange information and learn. Such centres should be libraries.

- Bojana Dimitrijevic, a deputy of the Jagodina Town Assembly.

FACTS

1

70% of farmers who used the library in 2012 said the AgroLib-Ja service helped increase their yields

 
2

The AgroLib-Ja service has sparked new interest in village libraries as support centres for farmers.