Market days in Rudo have once again become a part of the daily life of citizens of this municipality after the renovation of the city market. For the first time, small producers have been provided with conditions for proper storage and preservation of agricultural, dairy, and meat products, guaranteeing customers safe and quality products.

For years, every Thursday has been considered a traditional market day in the Municipality of Rudo in the far east of Bosnia and Herzegovina. On this day, hundreds of citizens of Rudo, both from urban and remote areas, visit the city market to purchase fresh local products. Many have tailored their daily routines around this day, neglecting all other obligations on Thursdays.

Unfortunately, the long-standing tradition was interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic when the market in Rudo was temporarily closed due to difficult working conditions. Small producers were giving up on the production and sale of their products, which greatly impacted the economy of this local community.

Gordana Stančić, a citizen of Rudo whose dairy products have been available at market stalls for years, recalls that it was not easy to recover after the suspension of work. Fortunately, vendors were given a new opportunity to improve their work through the participation of the Municipality of Rudo in the project “EU Support to Agriculture and Rural Development in Bosnia and Herzegovina” (EU4AGRI).

“Today we work in much better conditions, which has greatly facilitated our work for all of us,” says Stančić.

Under the EU4AGRI project, the European Union has allocated over 51,000 KM for the renovation of the market in Rudo, with a total investment value of over 68,000 KM, managed by the Municipal Utility Company “Usluga” a.d. Rudo. Both the outdoor and indoor areas of the market have been equipped, and the existing wet areas have been repaired. This renovation has improved the conditions for the sale of domestic agricultural products, with a special section dedicated to the sale of dairy and meat products, equipped with refrigeration units and containers for better product preservation.

“I believe that the new conditions will significantly contribute to the return of local producers and their goods to the market. Rudo is a small and highly underdeveloped community, which is why every project of this kind contributes to improving services for our citizens,” said Jelena Kuzmanović, a specialist in development management, development programs, and projects in the Municipality of Rudo.

By participating in the EU4AGRI project, the city market in Rudo has provided for the first time a closed space for the sale of animal-origin foods, which is extremely important for the residents of this municipality who faced the closure of the butcher’s shop at the beginning of 2024. Fortunately, meat and meat products are now available at the market.

Traders are particularly pleased with the acquisition of mobile collapsible stands that include a storage area for products. A total of 18 wooden stands, three refrigerated showcases, three glass containers, and three tables for storing milk, dairy, and meat products have been procured.

“We are not getting wet, we are not exposed to wind, which is most important. It is much easier to work in such conditions. We hope that more customers will return to the market and that this renovation will be a motivation for both production and purchase,” emphasized trader Gordana Stančić.

The Municipality of Rudo adds that the renovation of the market will significantly contribute to maintaining the continuity of holding fairs in Rudo.

“For eight years now, the Municipality of Rudo has been organizing a fair of local products with a regional character, where exhibitors from the region and beyond participate. Thanks to the project, we have secured mobile stands that we already used at last year’s fair, and we plan to do the same this year,” said Kuzmanović.

In addition to the market renovation under the EU4AGRI project financed by the European Union, users of the market engaged in the sale of milk, dairy products, and meat products were also provided with training, where they had the opportunity to improve their knowledge of ensuring sanitary conditions of products and COVID-19 protocols. For this purpose, ten enamel cans of 20 liters were distributed to milk producers.

EU4AGRI is a four-year (2020-2024) European Union project worth EUR 20 million aimed at modernizing the agricultural and food sector in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The project is implemented and co-funded jointly by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Czech Development Agency (CzDA).