Izgubljeni u tranziciji
Can Jezero Be Turned Into Switzerland?
Jezero County, with a little over 1100 residents, is one of the so-called “dwarf counties”, which before the signing of the Dayton Agreement in BH didn’t exist as administrative units.
Like other local communities in BH, Jezero must deal with the lack of human and other resources and capacities. Nevertheless, the energy needed to turn this local community into a successful and developed one is not lacking for Mayor Snežana Ružičić, one of the six women who managed to climb to the position of a mayor during local elections in 2016.
She emphasizes that she is satisfied with current results, given that she was faced with a catastrophic financial situation at the beginning of her tenure. Regardless of all the difficulties, Jezero has its potentials – mainly tourism, which she emphasized during our interview. Ms. Ružičić lists the location of Jezero County at the crossroads between Šipovo, Mrkonjić Grad and Jajce, at the very confluence of the beautiful river Pliva into Plivsko Lake as one of the advantages which should be used properly. Clear air, rafting, alpinism, paragliding, hunting and fishing, along with a great gastronomical offer combined with village and creative tourism can surely, with a systematical, planned, and long-lasting approach turn Jezero County into a true touristic heaven on earth.
“Our plans are also directed towards developing agrarian tourism, producing organic food, launching of a long-lasting project of buying deserted farmsteads and giving them to young married couples, training tour guides, opening tourist information offices, connecting them to the regional touristic package, increasing the private village accommodation capacities, construction of bungalows and touristic complexes on Đol Lake, possible launching of a spa center for dermal conditions on Đol Lake, enriching the restaurant offer, and developing hunting tourism”, she emphasized.
According to the data we received from county administration, there are 215 employed citizens here at the moment, while the number of unemployed citizens of working age is 411. There are currently four active private enterprises, and a total of 15 entrepreneurs operating in Jezero.
One of them is Radenko Grozdić, the owner of the company “Gro Line” which employs 15 people and which has been registered in Jezero since 2015. “We deal with finalized products, i.e. room doors”, says Grozdić, emphasizing that everything produced by “Gro Line” is “exported into Croatia, that is, EU”.
Residents of Jezero do what they can in the never-ending era of transition, instead of waiting for systematic retraining – this is proven by the example of Rajko Malinović, a former forester, present-time wood-cutter. “I’ve been working with wood ever since I was very young. I didn’t study to do this, I taught myself, and there is nothing I can’t make out of wood. I mostly make wooden parts of scythes, because that is currently somewhat in demand”, says Malinović, showing thus that our people are capable of adapting and creating new values in these difficult, one could say unfair, social and economic conditions.
Thirty young folklore dancers from the Cultural and Artistic Association Pliva see their future exactly here in Jezero, and they are working hard to promote their county with the audience, but also with foreign investors. “By representing our association, we want to make a name for Jezero County among the public and foreign investors. Traveling with our folklore group, we are not only spreading the tradition and Serbian customs, but we also represent our county in the most beautiful light” says the activist Vesna Kačar, emphasizing that the support of the county itself is regular.
(Cultural and Artistic Association Pliva)
In Bosnia and Herzegovina, as we have seen countless times, everything is possible, and a local community such as Jezero might truly one day become little Switzerland.