Covid Impact Stories

For urban-dwellers, confined in small flats because of
lockdowns, rural living could seem ideal. The green pastures, fresher
air, room to spread out.

But for rural communities, especially farmers and local producers, the restrictions have brought different challenges.

The
Mladenov family live in Dimitrovgrad, one of the least developed
municipalities in southeastern Serbia. They make a living from their
small dairy farm outside town. Until the pandemic hit, Emilija, 37, sold
milk and cheese every morning at their local market in town, and from
their sale she was able to support her 9-year old twins, Juliana and
Jelena.

But things have changed since then: first she and her
husband Aleksander had to stop selling at the market, so they started
going from house to house instead; then, the state of emergency and
curfews meant they could not go out, and even when they could, most
people had stopped ordering home because they did not want to risk
having contact with someone. Teleworking was simply not an option in
their line of business.

As Covid restrictions disrupted the
market, driving down prices, the family was forced to start selling milk
to a local dairy at a much lower amount. “We hope once this period
ends, the price of milk will rise again,” Aleksander says.

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