Nevesinje – The Forgotten Land

Nevesinje was chosen for participation in the Business Bus project because, for decades, it has experienced economic decline. Situated in the south-east of BiH, Nevesinje has a rich historical tradition, but its geographical position and distance from the main highway through Herzegovina contributed to its economic difficulties.

A long history of little economic development

During the 1992-95 war, Nevesinje fell under Serb control and is today part of the Republika Srpska (RS) entity. The town’s population is estimated to be around 18,000, with some 8,000 persons believed to be refugees from Herzegovinian municipalities in BiH’s other Federal entity. Before the recent war, Nevesinje was an economically underdeveloped municipality in spite of its natural resources. The area is markedly rural and for centuries its main economic industry was agriculture: crop husbandry and cattle breeding. People still produce food and animal products in the traditional manner, which is now considered natural and organic.

A need for business support

The town’s economy has not fully recovered since the end of the war. And although the municipality does not yet have an SME development agency, it does have one of the oldest agricultural cooperatives (founded in 1946) in BiH. The cooperative brings together small agricultural producers in the villages of the municipality. The Business Bus project found that the problems facing the entrepreneurs of this municipality have existed for years, and that there is a clear demand for business support services in this Herzegovinian town.