Vesna Kostic, Senior Communications Officer in the World Bank Belgrade Office
In the fall of 2010, fruit farmer Velibor Marinkovic cashed in his savings, took out a loan and invested almost US$40,000 in a cooling unit to keep his raspberries fresh until ready for shipping to wholesalers and retailers.
It seemed like a foolproof investment given that Marinkovic lives in the part of central Serbia renowned for its delectable raspberries, and that raspberries are popular. But Velibor did not factor in how unreliable the power supply was in his agricultural region.
"The first time we installed the equipment it was switching on and off every minute. The voltage was so weak that we couldn’t do anything. It was such so stressful for me, we invested so much and the cooling unit was empty. Some of the neighbors who counted on cooling raspberries in my unit felt the same," says Marinkovic.
He was not the only one affected by the unreliable electricity supply in the region.