GLOBALGAP certificates were handed over to seven BiH agricultural cooperatives in Brčko on 4 November, at a ceremony which coincided with the presentation of the EU funded “Development of Agricultural Cooperatives” project under which that certification was provided.
GLOBALGAP standard is an international trade norm for all agricultural products, and certification in that standard enables BiH cooperatives and their producers with compliance to the local, EU and other international export market requirements.
The EU-funded project is being implemented by the Centre for Development and Support (CRP) in partnership with the NGO "Nešto više" from Sarajevo.
“The project is designed to strengthen the capacity of agricultural cooperatives in Bosnia and Herzegovina so that they can respond more effectively to demand, from the domestic market and from the EU market,” said project assistant Almir Zulic.
Cooperatives that were certified with the GLOBALGAP standard are: Agricultural Cooperative (ZZ) "Voćar" Glumina from Zvornik, “Agro-Koraj” from Koraja, “Gračanka” from Gracanica, "PMG VIP" from Gradačac, "Brka" from Brčko , “Agropodrinje” from Goražde and “Prunus“ Zvornik
“Certification means that these agricultural cooperatives can now sell their products in the European market, specifically in the market for fresh fruit and vegetables,” Zulić said.
He explained that agricultural cooperatives in Bosnia and Herzegovina are in a difficult position because they have no competitive advantage.
”Bosnia and Herzegovina imports more than 60 percent of its agricultural products, and exports very little,” he said. “This project has served as an incentive to BiH agricultural cooperatives to produce more and to sell more in the European market by certifying them with relevant GLOBALGAP standard.”
The EU Delegation to BiH’s Programme Manager, Maja Došenović, said the certificates recognized that the successful cooperatives had introduced relevant standards that make it possible to increase their export potentials.
“This has been a way for the European Union to help cooperatives become more competitive, to strengthen their potential and to achieve greater access to markets,” Došenović said.
The EU has provided 315,000 Euros in funding to the project, which represents 85% of the total project value. The remaining co-funding was ensured by the project partner local authorities from cantonal level – Tuzla canton and target municipalities. Those funds have been disbursed in direct assistance measures to seven target cooperatives, which bring together around 400 producers in both Entities and Brčko District.
Šaćir Rahman, Director of ZZ “Brka” from Brčko, said that his cooperative had not been able to take advantage of certification this year because drought and hail storms have ravaged the fruit crop, but he believes the certificate will make it possible to take products to the European market in the coming year.
The Head of the Brčko District Department of Agriculture, Pejo Mendeš, pointed out that any form of assistance for agricultural production is welcome and will be supported by the local community.
“Certification of cooperatives is a positive thing,” he said, “and I believe that high quality products from Brčko will find their place in the European market.”
Tuzla Canton Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management Imšir Škahić said his ministry supports the project and projects like it and he stressed that “cooperatives in Bosnia and Herzegovina have not yet been able to achieve their full potential.”
Tuesday, 08. November 2011 at 14:14
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