Kupres Cheese Seizes Local Market
Canton 10 is among the poorest regions in Bosnia and Herzegovina, with high unemployment rate, especially among the returnees and vulnerable groups. Small farmers from dispersed region of Kupres faced many challenges in selling their products, due to the distance from the markets and the difficult production conditions. Families who produce milk and dairy were particularly affected. Under the programme which UN agencies implement in Canton 10, small dairy producers are getting much needed help.
Thanks to the donation of milk cooling tanks through the UN Trust Fund for Human Security (UN TFHS), agro-trade cooperative "BH Milch", founded by Smajil Žilić, boosted production of the unique “Kupres cheese”, while the purchase of milk was guaranteed to the farmers enabling them regular income.
"Six months ago, when we started, we had only fifteen subcontractors from whom we collected the milk. Every day we had to visit the farmers in order to transport the required amount of raw milk for cheese production, which was quite time consuming and unrewarding job," said Vedad Žilić an employee of the association "BH Milch" and points out that thanks to the new milk cooling tanks number of subcontractors, and therefore the number of families who earn for living by raising cattle and sheep, increased to forty in a few months.
During the first six months, the cheesemaking factory has developed five types of cheese, each with a unique taste. These are mainly hard, whole milk, cheeses such as: "Kupres cheese", "Kupres mountain cheese", "Kupres cheese with spices”, "Baška cheese" and "Kupres smoked cheese". Around 4,500 kilos of cheese is produced per month. In 2015, it is expected that capacities will be increased and new products developed.
"Every day we have new requirements from Kupres farmers who are slowly gaining confidence in our work and want to cooperate with us. At the same time, given that the problem of milk storage is solved, now we have good conditions for production," said Žilić.
Local dairy producers see a chance in the domestic market, where the Kupres cheese has quickly found its place thanks to the quality of milk from Kupres pastures.
Ensuring conditions for a better life, improvement of social services and other forms of support to vulnerable groups are some of the goals of the project “Applying the Human Security Concept to Stabilize Communities in Canton 10” which is jointly implemented by UNDP, UNHCR, UNICEF and IOM in partnership with the Government of Canton 10, the municipalities of Canton 10 and local civil society organisations. The project is funded by the United Nations Trust Fund for Human Security (UN TFHS).