Profiting in Dairy by Joining Hands
Five returnee families in Drvar gathered in the Association of dairy and meat producers “Fenix” and in late 2014 decided to jointly seize the market, considering the milk could provide them a safe income. Prior to establishing the association, and a purchase station, they first worked with UNDP representatives who assisted with logistics and specific donations, through the project “Applying the Human Security Concept to Stabilize Communities in Canton 10”, which for the beginning has ten members, gathers unemployed returnees to whom the production of the milk is the only income. Former employees of certain companies, that have stopped working or that have reduced the number of workers due to the war and transition, they were inexperienced in agricultural production and animal husbandry. They chose the branch that is of existential importance to them, but, they say, it was not easy to start.
"The first aid from UNDP was the education of all interested milk producers. It was important to know some basic information about the dairy industry, as well as opportunities for joint appearance," explains Vinko Kukolj, otherwise unemployed engineer of Labour Organization, and stated that they hired two experts in the field of milk production, which were of great benefit.
“The first results of their work were visible after a month. We started to bring higher quality milk, bacteria were eliminated thanks to the trainings they carried out, and the quantities increased.”
In mid-2014, after the Association “Fenix” and the purchase station were established, milk production rose from 70 to around 200 litres per day. Larger quantities of milk were the first precondition for connecting major processing companies, such as Meggle, with local milk producers. “Meggle dairy company now considers us a serious co-operator, regularly purchasing and emptying our cooling tanks”, said the producers gathered in the premises of the Association while waiting for the vehicle from dairy that gathers milk every night. They hired one worker, a single mother, for whom this job is the only source of income. She says her salary is small, but hopes that the Association will gather a larger number of producers which will mean more work for her. Cheerful team of middle-aged people, who experienced all the hardships of life in Bosnia and Herzegovina, are determined, however, not to give up and to try to take advantage of resources from their environment.
They hope that next year they will be able to exercise their right on levies for milk which is granted by the cantonal authorities.
For the milk station Drvar 1, except for organized education, UNDP has donated two milk cooling tanks of 300 liters, then forty cans of milk, measuring devices and other equipment required for the production of milk.
In this way, the conditions are created for milk produced on local farms to reach the shelves of large retail chains in BiH.
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).