The European Union’s EU4Business project granted financial support worth a total of 1.6 million BAM to 10 agricultural holdings, who will co-fund their activities with more than 1.3 million BAM. Official grant awards ceremony, which was attended by representatives of state and entity ministries in charge of agriculture, marked a significant milestone in continued EU support to competitive agriculture and food production and creation of new jobs.
“This event concretely shows that the European Union is ready to support farmers and rural population in Bosnia and Herzegovina. We need you to work with us and we want you to join the European Union. In the EU, farmers are the backbone of the economy and they should be the backbone of BiH. We have provided 3 million euros in grants through EU4Business and have in the pipeline 30 million euros for rural development and agriculture, one of the most important sectors, that has been long neglected. We hope this will encourage you to adjust to EU standards and strengthen the sector because it should not be forgotten that 60% of citizens live in rural areas,” said Ambassador Lars-Gunnar Wigemark, Head of the Delegation of the European Union and EU Special Representative to Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Darko Tost, Executive Director of Agro Mašić d.o.o. Gradačac, one of the EU4Business grant beneficiaries, pointed out that farmers, with support of such projects, have the will, courage and willingness to cope with the risks they face in achieving competitiveness on the domestic and foreign markets.
Sukhrob Koshmukhamedov, UNDP Resident Representative a.i. stated: “There are 125,000 registered farms, with roughly 35% of the agricultural exports going to the EU. With the official commencement of 10 investments and the new public call launched today we aim to jointly support modernization of production and strengthening of competitiveness through the introduction of new technologies and innovations in the agri-food sector”. Koshmukhamedov emphasized importance of partnership with the EU Delegation, state, entity and Brčko District ministries and agencies, as well as GIZ and ILO, in making a shared vision of stronger and resilient agricultural sector come true.
Today, the European Union’s EU4Business project also launched a 2.6 million BAM worth public call which will support investments in processing and marketing for projects related to vegetable, fruit, grape, olives, dairy and meet sub-sectors. All interested companies, cooperatives, entrepreneurs dealing with the food production and processing can access the public call via webpages of EU4Business www.eu4business.ba and UNDP www.ba.undp.org.
Dušan Nešković, Assistant Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations of Bosnia and Herzegovina, emphasized that the European Union is following the priorities set out in the Rural Development Strategy and that a part of the financial support for BiH is already visible in the field. He also added that public calls with more money for processing and rural development will follow and will be important for strengthening of both the agricultural activities and the corresponding institutional mechanisms.
The EU4Business project is jointly funded by the European Union (EUR 15 million) and the Federal Republic of Germany (EUR 1.1 million). The project is jointly implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and International Labor Organization (ILO), from April 2018 to March 2022.