Gornja Vratnica near Visoko has become recognizable nationwide and throughout the region based on results of the local BIOS cooperative, which has grown to a large producer of greenhouses and agricultural raw materials since 2004. Their work goes further than that, so when you visit them, you will come across a number of woodworking, metal and plastic processing workshops from the entrance gate of the co-operative to the greenhouses. Nermin Kadrić, one of the co-founders and our host, is waiting for us.
“We started from scratch, intending to act as an agricultural cooperative. At this location, there were once military barracks, we have restored it, we are constantly investing in expansion, work to raise the standard in every segment. Our activities have expanded, we have close to 200 people living from cooperative work, we have multi-million worth of work and production, and we are cooperating with more than 1,000 farmers in this area. Most of the production of plastics is exported to Serbia, we distribute it all over the country. Also, we produce irrigation systems, and through years we have gained farmers’ trust,” Kadric says.
Kadric considers inclusion of farmers in various development projects useful, and that this enabled access to international markets. The cooperation and support that the BIOS has received under the USAID/Sweden FARMA II project is important, not only because of direct support, but also because of the connection with cooperatives and companies across the country.
“We as farmers have felt positive effects of work with the USAID/Sweden FARMA II activites. We got in touch, find out ‘who is who’, we’ve learned from each other. Together we have opened international markets, introduced new technologies. We got support also through procurement of machine tools and solar panels for the poultry farm in Srebrenica. We are expanding, trying to give a chance to young people and create jobs, “adds Kadric.
Kadric believes that to improve conditions in BiH, it is necessary to continue to work and invest in development. It also warns that for any change, reform processes and the improvement of relations necessarily involve dialogue between people from agriculture, manufacturing and the private sector.
“There is a need for broad changes in the structure and ways in which the state works. We could talk about that for days. However, what is perhaps most important is not to change things that are currently delivering results. For example, profit tax is currently 10%, such policy has attracted companies, foreign investment, people are encouraged to invest. If tomorrow someone decides to rethink these polices, we must be involved – as private sector to discuss and offer our views”, Kadric concludes.