Voćar Piramida is a company from Visoko, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), founded in 2007. It is specialized in growing, processing and selling fruit. Their fruit exports started in 2011, especially in the European Union, but the company, as many others, was facing many challenges when exporting fresh fruit.
That is why Voćar Piramida decided to start processing fruit – producing primarily dried fruit and natural juices – for national and international markets. The company was selected to be part of Sida’s Challenge2Change Fund (C2C) to develop a network of subcontractors who would provide the company with the raw material needed for its processing requirements, in this particular case for the production of dried and candied locally grown fruit.
Sulejman Selimović shared how “there is an increasing number of smallholder farmers of different kind of fruits in BiH that have difficulties in finding access to the market because they produce small quantities, have inadequate packaging or poor produce quality. Our company faced similar difficulties which is the reason why we decided to start this culture of processing with the purpose of supporting home-made production of fruit products”. Market research done by the company showed that “there is great interest in international markets on candied and dried fruit – raspberries, blackberries and sour cherries, etc. – that can be found abundant in local production”.
A great variety of products are available from local producers and smallholder farmers who cannot place their products (fresh or processed) in the market. On top of this, at the moment, there is very little processing capacity in BiH. This makes the marketing and selling of local raw material even more difficult. ” Our business idea would allow processing of large amounts of raw material into our product which still has not flooded the local and foreign market” says Sulejman Selimović.
Through the implementation of the project, the company increased the number of cooperatives which they are working with. Currently, over 90 agricultural cooperatives formed mainly by rural households and smallholder famers are part of Voćar Piramida’s value chain. In the future, the company will train the cooperatives on organic farming, so its products will have higher added valued and will be better positioned in the market.