Somewhere after passing Teslic and Banja Vrucica, you reach a difficult road to Blatnica and the turn that leads you to Očaus mountain. After a few kilometers, the road stops, so we follow the forest path to the top. Miroslav Kljecanin, a farmer who is on came back to his family land in Gornji Ocaus, is looking forward to us. Miroslav launched the company “Mons Produkt”, which includes the goat farm and the processing of goat milk products.
“After just under two decades in Italy, I returned to my village. I started the farm four years ago and then the production of cheese. The farm is at 950 meters above sea level, and now we have some 220 alpine goats. One goat gives an average of 2.5 liters of milk per day. Then we produce a different types of cheese, yogurt, whey, ” Miroslav explains.
His working day starts at six in the morning, and today we found him in cheese production. He says he is in constant search for labor and educated people who would help him.
“The climate is good, 400 types of medicinal herbs can be found here, and there are no major polluters for 40 kilometers. On this line Očaus – Borje – Vučja mountain all the way to Vlasic are untapped pastures. There were previously 20 herdsmen with 200-500 goats each here. Now I am alone with this program. I encourage and want to involve co-operators, expand, and we have expressed willingness to include new people in this business,” Kljecanin added.
There are great challenges for small manufacturers. They are confronted with strong competition in the domestic market, where a large proportion of sales are covered by foreign products. The biggest problem for them is the low price of imported cheese, but there are other obstacles.
New standards, recommendations and conditions that should open the door to exports to the European Union require additional investments, new technologies and the change of some practices. But Miroslav says there is room for optimism. His farm grows significantly from month to month.
“We practice vaccination every year, we are working on technology advancement, we follow new trends in order to ensure the trust of the end customer. We are going to fairs, we are connecting with people, recently we were in Belgrade with the support of the USAID/Sweden FARMA II project, we are now going to Banja Luka. We know that the road is difficult, but I believe that the market will recognize quality products, “Miroslav tells us.
The company “Mons Produkt” and goat farm in Gornji Očaus is supported through activities of the USAID / Sweden FARMA II project. The support is provided for the financing of milk heaters, cheese production and lactofreeze equipment. Also, the company’s employees have passed training on cheese-making technology. “Mons Produkt” plans to expand production and supply equipment for easier and faster transport of products to the market.
“This support means shows that when you work, you can do the job and be a good example. I’m struggling to create a new value, every new day is a success for me. My interest and desire is to show by example that it is worthy”, Miroslav concludes.
Last year, Bosnia and Herzegovina imported over 11,000 tons of cheese in the total value of 73.5 million convertible marks. On the other hand, we exported thirteen times smaller quantities and eleven times smaller value. However, examples like “Mons Produkt” show that small producers are ready to launch a change in the current trade disproportion, be good employers and entrepreneurs, and turn customers into excellent domestic products.