Donji Zabar, a municipality in the north of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), is proud to be known locally as the ‘egg and poultry town’. Predrag Milicic, CEO of poultry egg producer AGREKS, claims that Donji Zabar produces the highest number of eggs per capita in Europe.
Fact or not, BiH food producers now have a much wider market for their BiH egg-based products – and that is a boost for business all the way from Donji Zabar to food processing and transportation.
In July 2019, egg producers from BiH received good news: the European Commission had approved the export of BiH processed eggs to EU markets. This marked a milestone BiH agricultural exports: It meant that producers of pasta, bakery, and other food items made with BiH eggs could start exporting their products to the EU.
Milicic and others credit the USAID/Sweden FARMA project with helping public and private stakeholders achieve this milestone. “I was really glad to see that the USAID/Sweden FARMA project was willing to help our sector…. It is extremely important that you have partners and associates who truly strive to achieve goals that will bring economic prosperity,” Milicic said.
Working in cooperation with state and entity institutions, the FARMA project prepared the private and public sectors through ‘mock inspections’ and other simulations at the facilities of the four leading eggs producers. FARMA also organized theoretical and practical trainings and provided direct grants to producers and farmers nationwide to introduce HACCP system analysis and stricter controls on hygienic safety in the production process.
“We have received confirmation that our poultry sector and production companies fulfill EU standards and criteria,” said Nebojsa Rakic from the Association of the Poultry Producers in Republika Srpska, one of two BiH entities. “This success would not have come without joint activities and projects implemented by poultry producers, the USAID/Sweden FARMA project, and public institutions,” Rakic said.
“Exports of BiH processed egg products to countries of the EU will encourage our producers … [and] benefit will come for the entire food industry,” Rakic added.
Reaching for the next milestone in BiH agricultural success, the FARMA project continues to provide technical assistance to prepare BiH egg producers for further liberalization of the EU markets that will allow BiH exports of the table eggs for direct consumption.
USAID’s FARMA II project provides technical assistance and training to targeted subsectors to expand environmentally sustainable production and processing and enhance the production of value-added food products. Success in these areas will contribute greatly to inclusive economic growth in the agricultural sector and reduce rural poverty.