The Grandma’s Garden is located in a place of a new life and a new beginning, surrounded by the slopes of Klekovača, Oštrelj and Srnetica mountains. This unique entrepreneurial venture of greenhouse production, skilfully managed by Snježana Pećanac, is of one the beneficiaries of the Job Ticket Project funded by the European Union within the EU4Business programme – for competitive and innovative local economy.
Snježana was unemployed all her life. She lived in her family household, where she worked hard together with her husband and three sons to start a family farm. Although most of their livelihood came from agriculture and cattle-breeding, they were actively engaged in the production of milk and dairy products.
Once you get to meet this hardworking and determined woman, she will proudly tell you that her business idea is already at an advanced stage thanks to the support of the EU4Business Project, where greenhouse production has become her daily routine. The planting material was planted quite some time ago and she expects the first harvest of peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers soon. She believes that this is exactly in line with her business plan and business idea, which was assessed as a viable idea at the training conducted according to the methodology of the International Labour Organisation.
Although the ‘Job Ticket’ covers the area of nine municipalities in north-western Bosnia and Herzegovina, and final beneficiaries sign contracts under the purchase of agricultural is ensured, Snježana admits that the Grandma’s Garden is one of the few gardens of the kind and that greenhouse production in the municipality of Petrovac is not at an enviable level.
“The locals produce more for their sustenance than for further sale. The farm that I have registered does not have much competition at the moment and that is why I already have ensured the points of sale for my produce. The local market has welcomed this business idea, and even some local shops have offered to buy my produce”, emphasises Snježana.
The story of the Pećanac family is encouraging for everyone who would like to try their hand at agriculture, because, as Snježana says, “any project that is implemented in a small municipality such as Petrovac will bring benefits to the community as a whole”. She points out that she especially benefited from professional presentations and training session, including from everyday follow-up with the project team. Although the pandemic has made things rather difficult, she says that the entire project cycle management system is to be commended.
“When the whole world is facing a crisis of enormous proportions, then support of this kind to individual entrepreneurs has a special added value”, says Snježana, adding that she, given the global impact, will be quite happy if she succeeds in placing her produce on the market. Only then she will consider expanding production and preparing for this year’s sowing season in the autumn.
She says that her family is her greatest support in her endeavours and that together they are able to achieve everything because they share responsibilities.
“Do not just sit idly by and miss the opportunities that are being offered to you. I believe that anyone who has a plot of land can start their own story and produce their own agricultural produce in line with the principles of organic production. Honestly, I am happiest when my granddaughter eats healthy food. Any challenge is difficult, but, believe me, everything will eventually pay off”, says Snježana.
The project “Agriculture and Agri-Tourism as a Job Opportunity” is based on the outcomes of previous joint initiatives of the municipalities of Petrovac, Bosanski Petrovac and Ribnik, the Agricultural cooperative “Klekovača” and the Association “GEA” (in partnership with employment services, educational institutions and the private sector); an active role in the implementation of the project will be shared by the Tourist Board of Petrovac Drinić Municipality, Ethno-Village “Čardaklije”, Faculty of Agriculture Banja Luka, Banja Luka College and the Public Employment Service of Republika Srpska.
EU4Business is funded by the European Union with €15 million and by the Federal Republic of Germany with €1.1 million with a view to strengthening BiH’s economy. EU4Business encourages the development of entrepreneurship, export-oriented sectors, tourism and agriculture, as well as rural development, and is implemented jointly by GIZ, ILO and UNDP, from April 2018 to March 2022.