How important is EU support for the development of BiH agriculture?

Admir Đelmo,  Jablanica

Development of agricultural production in BiH, the increase in economic growth as well as the market competitiveness of BiH farmers without the support of the EU is impossible. A lack of harmonization of policies and legislation together with a disregard for farmers’ rights prevents the development of agriculture that could certainly bring BiH out of this crisis. The EU’s importance for the development of BiH agriculture is in helping to harmonize legislation in BiH with European countries, to provide farmers a safe funding for subsidies and to ensure consumers a regular supply of food. 
These goals are common to all EU Member States and can only be achieved by allowing financial support to agriculture and rural areas. There is one large European market for agricultural products, and it is, therefore, necessary to establish a policy at an EU level in order to ensure fair conditions for all. Budgetary resources are also better used due to the collective EU policy than it would be with the existing national policies. A common approach to supporting agriculture ensures equal conditions for farmers who compete in the domestic market and abroad.

Vlado Cvijić,  Banja Luka

The best way you can take advantage of BiH strategy is through the adoption of good practice from other countries: policy documents, practical policy proposals, action plans, improving the system of collecting and monitoring qualitative and quantitative indicators harmonized with EU structural indicators, the administrative organization and efficiency in the implementation of various programmes. In the context of economic reform in BiH, much can be learned and drawn from initiative European Platform Against Poverty. 
As in BiH, the largest part of the burden for the economic crisis hit the most vulnerable population groups. Therefore, action area of the platform can easily be transferred into the BiH context. In other words, taking measures across the spectrum of agrarian policy; such as the more efficient use of EU funds in order to support rural employment; promoting innovation and scientific and technological research; working through partnerships and potential of rural areas; improving the co-ordination of public policies in partnership with business, public and civil society sectors; and the application of the European Platform against Poverty in the area of regional rural economic development. 
Great potential for progress in BiH lies also in the concept of technological innovation, which is recognized by the EU as an important means of bringing about economic recovery. The first activity in the strategy’s implementation is that governments of signatory countries, such as BiH, prepare action plans that should indicate how they will achieve and implement the goals for sustainable rural development. We expect the European Commission to offer technical and financial assistance in the preparation of these plans, after which we will start with the implementation phase. Although the authorities at all levels in BiH have begun to take into account EU and international examples of good practice, they have certainly not been enough and have also been very slow.

Radmilo Mihajlović, Višegrad

Any support for the development of agriculture, especially from the EU, is important as it is a significant financial source that is lacking in budgets at various levels of government in BiH. Agriculture will not be sustainable in a long term and will not develop through subsidies because they conceal inefficient production by seeking magical recipes, such as organic farming, small plants for processing food products or models of association. 
While EU assistance in these areas will have to adapt to the conditions in BiH, we will also need to be prepared by building the necessary structure and have enough knowledge to effectively use all funds received.Creating conditions for agricultural support from the EU funds made it fertile ground for the fight between those who are for the centralization of power and those who respect the current constitutional and legal structure, which has completely blocked this process.

The EU Programme for Rural Development (IPARD) would enable the flow of funds and their availability to farmers and rural households that would help gradually improve their economic and social situation. EU support to BiH could be used for its advantages, such as climate, geography, organic production and to activate its own additional potentials.