Bosnia and Herzegovina takes advantage of its climate, its rich biodiversity, and its uncontaminated countryside to produce a wide range of medicinal and aromatic plants, which has long been an important source of income for the rural population of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Developing the sector and supplying it with more modern tools and organisation means increasing revenues, promoting exports, and opening up additional local job opportunities.
This is where the AgroMAP Network has stepped in, mobilising EU aid for support to agribusiness. This project has delivered equipment that makes it possible to expand processing – and at the same time is supporting economic, environmental and social objectives across Bosnia and Herzegovina. Productivity has been improved (on lemon balm plantations it was up 40%, for instance), and in 2013 exports were 25% higher and incomes were 30% higher than in 2012.
A network of some 30 associations and enterprises – representing more than 2,000 growers, collectors, and processors of medicinal and aromatic plants – created a ‘machinery ring’ of collectively-owned equipment that each of them is entitled to use. The project supplied agribusinesses within the network with four distilleries for producing essential oils, and acquired specialised harvesters, separators and shredders, refrigeration facilities, packaging machines, and even protective netting for plantations.
The participants are mainly small operators in Žepce, Zavidovici, Maglaj, Mostar, Gornji Vakuf- skoplje, Capljina, Trebinje, Skelani-Srebrenica, Ljubinje, and Banja Luka. Until now, they had a low degree of mechanisation, which hindered their business activity. Now they are benefiting from more cost-effective production, greater cooperation and stronger commercial organisation, factors which are making them more competitive on export markets.