“Thanks to this project and our joint efforts in aligning the phytosanitary sector with EU standards BiH was able to export vegetables, fruits and nuts worth more than 45 million EUR to the EU in 2016”, said Ambassador Lars-Gunnar Wigemark, Head of EU Delegation to BiH and EU Special Representative in BiH at the closing conference of the EU- funded twinning project ‘EU FITO BIH’ on 12 April in Sarajevo.
Commenting on results achieved in the project, Ambassador Wigemark also reminded that there was still a lot of work that needed to be done in the sector in order to increase trade both ways, from BiH to the European Union and vice versa.
“BiH needs to continue with reforms in order to reap benefits. It is very important that BiH adopts the agriculture and rural development strategy at all government levels by autumn 2017, so that we will be able to continue supporting it in its efforts to align the sector with EU standards“, Ambassador Wigemark concluded.
Nicola Minasi, Ambassador of Italy to BiH highlighted the importance of this sector for the country’s economy.
“Through this project, BiH had the opportunity to gain insight in the agricultural regulations in the European Union. Experts from Italy and Poland engaged in this project are really the best when it comes to providing assistance to farmers in these two countries. The agriculture sector is one of the crucial sectors in Italy and we will certainly continue to cooperate with BiH authorities in improving this sector”, Minasi added.
Seid Uzunovic, Deputy Director of the BiH Administration for Plant Health Protection at the BIH Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations emphasised the successful involvement of all the relevant stakeholders, administrative staff, phytosanitary inspection, sanitary laboratories and especially farmers.
“This project achieved significant results that will help Bosnia and Herzegovina to establish a viable and functional sector in the future”, Uzunovic said.
This twinning project which lasted for 27 months was financed by the European Union through the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA 2012) in the amount of 1.5 million EUR. The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry Policies of Italy was the lead institution from the EU Member State that implemented the project in partnership with the State Plant Health and Seed Inspection Service of Poland, the Ministry for Agriculture and Rural Development of Poland, Informest from Italy, the Research Institute of Horticulture form Poland as well as the beneficiary institutions led by the BiH Administration for Plant Health Protection.