The power of associations: Early potato from Ljubuški

Producers of early potato from Ljubuški associated under the brand ‘Ljubuški rani’ have improved their product quality and in 2018, for the first time, Ljubuški rani found its way to supermarkets in BiH. The teaming up of the producers and improvement of the quality were achieved with the support of the European Union and German Government.

Famous for its quality and early ripening, early potato from Ljubuški has recently become known as “Ljubuški rani” and is available on the market in biodegradable crates of modern and unique design bearing the slogan “Sun, Stone and Red Soil”. The established visual identity displays the authenticity of the small-farm producers and highlights the features of its region of origin. Each crate carries a label with the producers’ contact details and their phytosanitary identification code, enabling traceability.

The “Ljubuški rani” brand represents a form of quality assurance and guarantee of availability of sufficient quantities, as an umbrella brand for 25 small farmers who had until now been participating in the market individually. This year, 35 tons of “Ljubuški rani” have been sold to supermarkets in BiH at prices 50-100% higher than in the previous season.

This is only one among the many results achieved by the European Union and German Government support to economic development in BiH through the EU ProLocal project.

Early potatoes were among the first products to access the European Union market in 2015, when the European Union approved export, thereby confirming compliance with phytosanitary requirements. By doing so, the quality as well as the quality control of this BiH treasure was acknowledged.

Quality first

In order to support continuous improvement of product quality and the production process, EU ProLocal organized a comprehensive training on introduction of good agricultural practices in the farming of early potato, which correspond to the requirements of GLOBALG.A.P standard.

Seven new early potato varieties were tested this season, and the production process was modernised in order to assist agricultural producers in BiH in following the trends and meeting market demands of the potato assortment. The grants awarded through EUProLocal were spent on the procurement of six tractor tillers and five tractor atomizers, as well as portable soil testing equipment. The planning and monitoring of farming activities has been made much easier with information coming from the procured agro-meteorological station.

Watch the video Story about the Ljubuški rani that gives an insight into the results of the EU ProLocal’s activities that helped “Ljubuški rani” to take the position on the market that its quality warrants.

Recommendations for the future

The main preliminary design for establishment of a distribution centre for storing, sorting and packaging of potato has been developed, and the Ljubuški municipality has allocated a land plot for its construction in the Zvirići Business Zone.

The centre will become the main collection point for all early potato producers in this region, where quality assurance control will be performed regularly and inadequate products will be returned to producers.

EU ProLocal has been helping economic development in BiH for the last 3 years. The Programme is financed by the European Union with €9 million and the German Government with €4 million, and is implemented by GIZ.