EU ProLocal Programme: Prevention is the key to fighting back against the floods

A company in Laktaši municipality was prepared for the new wave of floods which has recently hit the municipality. They have taken the protection measures defined by the flood risk action plan. The preparation of this plan was enabled by the European Union and German Government through the EU ProLocal Programme.

As part of the support to the 2014 floods recovery, the EU ProLocal Programme has assisted 28 of BiH companies in development of the flood risk action plan. The companies have identified their internal weaknesses concerning the protection of employees, infrastructure and equipment, and have defined a number of steps which need to be taken once a flood hazard is identified. This, among other, includes the employee evacuation plan, relocation procedures for equipment and products, protecting buildings from water, etc. “We have identified and eliminated the weaknesses and shortcomings by raising the equipment, machines, finished products and semi-finished products onto a safe level throughout the entire production plant, and by building a support wall surrounding the company premises where we previously had issues with water penetration. This has now proven to be an effective measure in prevention of damage from floods and the unfortunate experience from 2014”, said Mr. Vedran Koprena, the owner of the company Bravarija Pile d.o.o. from Laktaši.

The program has also developed the Flood Prevention and Response Guidance for SMEs in BiH, providing practical recommendations on measures that can prevent or reduce flood damage and ensure a quick recovery. It is available on the web site of the Programme www.eu-prolocal.ba.

Support provided for further development of the companies

The European Union has awarded 4 million Euros as grants in order to improve the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises through the EU ProLocal Programme. Nearly one million of the funds have been awarded to companies having faced floods in 2014. Thus, the production process has been modernized and the product range expanded, which enabled the enterprises to enter new markets and increase their share in the existing ones.

Prijedorčanka has established a new production line for chopping vegetables, which enabled them for the market placement of frozen products. Armako from Prnjavor introduced the novelty to the market by launching the production of a 14-meter pylon which is irreplaceable in large infrastructure projects. The procurement of modern industrial mechanization has provided for new quality and speed in processing of grain for company Euroinvest from Brčko, as well as hazelnut plantations of company Eko Bosanska Posavina from Derventa. The process of metal powder coating was automated in company Bravarija Pile from Laktaši, as well as the process of packaging seedlings in company Sjemenarna from Široki Brijeg, after the floods in other parts of BiH prevented this company from collecting payments from their clients and receiving new orders.

“These companies have not only recovered from the consequences of floods, but have also exceeded the volume of their business operations from the period before the floods. The introduction of business innovations and launch of novelties into the market which we supported through the EU ProLocal has resulted in the opening of nearly 90 new jobs”, emphasized Richard Maša, the Head of Cooperation at the EU Delegation to BiH.

EU ProLocal is a programme for local self-government and economic development in BiH. It is financed with EUR 9 million by the European Union, EUR 4 million by the German Government, and is being implemented by GIZ.