The EU has provided considerable financial support to Agriculture and Rural Development sectors in Bosnia and Herzegovina, including for food safety, veterinary and phytosanitary (so far under IPA 2007-2013 around 26 million EUR).
9.1 million EUR of IPA funds are lost, as BiH has not reached an agreement within the country on the country–wide strategy, the IPA Rural Development (IPARD) set-up, agricultural census and agriculture information systems. Agriculture and rural development sectors are not eligible for the IPA II financial support due to lack of country-wide strategy.
Thanks to the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) and its trade component, the Interim Agreement, 85% of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s exports go to the EU. BiH could export more of its products, including in particular those of animal origin, once the EU requirements are met.
Some progress was made in the field of food safety and veterinary policy in BiH. The export of ultra-heat treated milk and certain dairy products as well as potato to EU was allowed in 2015. In order to join the EU, the country needs to align with EU’s standards, transpose legislation and provide for its progressive implementation.
In December 2016, the EUSR has launched a country wide public dialogue with farmers and rural communities to promote a better public understanding of EU/SAA requirements in the area of agriculture and rural development. The project includes a comprehensive public awareness campaign combined with targeted forums on agriculture and rural development as well as various informative-educational events for stakeholders and the general public in ten selected municipalities across the country.
The forums will be organized in the following 10 municipalities/cities:
- 11 January, Travnik; 12 January, Livno
- 26 January, Prijedor; 27 January, Bihac
- 2 February, Brcko; 3 February, Bijeljina
- 10 February, Banja Luka
- 16 February, Gradacac; 17 February, Doboj
- 23 February, Trebinje
Forums are expected to be attended by farmers, business representatives, agricultural and development associations, cooperatives, professionals i.e. agricultural engineers, veterinarians, local authorities including departments for agriculture and rural development and other relevant stakeholders from targeted areas.
Each forum will follow with a mini-fair where leading donors’ may present their programmes and initiatives for rural development and agriculture in BiH (such as USAID/Sweden FARMA II project, GIZ ‘ProLocal’, UNDP BiH, Care Austria, HELP, OXFAM, UPIP Žepče, etc.). Local producers of seeds and food for animals as well as those who distribute plant protection products are invited to present their products.
At the same time, local thematic advocates will lead small scale dialogue sessions for interested farmers on the latest news, achievements and potential use of the new technologies in rural development and agriculture, seasonal activities or similar.