For more than two decades, Nebojša Radović from Bratunac in Bosnia and Herzegovina has been growing raspberries, and today his wife and three children help him out in the raspberry plantation. Because of the additional income they bring, Nebojša explains: “Raspberries mean a lot to us. My wife has no other job, and my regular job is not enough to cover all living expenses. We have been educating our children in growing raspberries too.”
Nebojša is one of many subcontractors of the family company, Herbos Nature, which has been collecting forest fruits since 2006. Since 2012 it has been engaged in the purchase, processing and wholesale of berries, mushrooms and herbs. Today, it has a network of over 1,000 subcontractors across the country.
Supporting growth in time of crisis
Maida Hadžiavdić from Herbos Nature explains that the company had been growing steadily for years, but that, like other businesses, they faced difficulties when the COVID-19 pandemic started in 2020. “As we were growing continuously, we had issues, but with the pandemic the difficulties increased, in particular for our subcontractors,” says Maida.
Just then, there was a call for proposals for supporting agricultural companies in Bosnia and Herzegovina, launched by the EU-funded EU4AGRI project. Herbos Nature applied and received support including the purchase of equipment for the company and their subcontractors and other related assistance for improving working conditions, totalling over €114,000.
As one of Herbos Nature’s subcontractors, Nebojša received valuable EU-funded equipment to make the family’s work a little easier and more efficient. “As I now have my own tiller cultivator donated by EU4AGRI, my costs are lower,” explains Nebojša.
The project also enabled the company to benefit from new equipment and other support. “The EU4AGRI support has helped us expand our market. In addition to Ustikolina and Bratunac, we now have a new branch in Travnik. We hired more employees and started working with additional subcontractors,” says Maida. Through the EU4AGRI equipment the company has also modernised production processes.
As with 23-year-old Maida, the company’s employees are mostly young trained professionals, tasked to make sure that all work processes meet the highest quality standards. Over 95% of production is destined for export to countries such as France, Germany, Poland, Serbia, Slovenia, Switzerland, and Turkey. “The new equipment has improved production conditions and helped us meet the requirements of our customers,” says Maida. “We are happy to have participated in the EU4AGRI project and thus contributed to the sustainability of the agricultural and food sector in BiH.”
About the project
The EU4AGRI project is a four-year initiative (2020-2024) aimed at modernising the agri-food sector, creating new jobs, as well as retaining existing ones, and supporting recovery from the COVID-19 crisis in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The total value of the project, funded by the European Union, is over €20 million, and it is jointly implemented and co-financed by the United Nations Development Programme in BiH and the Czech Development Agency.
Some of the content in this story has been re-used with permission from an article published by EU4AGRI
Photo credits: EU4 AGRI
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