BRCKO, Bosnia Aug 21 (Reuters) – Plum season is upon us, and in the orchards of northern Bosnia fruit growers are busy with the harvest, most of which is ready to be processed at native factories and shipped to shoppers in the European Union and Russia.
Despite being in urgent need of reform, Bosnia’s agricultural sector has weathered the realm pandemic greater than others, and used to be among the few industries to file allege in exports in the first half of the yr – albeit a meagre 2.5%.
“All over the coronavirus pandemic, the output has no longer diminished nor exports stopped,” mentioned Fatima Halilcevic, quality manager at Bosnaplod, Bosnia’s finest fruit processor which is basically basically based in town of Brcko. “We even won a brand new market in Russia.”
Bosnaplod’s clients encompass the likes of German food producers Dr Oetker, Zott and Muller.
Benjamin Vukotic, the director of the Zeraa Agriculture Funding Team which owns Bosnaplod, mentioned neighborhood’s revenues had been up 30% in the first half of 2020 from the the same period a yr in the past.
The holdings of the neighborhood, founded by a subsidiary of the Funding Company of Dubai (ICD), encompass a vineyard in the southern Herzegovina enviornment, which suffered heavy losses as a result of pandemic.
“We signed contracts with our subcontractors finally of the period of the strictest (COVID 19) lockdown without gleaming what’s going to happen,” mentioned Vukotic.
“We are in a position to also afford such threat because we own got an investor willing to befriend us, however agriculture in Bosnia lacks systemic authorities befriend.”
The sector employs 18% of Bosnia’s labour force and accounts for around 10% of its exports. However it absolutely is crying out for alternate, mentioned Vjekoslav Vukovic, the head of Bosnia’s Foreign Alternate Chamber.
“Now we must always modernise it, present subsidies, harmonise regulations with EU requirements and fight for foreign markets.”
Standing in his plum orchard on the foot of the Majevica mountain, fruit grower Nermin Kopcalic says all he cares about correct kind now may possibly possibly well well be the harvest.
“Coronavirus has affected us, however as a long way as our industry is anxious, the virus has to forestall to one aspect. Now we must always procedure terminate the fruit – we live from it. Not correct me, however this complete neighborhood,” he mentioned. ($1 = 0.8442 euros) (Reporting by Daria Sito-Sucic; Modifying by Raissa Kasolowsky)