The Council of Ministers of BiH convened on January 4 and adopted the Rural Development Strategy 2018-2021, which will allow Bosnia and Herzegovina to receive significant amount of money from the European Union.
The Strategy - the adoption of which was delayed because the Council of Ministers (CoM) had to wait for an approval from the Government of the RS - means that Bosnia and Herzegovina will receive EUR 30 million worth of grant that is going to be used for rural development.
Chairman of the BiH CoM Denis Zvizdic said that the Strategy would enable farmers in the country to receive significant funds in the upcoming years, and underlined that he expected the Strategy to be adopted in the Parliament of BiH as well.
Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations of BiH Mirko Sarovic explained that the Strategy had been adopted “unanimously, without any objections”. “We still have a long road ahead of us to get Bosnia and Herzegovina and its agricultural sector to the standards of the rural policy of the EU, which is the goal of this Strategy, but we have made the first step”, Sarovic said, adding that adoption of the Strategy “indicates better days for the agriculture and the rural sector in BiH”.
In an interview for TV1 on Thursday evening, Sarovic said that the BiH CoM had already informed the European Commission about the adoption of the Rural Development Strategy, and expressed hope that the Parliament of BiH will confirm the Strategy “within 10 days or so”.
President of the Association of Farmers and Dairy Producers of the RS Vladimir Usorac said that the EU was going to give instructions about the investments.
According to Usorac, the most important thing is that the funds are going to be invested directly into the agricultural sector. “Adoption of this strategy means a lot to us. For example, the RS budget for agriculture is EUR 30 million, and with these EUR 30 million from the EU, budget for the agriculture will be two times bigger - and that is just the beginning of the investments”, said Usorac.
He also noted that aside from the drought and flood-related damages in the past, the biggest damages were caused by the authorities. According to Usorac, everyone keeps saying that the agricultural sector falls under entities’ jurisdiction - except when farmers need money. “Damages caused by the state cannot be compensated by three European Unions”, he concluded.
President of the FBiH Farmers’ Association Nedzad Bico said that those in power had come to their senses and adopted the strategy that is going to help the agricultural sector. “I am so happy, I do not know what to say. At this point, everyone needs the money because the overall agricultural production has been on its knees for quite some time, we do not have sufficient support from the state, so this money is more than welcome”, said Bico.