Diversification of Production and Processing of Plants Ensures Sustainability of Business

Deputy Assistant Administrator, Ms Gretchen Birkle and USAID BiH Director Peter Duffy, visited women-led cooperative Loznica, Gnjilista, to see how USAID/Sweden FARMA II investment is helping it to expand the cultivation and processing of immortelle and other plants.

Zadruga Loznica, a cooperative in Gnjilista, Capljina Municipality, cultivates and distils immortelle and other herbs and produces essential oils and thanks to recent received backing from USAID/Sweden FARMA II project, it is planning to significantly expand the cultivation and production of a very sought-after immortelle, as well as other medicinal and aromatic herbs.

“This grant has enabled us to have products adoptable to the market, so we can follow the needs of the market, especially the sensitive medicinal herbs market. The purchased distillery enables diversification of our production,” stated Ivana Matic, Director of Agricultural Cooperative Loznica.

Demand for herbs and essential oils is on the constant rise, but only high-quality product can find their place on the market, a process which includes high quality seedling material, proper cultivation and distillation. Expansion of the facilities means that cooperative Loznica has capacity to work and expand the production of seedlings and distillation of essential oils, which will ensure closed production process – from seeds to essential oil.  

Cooperative, which employs local women, is relying on sustainable production, and good cooperation, which make the basis for this cooperative’s existence. This and similar cooperatives are the important source of income for thousands of households involved in collection, cultivation and processing of medicinal and aromatic plants, with women often playing the major role. At the moment, this particular sector is one of the few agricultural sectors in BiH where export exceeds import.