Maid Smajic: You have to wait 15 months for Tesanj golden cheese, but our customers know that it is

USAID/Sweden FARMA II project support enabled the expansion of the company's "Zlatna kap"

Maid Smajić and his sister Mediha Jašarević founded the "Zlatna kap" company in Jelah in 2008. The beginnings were difficult, but their story shows that it is possible to make a brand recognizable across the country in less than ten years. "We had problems with the purchase and placement of milk, and that's why we turned to the cheese production. We have found the methodology, then we made an markets assessment needs and recognized the right opportunities, "says Smajic.

"With the support of USAID/Sweden FARMA II, we secured the purchase of milling machines, exchanged good practices and participated in the cheese schools. The training enabled us to learn the recipes and production of different types of cheese, while at the same time, maintain production process is in line with EU standards. Today, we work with 240 subcontractors. Our purchase that reaches two million liters," Smajic explained.

"We have developed spicy cheeses with a special recipe. Tesanj cheese with nettle is recognized throughout the region. Tesanj golden cheese takes 15 months to 'mature' and represents the product of an extra class that is sought in catering," Smajic notes.

Bosnia and Herzegovina faces major challenges when it comes to sales and production of cheese. Cheese makes over half of the import of dairy products into the country, and our producers manage to export 7 million marks of cheese value, which is the eleventh part of the value of imports. Imports are dominated by edamer, gauda, tilsit, fresh and processed cheese. At the same time, most of the exports in the dairy industry are producing low added value, such as milk and cream. "People recognize the quality of our cheese, and it is extremely important to ensure the awareness of domestic consumers about what we produce, but also to open a larger area for the sale of BiH cheese on the European Union markets. That challenge is ahead of us every day and we are here to make a step forward", Smajic concludes.