The first trucks of chicken meat from BiH are ready for the European Union

USAID/Sweden FARMA II supported activities of The Coordinating Body of Poultry Producers of Bosnia and Herzegovina

After the huge and longstanding struggle of domestic producers to obtain all the necessary licenses for the exports of chicken meat to the European Union market, the first trucks are now ready for export. The Coordinating Body of Poultry Producers of Bosnia and Herzegovina is one of the few examples of successful and permanent linking of producers in the agricultural sector in our country. 

Thanks to continuous work with the USAID/Sweden FARMA II project, as well as good cooperation with the representatives of the competent institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina, producers can also present significant results on the path to ensuring a better position of poultry on the domestic and European markets.

After Croatia's accession to the European Union, significant stagnation and closure of the neighboring country's market for chicken meat occurred. The first step to address this issue occurred in 2012 when BiH submits a request to the EU Food Safety Agency for approval of chicken meat exports to the EU. Edin Jabandžić, Chairman of the Coordinating Body of Poultry Producers of BiH, explains to us the long history of fighting for the EU market.

"The same year, the Commission sent its experts who, after the control, stated that the situation in the poultry industry in BiH is not at a satisfactory level and that export to the EU market cannot be approved. The main defects are the deficiencies in the food safety monitoring and control system and the lack of a unique address at the BiH level to which they can turn to in case of certain problems and regular monitoring of the situation, "explains Jabandžić.

Since 2012, BiH has been working intensively to fulfill the conditions, including the establishment of state-level veterinary inspection, monitoring of infectious diseases and zoonoses, education of farmers and fulfilling the requirements for slaughterhouses for inspection.

"The Inspectorate visited us again in the second half of 2017, where they note that big progress has been made in terms of the given obligations, but they sent additional control in May 2018, which once again controlled the facts. After the findings were marked as positive it was clear that BiH will receive a green light for the export of chicken meat to the EU market, which is going to happen in early 2019, and from now on the first trucks should go to EU countries, "Jabandzic adds.

In order to obtain a permit for export, companies that were not subject to the control of the EU commission, must primarily submit a request to the BiH Veterinary Office. Upon receipt of the request, the Veterinary Office is obliged to carry out the control of the company and issue instructions and instructions for remedying the defects, if any. After that, the Veterinary Office approves the establishment, and the EU Commission, in the first following visit, carries out control. Thus, in practice, EU 'approval' means entrusting to the competent institutions of the state subject to the approval of the obligation of control of domestic producers. After the approval for the export of chicken meat is given, the latest decisions from Brussels bring positive news for the products.

"Processed products in relation to fresh chicken meat have the potential for greater market expansion due to transport packaging, the mode of transport and the shelf life of the product. Scandinavian countries are a place where more sales of processed goods should occur. We increased production by 15 percent, and there are indirect results in the complete production chain.  Our company has already begun preparations for export, which is why the new facility for a permanent pan-product program is in it final stage. These products will mostly be placed on the EU market, "adds Jabandžić, who is also director of company Madi from Tešanj.

However, Jabandzic warns that with this good news for export, challenges arise in the domestic market.

"With the export license on the EU market, we are forced to liberalize the BiH market. It is certain that big European producers will want to appear and participate in our market. Unfortunately, I think that this will negatively affect our domestic producers, and it is something what we cannot influence, but the buyer has the power to give priority to our domestic products by choosing it on the shelf. We will work and impose ourselves with the quality of our products, " concluded Jabandžić.