The Sweden/USAID FARMA II project supported Ecomedico Ltd. in obtaining HACCP and ISO standards.
From 2015 to 2019, the exports of medicinal herbs, forest fruits, mushrooms, and honey from Bosnia and Herzegovina, grew from 29 to 41 BAM million. Furthermore, in this sector, BiH exports two and half times more than it imports!
Adnan Čučuković, of Ecomedico from Sarajevo, wants to contribute to this very positive trend. The business, which he and his wife run together, produces honey-based preparations, natural cosmetics, and healthy food and food supplements. Over the last six months, the Sweden/USAID FARMA II project helped them implement HACCP and ISO 22000, international food safety standards, and the ISO 22176 – GMP standard, which refers to the good manufacturing practices.
International standards for the international markets
“We now sell solely at the BiH market,” says Adnan. “In 2019, we processed some six tons of honey, and our range of products includes as many as 50 preparations and food supplements, and seven different natural cosmetics products.”
Ecomedico's products are available in over 110 shops and pharmacies across the country. They also have their shop in Sarajevo and take online orders, but they want to expand their business.
“We already received inquiries about our products from Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro, and North Macedonia, and also from Saudi Arabia and Qatar. With the support of the Sweden/USAID FARMA II project, last October we exhibited at the Belgrade Food Show, where we developed contacts with potential buyers from Canada,” explains Adnan, and adds: “With the HACCP and the new ISO standards, it will now be easier for us to gain access to those market.”
Growing the production and exporting
According to Adnan, Ecomedico currently has contracts with nine beekeepers in BiH from whom they buy honey. The implementation of the procedures required under the three standards will help further improve the quality of their product and provide further safety assurances.
“We have been active in the BiH market for four years now. Producing quality, safe, and effective products was imperative for us and will continue to be," says Adnan. "We already followed the procedures proscribed by the HACCP and the GMP. This gave a good starting point and the certification process ran smoothly.”
Adnan notes that the implementation of HACCP and ISO standards will make it easier for them to get all the certificates from the Veterinary Office, which is another requirement for the exports.
"Our next steps are to start reaching out to more beekeepers and increase the quantities of honey we buy and the products we produce. With more honey, we should also be able to diversify our products. All of this should make us more competitive in international markets. We are very much looking forward to start exporting," says Adnan.
“We hope that the Sweden/USAID FARMA II project will be able to support us also in that regard,” concludes Adnan.