With support of the Sweden/USAID FARMA II project AgroLink launched the Call for Support to Farmers. Call is open until February 25 and more information can be obtained via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Director, Ms. Farah Muftić, greeted us for the interview. AgroLink is a company that has over 10 years of experience working with farmers across Bosnia and Herzegovina. The founders are women entrepreneurs who by combining different but complementary professions (one is a master of agricultural sciences and the other is a master of economic sciences) and years of experience wanted to develop different mechanisms of support for the growing agro-sector and prepare it for the international market.
"AgroLink began its work with the establishment of a market-based information system in agriculture, through which wholesale prices of fresh fruits and vegetables were collected on a daily basis throughout BiH. We have also developed a Regional Fruit and Vegetable Price Monitor on a weekly basis, a support center, as well as field-to-table products traceability software,” said director Farah Muftić.
Agrolink acted as a center for promotion of export of BiH products to the EU markets and has provided services to numerous export-oriented entities to improve their quality control, health and safety of food, marketing and promotion. In this regard AgroLink identified a number of deficiencies and needs of local producers and exporters, thus focusing part of its services on education and setting up the AgroLink Academy in 2013, which was thus far attended by more than 800 participants.
"In cooperation with Sweden/USAID FARMA II Project, AgroLink has issued a Public Call for Producer Organizations to express their interest in one or more FARMA II co-financed support packages. Specifically, it is a grant that will be implemented by the AgroLink Ltd. and which will enable producer organizations to access one of the services offered by AgroLink, in accordance with the needs of the producer organizations,” said Muftić.
“The deadline for submission of applications is Feb 25, 202 and more information is available via e-mail email@example.com. The deadline for the implementation of all activities under this grant is the end of October 2020. The Call includes consulting services free of charge for the introduction and certification of standards and quality control systems such as GlobalGAP, GRASP, HACCP, IFS, Organic; training for producer organizations and their members and partners; promotion and marketing through website development; and presentation on social networks. Companies will need to cover the costs of certification and travel expenses to the training site,” added Muftić.
In addition to this, AgroLink continues to provide its services and continuously strengthen its own capacities. As a consulting and training company they are often in the field and they notice that there is sufficiently developed awareness of the importance of knowledge transfer, technology and innovation. They state that it is extremely important to have a clear market entry strategy. Efforts must be made, the best distribution channels provided and customer requirements met. Due to the globalization of the market and the free movement of goods, it is almost impossible to keep the existing and attract new customers if the product is not of high quality, safe and easily accessible.
“Information on products are easily available to consumers, and they have expectations regarding the quality of the products they pay for and if their expectations are not met they turn to the new products offered by the market. On the other hand, a producer that wants to conduct business with big buyers, export, compete in public competitions, and wants to be selected by the buyers, is aware that it has to respond to new trends in business,” Muftić concludes.
From month to month, Bosnia and Herzegovina's agriculture, regardless of the challenges on the local and international markets, brings a number of positive news. As export opportunities to the international market grow, producers are embracing new practices and standards, and many small producers are striving to create products of higher value. They are not alone on this road. Activities such as those implemented by Agrolink are of great support in their progress.