Fojnica Milk dairy is on its forward and upward path and has almost doubled its production over the last two years. The Sweden/USAID FARMA II project supported them along the way.
“We sell all of the cheese and other dairy products we produce,” says Nermin Omanović, 43, the owner and director of the Fojnica Milk dairy.
Nermin grew up with dairy production. His parents ran a family farm for almost 40 years just outside Fojnica in Central Bosnia and Herzegovina. In 2015, he decided to take the family tradition several steps forward and established the company that continues producing traditional cheeses using traditional recipes, but now in a fully controlled, hygienic environment, under the supervision of veterinarians, and with all the necessary product quality and uniformity checks.
“We produce 20 high-quality varieties of cheese and other dairy products that we sell through supermarkets, specialized stores, and also online. We use express delivery for products with short expiry dates, such as fresh milk” he explains.
Growing and implementing standards
Fojnica Milk’s initial milk processing capacity was set at 600 liters of milk a day, while the production reached 10 tons of cheeses, 5.5 tons of traditional cream cheese “kajmak”, and sour cream annually.
"We reached and surpassed those levels of production in 2018 and we felt the need to grow in line with the demand for our products,” says Nermin.
In 2019 they embarked on expanding their production capacities that would also provide for the implementation of the HACCP system and food safety standards in their production. The Fojnica Milk dairy now has separate facilities for each stage of production starting with the offloading of milk from tanker trucks to cheese aging and packaging.
“As we started expanding the production facilities, we needed support with purchasing additional equipment for the production of cheese and cream cheese. We used the grant we received from the Sweden/USAID FARMA II project to purchase an additional milk holding tank, cheese press, vacuum packaging machine, and several other key pieces of equipment that completed our new production line,” elaborates Nermin.
Today, they process 1,000 liters of milk a day and their capacity is double that.
Working locally, planning globally
Fojnica Milk is proud of the wide variety of products and their high quality. As their overall production grew from 15.5 tons in 2018 to 25 tons in 2020, they also increased the number of farmers they work with from 11 to 22, from whom they buy 300,000 liters of milk a year.
"The pandemic was not easy to handle, but we managed. Some of our customers, mainly from the HoReCa sector, reduced their orders, but we found new buyers and we managed to stick to our planned levels of production. We kept working with all our contracted farmers and two months ago we signed a contract with a new milk producer and hired one new employee," says Nermin.
To cope with the pandemic they also turned to online sales and delivery using their vehicles. Nermin hopes that the online market will become some ten percent of their sales while export is yet another goal to be achieved.
“We intentionally named the company Fojnica Milk. The English word milk in the company name will make it easier for us to start exporting once we outgrow the BiH market. We hope for that to happen soon, but we will not compromise the quality of our products with overproduction. We will continue building our market with our product quality. That is the best commercial one producer can have,” concludes Nermin.