Export of Bosnia and Herzegovina's honey has been increasing year by year, and the more efficient work of competent inspections has brought positive results in better quality control of honey in the local market. However, the sector is still lagging behind innovations comparing to the region, but positive examples of young entrepreneurs show that BiH can make a step forward in the production and processing of honey and other bee products. The story takes us to Adnan and Mirela Čučuković, who prove this thesis through their craft “Ecomedico”.
"We have started from the idea of launching a whole package of honey-based healthy foods, and we have paid special attention to research and education. Today “EcoMedico” follows modern standards and practices in product research and development," says Mirela.
These days “EcoMedico” is a participant in the Sarajevo Holiday Market, and they do not miss the opportunities to present their products at many health food fairs.
"We have to work on presentation and promotion every day because small producers can't afford big marketing campaigns and every customer matters. Once people try the immunity syrup or the one for the appetite, they usually come back, but it is hard to make the initial contact," adds Adnan.
"Our present work and the results we have achieved are very well recognized lately, especially by Sweden/USAID FARMA II project. It is a tail-wind for us, so that in the upcoming period, apart from expanding the product range, we can plan for expansion of our sales network in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and beyond. Extensive preparations for this endeavor are underway," explains Adnan.
Challenges for entrepreneurs in the production and processing of honey are big, but the Čučuković say it is worth to persevere.
"The continuous education is the key to progress in our work. We are constantly setting for ourselves new goals and challenges that make us better at what we do on daily basis. We try to apply here some good practices and ideas from abroad. We do hope that better times will come for BiH honey, when it will get its deserved place in the world market as well," concludes Mirela.
Aimed at promotion of women in BiH agriculture, Sweden/USAID FARMA II started the campaign "They Go Forward". Within this campaign, we will publish positive stories about women in agri-food production and processing. In many cases, women who are informally, but practically highly engaged in domestic agricultural activities are considered unemployed housewives, and are therefore without incomes. Sweden/USAID FARMA II through its activities promotes and encourages women to legally register their production and become part of the official economy. Luckily, today there are successful women-owned or women-led companies that produce innovative and quality products that are sold both locally and at international markets. To assist women farmers in their endeavors, and to encourage other women who are in a similar position, FARMA II will prepare success stories that will be published and distributed to a wide audience.