A training course on the collection and sales of medical and aromatic plants helps improve the lives of 30 socially disadvantaged people.

SARAJEVO, June 18, 2020 – The Sweden/USAID FARMA II project, in cooperation with the Center for Social Welfare in Breza, Central Bosnia, organized today a training course on the collection of medicinal and aromatic plans (MAP), and their subsequent sales, for 30 socially disadvantaged persons.

The project organized the training at the request of the Center for Social Welfare, which is the first such institution to contact the project asking for such assistance. The request followed the project publishing the Manual for the Collection of Medicinal Herbs and Mushrooms in BiH, which promotes work with MAPs as an additional source of income.

“In 2019, the Center for Social Welfare in Breza, provided its services to some 1,500 socially disadvantaged people,” said Osman Salkić, the Director of the center.

“When the Manual for the Collection of Medicinal Herbs and Mushrooms was first published, a month ago, I read it all at once.  I immediately saw an opportunity to help the users of our services, who include people with low or no income, but who are still able to work."

The Sweden/USAID FARMA II project's manual provides the guidance and description of 86 herbs and ten mushrooms. It also includes information about four poisonous herbs and five poisonous mushrooms that are often mistaken for consumable ones.

“I found it interesting that the manual presents a wide variety of herbs that have a market, but with which many people are not familiar. We have all those natural resources around us, which we can use to both keep our selves healthy and to supplement our incomes. What we missed was the education, and now, thanks to the Sweden/USAID FARMA II project, we are getting that.

"The timing for the training is right, as now is the picking season for many herbs and mushrooms. I hope that all the training participants will take advantage of the knowledge gained today to increase their incomes. There are enough companies ready to buy herbs and mushrooms in our region. Last year, for example, many people made nice earnings from the collection of ceps,” added Salkić.

Since 2016, Sweden/USAID FARMA II project has assisted over 50 companies that process medicinal and aromatic herbs, forest fruit and mushrooms, by either helping them buy necessary equipment or through education of their staff and export promotion of their products. Also, the project has worked with more than 500 individual farmers and collectors to help them increased their yields and incomes.