Federal Minister of Agriculture, Water Management and Forestry Kemal Hrnjić was a guest speaker at Agro.Rocks – a regional conference on new technologies in agriculture, held in Osijek (Republic of Croatia) on 15 September 2023 and organized by Agroklub information system and the Croatian Association of Agricultural Journalists, with the support of the City of Osijek, Osijek-Baranja County and the Croatian Agency for Agriculture and Food.
In the panel discussing milk and meat production, Minister Hrnjić stressed the importance of early adoption and application of innovative IT solutions to enhance production and improve overall business operations. He emphasized that Bosnia and Herzegovina has great potential for the development of agricultural production, including the introduction of new technologies to support agricultural producers.
“The EU candidate status has opened up the opportunities for Bosnia and Herzegovina, and one of them are the funds available for the candidate countries. However, Bosnia and Herzegovina is yet to align its legislation with that of the EU, including the development of the agriculture and rural development strategy of BiH, establishment of the IPARD structure in BiH and several key databases in the field of agriculture.
In the last 15 years, due to absence of the IPARD structure, BiH has lost the opportunity to use hundreds of millions of funds that could have been used for structural reforms of the agricultural sector in BiH, said Minister Hrnjić.
The dairy industry has seen significant positive development trends
Minister Hrnjić added that support payments are a great way to encourage agricultural producers to work in agriculture, but that they should not be an end in themselves.
“Even though today Bosnia and Herzegovina has its largest budget for agriculture so far, I believe that it is insufficient to adequately prepare us for the future, which inevitably includes full harmonization of the agricultural policy with the EU Common Agricultural Policy,” said Hrnjić.
Speaking about milk production, Minister Hrnjić pointed out that milk production and processing is considered a strategic branch of agriculture and food industry in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and that the dairy industry has witnessed significant positive development that has been faster than the development of primary milk production.
“In the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the dominant production is cow milk with around 100,000 agricultural farms, out of which about 33,000 households produce milk for commercial purposes. The purchase price of milk has increased, but so have the production costs. Dairy farmers in the Federation of BiH receive 0.42KM/l and 0.38KM/l for legal and natural persons respectively. Also available to them is co-funding within the rural development measures of up to 50% of the investment, as well as additional funds from cantonal ministries and local communities,” said Minister Hrnjić.
The Agro.Rocks conference was attended by eminent names in the field of agriculture, from food producers, representatives of the legislative, public and civil sectors to experts in the field of new technologies, who gathered to discuss the ways to improve rural and agricultural sector and contribute to finding solutions to enhance the future of agriculture, especially in the light of increasing energy prices in the world.