Center for Agriculture and Rural Development (CARD)

Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) is a predominately rural country. More than half of its population lives in rural areas, which cover 80% of the BiH’s territory. Agriculture and other forms of rural economy are BiH’s strategic focus and they are especially important in providing viable employment opportunities for rural people and improving their living conditions. Recognizing the vital role of this sector in overall society development, ACED has established its Center for Agriculture and Rural Development (CARD) with an aim to provide continuous support to rural population and thus contribute to sustainable development and revitalization of rural areas and overall improvement of rural inhabitants’ wellbeing. The ACED’s Center for Agriculture and Rural Development pursues the following priority areas: development of rural economy, strengthening the basic social functions and processes in villages, prevention of further depopulation of rural regions as well as environmental protection and preservation of natural resources and vast cultural heritage of rural Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The assistance ACED staff provided until the beginning of 2011 had the following outcome:

More than 2,500 grants were provided to farmers and rural families in the form of agricultural machinery, greenhouses, sets of seeds and fertilizers, livestock, fruit seedlings, milk collection equipment, etc.

More than 1,ooo rural organizations’ leaders and agricultural producers participated in training seminars on improved agricultural techniques to enhance competitiveness of their farm production

15 rural organizations (agricultural cooperatives and/or associations) were supported through capacity building activities, technical assistance and direct material support to strengthen their organizational and financial capacity, enabling them to provide better services to their members

10 revolving funds valued at more than 700,000 Convertible Marks, established with rural organizations ensuring their long-term sustainable operations and serving more than 600 farmer households

40 small rural businesses established in milk collection and sale, poultry and pig production, greenhouse vegetable production, use of agricultural machinery services, providing jobs for more than 150 rural families

3 entrepreneurship initiatives (2 wool processing facilities and medicinal herbs drying equipment), with rural women established, providing job opportunities for more than 10 women

With its motto “Synergy for Innovative Solutions” ACED declares its goal: faithful Cooperation and continuous Education will result in sustainable Development. These three principal areas of human life and society are also used in the creation of ACED’s name: Agency for Cooperation, Education and Development.

Examples of past project experiences

Investments in Agriculture

Goal: to provide new investments in agriculture through donation of variety of material assistance enabling increased competitiveness of agricultural production

Development of agriculture production and competitiveness largely depends on farmers’ capacity for new investments. Considering that Bosnian farmers lack necessary funds to invest in their farms, this project provides material grant assistance in the form of agricultural machinery, livestock, fruit seedlings, greenhouses, seeds and fertilizers and other raw materials and inputs to prospective farmers throughout all Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Rural Organizations: Capacity Building, Organizational Development and Financial Sustainability

Goal: to build capacity and strengthen organizational competences of the rural organizations and contribute to their sustainability through establishment of revolving funds

Rural organizations (agricultural cooperatives and farmers associations) require skills and knowledge to improve organizational performance and services they provide to their members. ACED continuously provides training, consultancy and technical assistance to rural organizations covering areas such as: strategy and business planning, management functions and project management, organizational and board development, team building and leadership, financial management, etc. Financial sustainability of targeted rural organizations was enhanced through establishment of the revolving funds within the organizations. Organizations use those funds to provide inputs, livestock and equipment to their members on credit basis.

Empowering Women in the Rural Economy

Goal: To facilitate, empower, and secure women’s roles in membership and governance of rural organizations and enhance their access to sustainable income-generating activities that increase non-farm employment, household income, and food security of rural populations in five municipalities in BiH.

Gender inequality in rural areas of BiH is most visible in minimal women representation in rural organizations and their limited role in development processes, including income generation activities. To challenge this inequality, the project provides rural women with opportunities to make their voices heard in making local strategies and decision-making processes, and work together to ensure their contribution to economic development.

Education and Advisory Services in Agriculture Production

Goal: to improve agricultural practice through provision of intensive education and advisory assistance to farmers

In order to increase the competitiveness of domestic agricultural production, farmers have to learn and apply new and advanced agricultural methods. ACED assists farmers in provision of practical trainings and specialized advice with its internal resources but also through engagement of external experts in a variety of agricultural sectors.

Development of Rural Economy

Goal: to increase employment opportunities and income generation of rural population through establishment of new and improvement of existing rural businesses

Rural businesses are usually related to agricultural production. However it is of utmost interest to diversify rural economy and enhance off-farm business opportunities for rural inhabitants. ACED staff has implemented vast scope of activities aimed to support entrepreneurship initiatives in and outside agriculture. As an example from 2010, ACED supported more than 30 large commercial agricultural producers and cooperatives in preparation of business plans for their business ideas. The total value of business plans that ACED prepared amounts to 4.5 mil. Convertible Marks.

Introduction of Relevant Standards in Agricultural Production

Goal: to increase competitiveness of agriculture through improved agricultural practices and quality of produces based on the implementation of relevant standards in the production

In order to be competitive in export markets, farmers in Bosnia and Herzegovina have to comply with relevant standards in agricultural production such as GlobalGAP. GlobalGAP is a widely recognized standard that defines Good Agricultural Practices necessary to comply with in order to approach EU market. ACED supported more than 30 producers to implement GlobalGAP standard in their production and be prepared for official certification