Within the scope of the Local Integrated Development project, the European Union and UNDP, in co-operation with the municipalities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, supported genetically non-modified soybean producers by way of procuring soybean seeds and liaising them with the market and purchasers.
“Three years ago I decided to launch the production of soybeans, and in 2018 I had the first guaranteed purchase of products. This means that long before we even sowed the seeds, we knew the price of soybeans per kilogram. It is up to us to choose whether to sow or not,” says Gavro Bradašević, showing us the land where he sowed 1.5 hectares of soybeans.
Having been in agriculture business for ten years, Bradašević currently cultivates around 30 hectares of land in the vicinity of Modriča. In May he became one of the producers of genetically non-modified soybeans supported through the Local Integrated Development project (LID), funded by the European Union, and implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). New seeds helped him expand his crops, and he hopes to see new soybean producers and incentives.
Soybeans production in Modriča has increased in the past years, and the neighboring municipalities have seen a growing number of producers. In addition to Modriča, the Local Integrated Development project covers arable land in Odžak, Domaljevac, Gradiška and Orašje. On an area of over 1340 hectares of land, 238 farmers in the said municipalities planted seeds of genetically non-modified soybeans received through EU support.
The project invested around 230,000 convertible marks (BAM) in seed procurement and the farmers earned close to 3 million BAM. Therefore, the farmers who participated in the LID project had revenues of close to 2,200 BAM per hectare, which increased revenues of their households for around 10,000 BAM.
21-year-old Mirko Ević from Orašje planted over 1 tonne of seeds on 10 hectares of land. Although he and his father have been growing soybeans for a while now, this was the first time that they had a guaranteed purchase of soybeans. “It was a good year, we had 350-400 kg returns per dunum. We sold the most of it to Bimal Company at the price of 0.63 BAM per kilogram. That is a good price,“ says Ević.
Strengthening of domestic producers
Soybeans have become a highlight in European agriculture, fodder industry and food industry. In order to cover for the shortage of proteins in fodder, the European Union imports around 23 million tonnes of soybean groats and 12.5 million tonnes of soybean kernel primarily from South America. However, about two-thirds of import consists of genetically modified soybeans.
GMO supplies were first placed on the market in the 90s of the last century, and ever since then, consumers’ concern has grown in relation to such supplies, especially in Europe. Consumers’ concern in the European Union resulted in the obligation to mark both genetically modified food and fodder. The Law on GMO in Bosnia and Herzegovina also prescribes a similar practice.
That is why BiH market increasingly shifts the focus on non-GMO seeds, which are in a high demand.
“Speaking of soybean production, the total quantity of this oil plant that could be produced in Bosnia and Herzegovina represents “a drop in the ocean of the global production” and so Bosnia and Herzegovina should definitely look for opportunities and competitiveness on the market of non-GM soybeans. Establishing a strong raw material basis for companies that are in the business of food production in BiH, would also mean the strengthening of domestic producers. One of the criteria of product quality is also a non-GMO production which is competitive on the domestic market and global market as well. Therefore, a non-GMO production is the future of a strong BiH agriculture“, submits Nada Ević from the Ministry of Agriculture, Water Management and Forestry of Posavina Canton.