Agricultural Cooperative run by Women: There are no Layoffs or Salary Reductions



The agricultural cooperative “Agrojapra” in Donji Agici near Novi Grad (Bosanski Novi), besides being known for 20 years of successful work, is also specific for the fact that women make the half of the 29 employees, and they make the majority of the managerial positions.

“The cooperative has its bodies elected by the Assembly of Cooperatives, so seven years ago, this is the second term where I was elected for the director, which was a bit atypical for me as a woman to be elected for this position here in the Podrgmec region in the ”angry” Krajina, but  besides me, there is a woman technologist who runs production, a woman who runs an oil mill, women who run a bakery, a restaurant, a shop. That is why we can proudly say that women make the majority of the managerial positions, but I am person who does not classify people by gender, but based on what they do. So we can say that we women have managed to be equal with our men, but they are also an integral part of us”, said Nada Nesković-Railic, graduated agricultural engineer and director of the agricultural cooperative ‘Agrojapra”, Fokus reports.

The cooperative has 254 members who cooperate with to a greater or lesser extent. The production of bread and pastries based on wholemeal flour that are being grinded at their mill where they produce flour from wheat, rye, buckwheat, home-grown corn and pumpkin make the primary activities of the cooperative.

Apart from that, they have their dryer where they dry plums and apple chips, as well as a refrigerator for that purpose. The cooperative also has an oil mill for cold oil press extraction, from which two products come out – cold-pressed pumpkin oil and sunflower cold pressed oil. They are proud because all raw materials are domestic, both from this area and the rest of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), and the cooperative buys raw materials, processes them and places the finished product on the market within the “Izvor” brand.

Also, in Donji Agici, “Agrojapra” is engaged in service activities through a restaurant-shop of goods, an agricultural pharmacy, while they have opened a gas station for the needs of the local population.

They have been building a tourist base in the Japra valley for years, and they began with one-day visits of pupils and students. They also formed a cooperative home consisting of a small ethno-museum setting, an education classroom, and a library with about 7.000 titles. In “Agrojapra”, they say that they are trying to complete the productive and social life of the population so that local people can have access to everything that people in the city have.

“We are certainly fighting from year to year to improve the status of women in this area through group projects we have worked on as a cooperative, because we organized workshops on weaving, embroidery, knitting, workshops and trainings on how to organize the possibility of providing rural tourism services, as well as individual projects for particular cooperants. We worked with the women from cooperative on improving their agricultural production so they could achieve their income as housewives, and I am primarily talking about the segment of milk production”, said Nada Neskovic-Railic.

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