At the age of 30, Mate Omazić left his native Zagreb and moved to Livno, his ancestral home, with a plan to engage in breeding cattle he knew nothing about. Five years later and with the support of EU4Business project, funded by the European Union and the Federal Republic of Germany, Mate owns the most modern cattle farm in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
“In the year one, I bought 24 head of cattle, and now we have about 150. We were the first in Bosnia and Herzegovina to import the Salers cattle breed, originating from French mountainous areas resembling ours. Over a dozen other breeding herds have been formed from our herd over the last five years,” says Mate.
Until the establishment of the Podhum farm in Livno, professional background of this entrepreneur was in studies at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing, and the Faculty of Economics, University of Zagreb.
It was a spur of the moment decision to change profession, but his regrets are none at all, says Mate. He applied the analytical skills acquired through formal education in managing more than a thousand square meters of his farm.
As a part of EU4Business project, the Podhum farm is a beneficiary of a grant in the amount of over BAM 130,000, while the total value of the investment was around BAM 218,000. The funds are being used to improve cattle breeding processes on the farm, thus facilitating more efficient work, better use of natural resources, but also greater market competitiveness.
“The land was very much neglected and overgrown, since no one in the area was in animal husbandry for the last 30 years. We care very much about cattle and their well-being, as well as the environment and sustainable development. This project helped us greatly in that regard”, says Mate.
Thanks to EU4Business, the farm has invested in a special system of monitoring cattle through GPS signal collars which of great relevance as cattle spend winters and summers outdoors.
“We don’t have a barn, but we take great care of our cattle. These collars will now help us know the exact location of cattle, their route of movement, and temperature of each one individually. Our cattle move across a large area and it is possible something happens to them without us knowing. Only that now we will know because the data is collected and made available to us via a special network on a mobile application,” explains Mate.
A water supply system with seven thermal drinkers has also been set up, allowing year-round supply of clean water to pastures, unlike before. Electric fences have been installed to serve also as fire protection, modern systems for energy production and storage. The project also delivered a cattle management system, one of its kind in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
“Coral Park is a prerequisite for breeding. Took us over a year to have it developed by relying on designs from the University of Colorado and our five years of knowledge in this line of business. The breeding and selection process and the progress of genetics are extremely important to us, and we can now have it implemented thanks to this system,” explains Mate.
The system will facilitate myriad processes on the farm, such as cattle separation, selection and weighing, loading and unloading, veterinary inspections, vaccination and the like.
Thanks to the EU4Business project, 30-year-old Antun also found his place on the farm. He switched his job in construction for a one on the farm, as his now a great source of satisfaction, by his own account.
“Farm work is special, different. I’m outdoors, working with animals and fully enjoying it. It means a world to me that I got the opportunity to work on the most modern farm in our country. It means a lot for our community and I hope we will serve as an example to others,” says Antun.
The Podhum farm follows strict rules of organic cattle breeding, as evidenced by the organic farming certificate according to the European Union standards and Halal certificate. Improvements achieved through EU4Business project will contribute to greater care for cattle, which is their main priority.
“We believe that the investment can help us increase the number of heads to about 250 and have this number managed sustainably, but also improve their quality from one generation to another. We need to expand technologically, be more efficient and, through better management of resources and assets, create a competitive product in the market. This project is surely a major step forward,” concludes Mate.
EU4Business is European Union’s project that aims to strengthen Bosnia and Herzegovina’s capacity for economic growth and employment by fostering competitiveness and innovation in selected sectors. It is valued at EUR 16.1 million; EUR 15 million is funded by the European Union and EUR 1.1 million by the Federal Republic of Germany.
The project is jointly implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the International Labour Organization (ILO), from April 2018 to March 2022. EU4Business is part of the Local Development Strategies – Local Self-Government and Economic Development Programme in Bosnia and Herzegovina, implemented by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).