The organic cultivation of immortelle and the production of essential oils are a very lucrative business, opted for by a growing number of Herzegovinians.
The oil is mostly sold abroad, where it can fetch as much as 1.800 Euros per liter. The purchase price of a kilogram of crude immortelle ranges from 4.70 to 5.2o BAM.
The seeds used in the cultivation of this plant are most often taken from the wild. Tomislav Zelenika from Jare near Siroki Brijeg also went down this road when he started producing seedlings, growing crops and producing essential oils.
“We all start with some calculation, I am the first one – how much can be earned from a kilogram, how do the prices range – but that is wrong. There is a lot of work, the biggest job is the maintenance of crops, the prevention of weeds”, Zelenika revealed.
According to the data of the Federal Agro – Mediterranean Institute Mostar, there are 500 hectares of immortelle crops in Herzegovina, with a tendency of spreading.
The Herzegovinian land has always been fruitful for growing numerous plants that are springing up almost like out of stone. This is also the situation with immortelle, the so-called “new pure gold”.
“In the third year, the plant reaches the full fruit. The plant yields in the first two years as well, but much less. Therefore, in the third year the yield per plant should be 500 grams in one harvest, given that there are two harvests, in June and September”, Zelenika added.
In the beginning, as much as 1.000 kilograms of immortelle were needed for the production of a liter of essential oil.
“By purchasing new distillation apparatus, as written in our brochures, we have lowered that to some 600 – 800 kilograms, depending on the quality of immortelle. There is even information that new distillation apparatus appeared, with larger engagement of usage of under 500 kilograms per liter”, claims Marko Ivankovic, the director of the Federal Agro – Mediterranean Institute Mostar.
(Source: akos.ba/ photo farmabosnia)