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Minimizing adverse environmental impacts from fertilizer and pesticide use in agriculture

The assignment was carried out as part of ORGUT’s subcontract with Chemonics International within the USAID/Sida project –FARMA in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The purpose of USAID/Sida FARMA is to provide technical assistance in agricultural sub-sectors through demand driven assistance aimed at improved competitiveness of agricultural products. USAID/Sida FARMA is a development project jointly funded by USAID and Sida and implemented in Bosnia and Herzegovina. USAID/Sida FARMA is to expand environmentally sustainable production, processing, and sales of value-added agricultural products. The expected result of FARMA is contribution to poverty reduction. USAID/Sida FARMA is implemented by Chemonics International with ORGUT as a subcontractor. ORGUT provides consulting services aiming at increasing agricultural competitiveness, meeting EU accession standards, reducing poverty by expanding environmentally sustainable production, and increasing sales, exports, and employment. USAID/Sida FARMA’s approach focuses on four integrated components: Building sustainable market linkages for producers; Increasing access to finance; Building the capacity of producer organisations’ and other counterparts; and Enhancing the policy environment to benefit competitiveness of agricultural goods. In order to attain project goals, USAID/ Sida FARMA uses various tools, including a Development Fund and Partners Fund for targeted subcontracts to local partners.

Intensification of agricultural production may lead to adverse environmental impacts. Adverse environmental impacts in agriculture are primarily associated with the use of pesticides and artificial fertilizers and manure. Pesticides may eliminate beneficial insects, pollute surface and groundwater, accumulate in plant and animal tissue and affect human health. Additionally, surface and groundwater pollution can result from inappropriate storage and application of manure or artificial fertilizers. While the use of fertilizers in BiH is relatively low, the timing and type of fertilizers is often inappropriate resulting in leaching and runoff. Excessive nutrients may cause eutrophication and plant toxicity. Such potential adverse environmental impacts have also been identified in FARMA’s Programmatic Environmental Assessment (PEA) as cumulative, indirect and sector specific issues. In accordance with the PEA, FARMA has been promoting Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) to minimize potential adverse impacts. Some notable activities have included a substantive effort to promote the implementation of the EU Nitrates Directive and Good Farming Practices in the dairy industry, GlobalGAP standard in the fruit and vegetable sector, traceability technologies, as well as IPM and safe pesticide use practices including a special effort to minimize adverse impacts of pesticide use on bees.

Over the coming period, FARMA intends to further strengthen the capacity of local institutions and farmers to reach EU environmental standards in agriculture in relation to pesticide and fertilizer use. This will help BiH develop appropriate policies and strategies that incorporate and facilitate adoption of such standards while farmer groups will learn from best EU practices and practical implementation. The goal is to ensure that farmers can optimize their yields, meet traceability requirements, while providing food and animal feed that is safe to consume and with minimal adverse impact on the environment. All such interventions will be in compliance with USAID environmental requirements, notably the IEE, FARMA PEA and PERSUAP.

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