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Site visits and TA to dairy farmers, processors and veterinary services in preparation for the EU FVO visit pertaining to dairy products

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.

Bosnia and Herzegovina has still not met all the conditions for the export of dairy products to the European Union (EU). This is significantly impacting the dairy sector, which exports significant quantities of Ultra High Temperature processing (UHT) milk to Croatia. On a positive note, the signing of a cooperation protocol, in July 2013, between BiH state and entity-level institutions on veterinary inspection with respect to dairy products, addresses the EU concern on the lack of adequate chain of command in veterinary inspection.

The EU Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) is plans to conduct an audit in BiH between 20 January and 2 February 2013, to evaluate the control of residues and contaminants in dairy products, upon which it will make a decision whether to approve the export of pasteurized milk and dairy products made from pasteurized milk to the EU. The EU FVO audit will be conducted according to Article 46 of EU Regulation 882/2004, to assess the conformity/equivalence of laws and control systems in BiH to that which is applied in the EU.

In partnership with the State Veterinary Office and other competent institutions, USAID/Sida FARMA has already conducted trainings for the veterinary inspectors on the inspection of exporting facilities and sampling as per EU requirements, as well as training of dairy farmers in good hygiene practices and laboratory staff in the development, validation and accreditation of analytical methods. As part of the support from the Slovenian Government, a Slovenian expert was recently engaged to conduct site visits of selected farms, dairies and institutions to ascertain their readiness for the EU FVO inspection and specify activities to be completed prior to the EU FVO inspection. The BiH State Veterinary Office sought assistance from FARMA to engage the same expert to re-visit critical sites once again in final preparation for the EU FVO visit.

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