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US Market Research in the export potential for Medical and Aromatic plants

The purpose of the Fostering Agricultural Markets Activity (FARMA) program is to provide technical, demand-driven assistance in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) to agricultural subsectors aimed at improved competitiveness of BiH agricultural products on local and global markets. FARMA's objective is to expand environmentally sustainable production, processing and sales of value-added agricultural products. The expected result of FARMA is economic growth and contribution to poverty reduction.

The medicinal and aromatic plants (MAP) subsector is an important part of the BiH agricultural economy. The MAP industry consists of a few large firms, along with numerous small, relatively new companies. There are about fifty companies operating in this sector in BiH. The vast majority are involved in the collection and trade of wild-collected MAP raw material. Many of these companies also trade wild berries, wild mushrooms and other non-wood forest products. Finally, a significant group of companies are involved in producing value-added products such as essential oils, herbal teas, various pharmaceuticals, and cosmetic products.

Individual sporadic trials for export to Asian and Middle Eastern countries and the US had been conducted by a few BiH MAP and honey companies, but without significant, lasting results. The companies trying to export to the US have experienced difficulties regarding slow and time consuming communication due to poorly understood distribution channels, administrative and custom procedures. Many opportunities on these markets have been missed for BiH producers, as well as the potential for closer collaboration with a few progressive, high-end international buyers.

The US Market research identified the problems and assisted the producers to overcome them and developing more market opportunities in the US. The Beneficiaries of this assignment were the B&H MAP companies (indirectly collectors, farmers, cooperants) with potential to export raw, semifinal and especially final MAP products and the B&H agricultural economy that was expected to be improved via increased export opportunities.

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