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Bosnia and Herzegovina: EU Support to Local Economic Development in Bosnia and Herzegovina – BIH949

Project Description

Birac region (municipalities Srebrenica, Bratunac, Vlasenica and Milici) is one of the areas of BiH which were most devastated by the war and failed transition process. These municipalities have suffered devastation of both physical and human capital. The final outcome is that this region is one of the least developed regions in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), with registered employment rates that significantly below the national average (registered employment is less than 10% of estimated population in the region). Youth unemployment rates are also estimated to be one of the highest in BiH (nearly 80%). The average national woman unemployment rates are above 50%, while the estimates of woman unemployment in the region are above 70%. The Region has registered significant number of returnees, but majority of returnees depend on social welfare or supporting family members, and cannot provide sufficient income to sustain their household.
Agriculture is estimated to be one of the key development potentials for the region. Agricultural land presents more than 50% of the total area, and the region has long tradition in production of fruit and cattle breeding. In addition, region has recorded increasing number of woman and returnees becoming entrepreneurs. Majority of agricultural producers are subsistence farmers, mainly employing family/household members and selling their production to agricultural cooperatives or directly to large food companies (such as “Vegafruit” Gradacac, “Klas” Sarajevo, “Fresh&Co” Srbija, “Zott” Gradacac, “Tuzlanska Mljekara” Tuzla, “Imer” Gradacac, “Milcos” Sarajevo etc). Key agricultural products in the area are fruits (region is known as the berry production center, but also produces significant quantities of apple, plum and perry) and milk. Average size of individual farm is smaller than 30 acre, and average number of cows per farmer is less than 5,5. Only 10% of agricultural producers can be accounted as “large” farmers (more than 100 acres of land, or more than 15 cows per farmer).  In total, number of food production SMEs in the target region is estimated to less than 10, and number of active agricultural cooperatives in the region is estimated to up to 25 (the registered number is close to 80, but number of these cooperatives are inactive).

Overall Objective

To stimulate inclusive economic growth and employment generation in Eastern Bosnia and Herzegovina – Birac Region.

Specific Objective

To improve competitiveness of agricultural SMEs and producers through establishment of sustainable support mechanisms and provision of technical support in 4 target municipalities.

Expected Results

ER1: Business environment for (mainly export-oriented) agricultural SMEs and producers improved in target municipalities
ER2: Agricultural SMEs and producers (mainly cooperative members) strengthened by CARE and Regional Advisory Service (RAS).
ER3: Women and social entrepreneurship promoted at regional level as a sustainable business model.

Main Activities

The project provides capacity building for 4 municipalities to develop effective support mechanisms to agricultural SMEs; facilitates networking of municipalities with development institutions; facilitates sales/export oriented clusters of SMEs; supports trade fairs; seconds young professionals to target municipalities, RAS and MAJA.
The Action strengthens the capacities of the Regional Advisory Service (RAS); provides training and grants to agricultural SMEs and producers in order to facilitate modernisation of production, and improvement of sales and marketing strategies; implement support infrastructure for SMEs.
The project develops and strengthens a Resource Centre for women and social entrepreneurship (NGO MAJA); provides trainings, technical assistance and grants to potential social entrepreneurs; promotes women and social entrepreneurship through public campaigns and cooperation with municipalities and other key stakeholders.


1 Four municipal governments that will be supported to improve business environment for agricultural SMEs and cooperatives
2. Two local technical assistance providers (Regional Advisory Service/RAS, Women NGO MAJA) whose capacities as sustainable support institutions to SMEs are strengthened
3. At least 80 local agricultural SMEs and cooperatives receiving training and support (including grants) to improve production and sales (see Result 2);
4. At least 120 potential women and social entrepreneurs (women, returnees) supported through training and at least 24 through grants schemes
5. Four young professionals being trained on the job
6. SME and business community in target municipalities and region
7. Resident population of the four target municipalities (170,000 people)


Eastern Bosnia and Herzegovina – Birac Region -Srebrenica, Bratunac, Vlasenica and Milici


15.01.2014 – 31.12.2016


Report 1