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Country Briefs

  Bosnia and Herzegovina

Reference Date: 20-November-2015


  1. Cereal production impacted by drought conditions in summer

  2. Country’s cereal imports remain high

Cereal production impacted by drought in summer

The 2015 agricultural season in Bosnia and Herzegovina was impacted by lack of timely precipitation and prolonged heat spell. A state of emergency was declared in some of the regions. Early estimates of the 2015 production point to a below‑average cereal harvest, although the final figures are not yet available.

Only 20 percent (approximately 1 million hectares) of Bosnia and Herzegovina is suitable for intensive farming. Crop production dominates agricultural production, livestock production represents less than one-third of the total output. On average the country produces about 1 million tonnes of cereals, three-quarters of which is maize and about one-fifth is wheat. The economically most important sub-sector is vegetables. The structure of the agriculture sector is characterized by small-sized family farms which to a large extent produce for home consumption. Over 50 percent of agriculture holdings are estimated to be less than 2 hectares.

The Ministry of Agriculture estimates the drought related damages at USD 176 million. Local reports indicate that majority of the farmers do not have a crop insurance, and that the current agricultural support is not well equipped to deal with emergencies. The current subsidy scheme contributes 50 percent of the insurance premium paid by farmers to insure their crops. The 2015 drought conditions followed major floods in May 2014.

To deal with emergencies, the 2015-2019 Agriculture Strategy calls for investments in irrigation systems, anti-hail and anti-frost nets. However, availability of the funds for longer term investments have yet to be confirmed. At the moment only a small share of the cereal area is irrigated. In addition, the Ministry is contemplating a need to establish an agricultural relief fund for emergency conditions.

Farmers are reported to face cash flow challenges, worsened by delays in distribution of regular subsidies. As a result of below-average harvest, feed prices have increased and animal husbandry farmers consider downsizing their herds.

Country’s cereal imports remain high

The country heavily depends on imports to satisfy the cereal consumption needs. Imports in the 2015/16 marketing year (July/June) are forecast at 710 000 tonnes, mostly wheat, compared to the five‑year average of 620 000 tonnes. The country normally imports about 60 percent of wheat for domestic consumption.

The food security situation is fragile

The inflation rate in the country remains moderate or non-existent, with the CPI declining by 0.9 percent in 2014 responding to declining international oil prices. Nevertheless, at over 40 percent, unemployment levels remain high, which coupled with high relative poverty and political tensions results in a fragile food security situation.