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Bosnia and Herzegovina

The land

According to Koeppen’s classification, inland the climate is of cold type; close to the Adriatic coast it is temperate type (with Mediterranean influence).

There are 0.7 million ha of arable lands and permanent crops; permanent pastures cover 1.2 million ha; with forests on 2.0 million ha. Main crops are maize, wheat, forage and fodder crops, barley, potatoes, vegetables and fruits.

Other indicators

The average daily availability of calories per caput in 1995-97 was 2 347, with a high variability from year to year. In November 1999, Bosnia and Herzegovina was one of the 34 countries with a shortage in food supplies requiring exceptional and /or emergency assistance.

The labour force participation ratio of women to men was 0.6 in 1998.

Agricultural sector

The 1995 Dayton Peace Accord, following three and a half years of war, laid the foundation for peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The country is under reconstruction and receives assistance and aid from the international community. In 1999, the country’s major goal was to implement privatization and make progress in fiscal reform and management.

National agricultural policy

In 1999, the Ministry of Agriculture, Water Management and Forestry (MSWMF) requested technical assistance from FAO in the formulation of a medium-term agricultural sector strategy. One of the Working Groups dealt with vegetable and fruit production. The strategy will promote the adoption of improved management systems as a basis for increasing efficiency and profitability of production. The primary vehicles will be the establishment of a gender-sensitive extension system and the development of producer associations. Specific measures include inter alia programmes to expand the improved varieties of certified seed and seedlings to which farmers have access, extension packages to encourage farmers to diversify into more profitable crops, and modernization of fruit production and orchard management.

The four-year reconstruction programme, that ended in 1999, had US$ 300 million for the agricultural sector, of which US$ 7 million was for seed multiplication development. The reconstruction of the agricultural sector would require an additional US$ 1 000 million, which is not available. All state-owned assets of public sector agro-processors, agricultural trading enterprises and agricultural cooperatives will be included in the normal privatization process. The agricultural land of state farms will remain under government ownership. Producer price policy now consists of a guaranteed floor price for wheat and official minimum prices for 12 other commodities, with a few producer subsidies.

Land tenure

A dual farming system characterized pre-war production. Around 300 large, modern state farms cultivated 6% of agricultural land and accounted for 10% of production. A further 570 000 small-scale private farms accounted for the rest of the land use and production. Most state farms are now dysfunctional due to the breakdown of government support mechanisms, damage during the war, and reluctance of donors to provide support until privatization (through at least medium-term leases) is effected.

Among the small private farms there are commercial farmers who cultivate slightly more than 5 ha; they represent 50% of the farm land. Part-time farmers (2 to 5 ha) occupy 35% of farm land. Rural residents (less than 2 ha) occupy 15% of farm land but represent 54% of rural households. Programmes for land consolidation have proved inadequate so far.

Rural infrastructure

The cost of post-war recovery in the agricultural sector is extremely high; it includes support for the return and re-integration of rural people (as of April 2000, there were an estimated 800 000 displaced people, including refugees who had to return to their homes).

Agricultural inputs

The large number of small, fragmented farms limits the possibility of applying modern management systems. In pre-war times, weak demand was already limiting the supply and use of agricultural inputs. After the war, input demand has fallen further. The national distributors are still operating, but with a reduced turnover and facing competition from newly established private traders. With appropriate support from donors, the Federation Investment Bank (established in 1998) could become a vital source of medium- and long-term credit for the agricultural sector.

Seed sector

No significant plant-breeding or seed multiplication capacity existed in the country before the war. The little that existed, ceased with the war. FAO responded to the situation by providing seed early in the recovery process and subsequently by establishing a seed testing laboratory and support in introducing new laws on seed quality and PBR. All seed certification tests are carried out according to ISTA rules. The rest is to be established and developed in order to ensure that farmers have access to high quality certified seed.

Germplasm collections

Exclusively Prunus, at the Institute of Fruit Growing and Viticulture (2 species, 16 accessions) and at the UPI Agricultural Research and Development Institute (2 species, 15 accessions).

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