FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, FAO upscales support to agricultural and rural development planning

FAO launched a new initiative in Bosnia and Herzegovina to help selected local authorities boost agriculture and economic development through local agriculture and rural development plans and corresponding action plans.

The project builds on experiences gathered in the Livno area (Canton 10), where similar activities took place a few years ago.

As the cornerstone of the process, multi-stakeholder working groups will be established to draft development and action plans with technical support from FAO. To ensure a participatory development process where the views and needs of everyone related is heard, including rural youth, women, and other vulnerable groups, working groups will organize workshops and consultations with local community members.

The first workshops that marked the official start of activities took place on 5 April in Jahorina and 6 April in Bihac, with high-profile participants from the relevant ministries, local authorities, potential members of the local working groups, representatives of the academia and civil society organizations, and others.

“There is important momentum coinciding with the launch of the FAO project, as Bosnia and Herzegovina is currently in the process of updating the country's Strategic Plan for Rural Development and defining future priorities,” noted Vlado Pijunovic, FAO national programme coordinator. “Through this project, FAO can contribute to harmonizing rural development programmes and support measures across the country. The pronounced local ownership of the rural development plans will contribute to the long-term sustainability of the project results.”

Local communities are vital for creating lasting positive change. Sound planning and strategizing at local level results in more targeted public sector interventions and expenditures related to rural development and agriculture that, in the long run, leads to improved sustainable management of natural resources and better economic well-being of the rural communities.

The project will be implemented in Una-Sana Canton, the city of Bihac, and the municipalities of Gacko, Rogatica, Rudo, Visegrad, Osmaci, Foca and Zvornik. This will test how local communities can be mobilized, absorb funding, and implement projects outlined in the action plans. A call for applications will be issued for piloting small-scale demonstration projects, corresponding with the strategic priorities defined by the communities’ plans.

“In the upcoming months, the institutions from both Una-Sana Canton and the city of Bihac, with support of FAO experts, will dedicate time and resources to develop the local agriculture and rural development plans and corresponding action plans,” said Šuhret Fazlić, Mayor of Bihac. “These dedicated plans on rural development and agriculture will enable a more effective allocation of funding towards these priorities in the medium- and long-term.”

12 April 2022, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina