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Phyto-sanitary measures essential for BiH agriculture, EU-funded conference concludes

SARAJEVO – Phyto-sanitary measures are an essential part of any country’s ability to engage in trade, in particular of agricultural products, with the European Union, said Ambassador Lars-Gunnar Wigemark, Head of EU Delegation to BiH and EU Special Representative in BiH during the conference “Strategic development of phyto-sanitary sector in BiH – results and lessons learned under the EU-funded twinning project EU FITO BIH” on November 3rd 2016, in Sarajevo.

Ambassador Wigemark reminded that, among other, potatoes, honey and fish products from Bosnia and Herzegovina meet relevant sanitary and phytosanitary requirements and can already be found at the EU market, which is important for the country. “In 2015, BiH has exported raspberries in the amount of 15 million BAM, which is a significant sum compared to the total export of fruits and vegetables in the same year, amounting to some 4 million BAM. This proves that the product meeting the phytosanitary requirements can be competitive in the market”, said Ambassador Wigemark.

He has also encouraged BiH authorities to accelerate their efforts to prepare and adopt the agriculture and rural development strategy which would pave the way for greater EU assistance to these sectors as they are not eligible for the financial support under IPA II financing due to the lack of country-wide strategies.

Resident Twinning Advisor and Team Leader of the project Eligio Malusa explained that the conference aimed at raising awareness on the importance of the phytosanitary sector as the backbone of agriculture and rural development, as well as sharing relevant lessons learned.

Andrzej Krawczyk, Ambassador of the Republic of Poland compared Poland some years ago to BiH today, as his county was also assisted by the Directorate for Plant Health of the Republic of Italy.

“I hope that in the future, as Poland does now, Bosnia and Herzegovina will be in a position to offer its expertise in assisting some other countries aspiring to join the EU”, Ambassador Krawczyk said.

Alberto Comito, Chargé d’Affaires at the Italian Embassy in BiH noted that modern phyto-sanitary measures open the door not only for export but also for direct foreign investments.

“Approximation to European standards brings the benefits to BiH citizens and Italy is ready to support the agricultural sector, as well as the country’s European path“, Comito added.

Radenko Radovic, Director of BiH Administration for Plant Health Protection underlined that the overall goal is ensuring conditions for BiH’s export of plant origin products.

“Creating conditions for production in line with modern standards contributes to the development of the agriculture sector in the whole country”, Radovic concluded.

The project is financed by the European Union from the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA 2012) to the tune of 1,500,000 EUR. The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry Policies of Italy is the lead institution from the EU Member State that implements the project in partnership with the State Plant Health and Seed Inspection Service of Poland, the Ministry for Agriculture and Rural Development of Poland, Informest from Italy, the Research Institute of Horticulture form Poland as well as with the beneficiary institutions led by the Administration of BiH for Plant Health Protection.