Endowment Lands Opened for Agriculture by TİKA Assistance In Bosnia Herzegovina
Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) delivers agricultural machinery as assistance to a project designed to open endowment lands for agriculture in Bijeljina and Janina on the fertile Semberija Plains in the northern part of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
TIKA continues action in Bosnia-Herzegovina through projects, particularly in agriculture. In a recent example, TIKA delivered agricultural machinery to a project designed to open endowment lands for agriculture in Bijeljina and Janina on the fertile Semberija Plains in the northern part of Bosnia-Herzegovina
Bijeljina and Janina are regions that have considerable Serbian population; however the post-war return process has been progressing quite successfully. The project initiated by the Islamic Union in Bijeljina and Janina aims to encourage returns and permanent stay in the region as well as reduce the high rates of unemployment. The project also intends to limit the outflow of young population from the region to European countries, as well as build up a structure that is capable of producing resources for self-subsistence of the Islamic Union through revenues to be generated by putting the endowment lands to agricultural use.
TIKA provided assistance of mechanization consisting of tractor, harvester, corn sowing machine, irrigation machinery, ploughs and equipment for the effective and efficient agriculture on 510 quarter acres of endowment land owned by the Islamic Union. The equipment and machinery were delivered to the officials at the project publicity event.
The event was honored by Hussein Kavazovic, Reis-ul Ulema, i.e. Grand Mufti (lit. "Chief Religious Scholar") of Bosnia-Herzegovina; Ramiz Salkic, Speaker of the Assembly of the Republic of Srpska; TIKA’s Coordinator at Sarajevo Dr. Zülküf Oruç; Vahid Ef. Fazlovic, Mufti of Tuzla; Azra Medinic, Project Coordinator for Bijeljina and Janina; representatives of the Islamic Union Assembly of Bijeljina and Janina, and many Bosnian citizens.
Grand Mufti Kavazovic of Bosnia-Herzegovina stated in his speech in the ceremony that when he arrived in Janina, he thought it would be an inauguration for a mosque or school, however he was very much moved by what he saw. Grand Mufti said the Islamic Union earlier received grants for building mosques or schools, but agricultural machinery assistance for the first time for the lands opened up for agriculture. Grand Mufti Kavazovic stated that “through the donation from TIKA, employment opportunities will be created in agriculture for those Bosnians who had been driven out of their homeland in the war years of 1992-1995 in Bosnia-Herzegovina and now wish to return or who have already returned but are not able to find jobs.” Kavazovic emphasized that “we are very happy that TIKA has pinpointed something that we need and assisted accordingly” and noted that the donation would be auspicious not only for the Islamic Union but also for all those engaged in agriculture.
Noting that the biggest problem in the post-war years of Bosnia-Herzegovina is unemployment, Grand Mufti Kavazovic of Bosnia-Herzegovina said: “People living in Grand Mufti Kavazovic of Bosnia-Herzegovina need assistance. Our people are hardworking, but the war made us poor. Now we have an opportunity to do something. We do not request donation or aid. We want investments that will provide job opportunities to our people. This is what TIKA does best. It does not give our people the fish, instead, it teaches us how to catch fish. It is very important that TIKA implements projects of teaching fish-catching; therefore we are grateful to TIKA and Turkey.”
Azra Medinic, Project Coordinator for Bijeljina and Janina, said they discussed about 6 months ago the idea of opening up endowment lands to agriculture; now they experience the happiness of realizing the idea in such a short time through TIKA assistance. Wishing that the project would serve an example to other regions of the country, Coordinator Medinic informed that they would start agriculture in the region using the machinery and equipment provided by TIKA, and the first attempt would be wheat, corn and various vegetables.
TIKA’s Coordinator at Sarajevo Dr. Zülküf Oruç highlighted that one of the main links that connects Bosnia-Herzegovina and Turkey was the culture of endowments, and said: “Endowments seek solutions to current painful problems of the society, as they did in the past. TIKA has been working for 20 years in Bosnia-Herzegovina not only to repair and restore historic works, but also to solve such current problems as unemployment. We will definitely carry on such projects.”
Informing that the project implemented in Bijeljina and Janina in cooperation with the Islamic Union was a first of its kind opening up the endowment lands for agriculture, Coordinator Dr. Oruç elaborated that “This is a crucial project for us. We have realized such an assistance for the first time in Bijeljina and Janina. We believe that the project is important in developing the agriculture in the region.” Dr. Oruç noted that unemployment was one of the biggest problems in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and this project would provide 80 to 100 seasonal jobs in the region.
TIKA initiated contacts with civil society organizations in the region, particularly with the Islamic Unions, in order to set up a regional development program that would bring together various projects of various sectors in Bijeljina and Janina boasting the most fertile and largest agricultural land in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Following the project of opening endowment lands for agriculture, discussions were held on such ideas as to build a factory of fruit and vegetable packaging, and a flour mill to process the agricultural products.