Support for Bosnian Women Farmers through Blueberry Horticulture

Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TİKA) enabled women farmers in Bosnia and Herzegovina to receive blueberry farming training and provided seedling support. 

The "Food and Life Safety Support Program in the Balkans and Eastern European Countries" initiated by TİKA in 2017 is currently underway and has been expanded in scope with new projects introduced in 2019.

The "Food and Life Safety Support Program in the Balkans and Eastern European Countries", which was launched in cooperation with the Faculty of Agriculture at the University of Sarajevo in 2017, has reached more than 550 families in Bosnia and Herzegovina up until today.

Economic development will be supported

The "Rural Development through Blueberry Horticulture and Women's Employment Project", which is a subcomponent of the project launched with the aim of supporting individuals who were displaced during the Bosnian war and returned home after the war, and also encouraging income-generating activities throughout the country, is being carried out in cooperation with the Altın Zambak Derneği.

The project, which is supported by TİKA, aims to contribute to the development of agricultural production techniques and skills and to support the economic development of the region by training the human resources in the region and increasing income-generating activities.

An alternative source of income

Through trainings on the cultivation of blueberries (i.e. Vaccinium sp.), soil, ecology, and sapling cultivation techniques that have high economic value offered by faculty members of the Faculty of Agriculture at the University of Sarajevo, women farmers residing in low-income cities like Zepce, Zevidoviçi and Zenica learned about blueberry cultivation and were equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills.

Throughout the project, the cultivation of blueberries, which are difficult to grow in the conditions of Bosnia and Herzegovina yet generate a high economic revenue when properly produced, along with the production of American Blueberry seedlings, will be carried out. Moreover, the country's potential will be determined for fruit and leaf production, the awareness of the villages who make a living off of agriculture will be raised and the necessary infrastructure support will be provided.

Activities jointly carried out with the University to develop the practice will contribute to the product variety in the region, primarily in the cities of Zepce, Zenica, and Zavidoviçi. By the end of the fourth production season of the project, the blueberry crop, which is an undergrowth plant, will become one of Bosnia and Herzegovina's important commercial crops together with the technical support of the University's academics.

During the handover ceremony, President of the Altın Zambak Derneği Şerif Batkoviç thanked TİKA for the contributions it made with its projects for the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Batkoviç stated that the products would be collected from families with the help of cooperatives and put on the market, thus allowing families to easily sell their products. The advisor to the Food and Life Safety Support program Prof. Fikreta Behmen, who is a faculty member at University of Sarajevo's Faculty of Food and Agriculture, remarked that she was in constant cooperation with TİKA and the Altın Zambak Derneği during every phase of the project and added that the project was meticulously carried out and that she believed it would significantly contribute to the region and its people.

TİKA's Sarajevo Coordinator Ömer Faruk Alımcı stated that Bosnia and Herzegovina has experienced significant progress with respect to blueberry production in recent years and conveyed his hopes that the blueberry saplings and equipment that were distributed would encourage the individuals residing in the region to take part in economic life.