Throughout April, Lactalis Bosnia-Herzegovina and USAID are hosting training workshops across the country with the aim of improving “the quality of milk in order to meet the standards required in the European Union.”
Through the program, which will visit 10 different areas, Lactalis hopes to “develop commercial agriculture” in Bosnia-Herzegovina by providing dairy farmers with information about “good hygienic practices in milk production” and “good manufacturing practice in the diet of dairy cows.”
Lactalis owns Dukat, one of the largest dairy manufacturers in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The French dairy giant acquired the firm, which manufactures and markets Dukat, Sirela, President, and Galbani brand products, in May 2007.
Bosnia-Herzegovina is not currently permitted to export dairy products into the EU as it has been unable to demonstrate that it meets the the standards upheld by Member States.
This issue was further exacerbated in 2013 when Croatia, its key trading partner, became an EU Member State.
"Develop commercial agriculture"
The program, which is scheduled to run from 31 March to 15 April, is the latest attempt by Fostering Agriculture Market Activity (FARMA), which is financed by USAID and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), to prepare Bosnia-Herzegovina for its eventual accession to the EU.
Bosnia-Herzegovina was identified as a potential candidate for EU membership in June 2003. It has since entered into a number of agreements with the EU.
It has been suggested that Bosnia-Herzegovina's accession to the EU could come as early as next year.
In a 2010 report on Bosnia-Herzegovina, FARMA highlighted areas of improvement in the country's milk production policies, which it said were not at the same level as the EU or neighbouring countries.
“Given the long-term goal of Bosnia and Herzegovina is accession to the EU, it is necessary to promptly harmonize agricultural policy in the production of milk with that in the surrounding countries and the EU," said the report.