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Kosovo

Berries and honey secure livelihoods

In the mountainous hinterland of Prizren, many people can only make a living from small-scale farming. The project supports 250 families in berry and honey production and gathering of herbs, and provides advice to four producer organisations.

 

Country/Region
South-west Kosovo, Prizren and Shterpce regions


Target group
250 producer families and the local producer organisations (1,750 people, with an average of 7 family members)


Funding requirement
CHF 1,235,885


Project duration
01.07.2015 to 31.12.2018


Project number
P150053


Project objectives
The mountainous hinterland of Prizren and the ethnically mixed Shterpce are regions in which small-scale farming is the only guaranteed source of a regular income for many. The project supports 250 families in berry and honey production and gathering of herbs. Four producer organisations receive advice and evolve to become autonomous organisations.


Project coordinator
Sandra Ege, Tel: 041 419 22 13, segeto make life hard for spam bots@to make life hard for spam botscaritasto make life hard for spam bots.ch


Department
Asia/Europe

 
 

Background information

Kosovo has a long tradition of farming as the main source of income for the majority of the population. Approximately 60% of Kosovo inhabitants live in rural areas. Agriculture is an important sector in Kosovo and makes a significant contribution to the country’s GDP and its export market. Following the 1999 war, when large parts of the agricultural infrastructure were destroyed, the situation for people in rural areas worsened significantly. This has led to increased migration to urban areas and abroad.

The project’s main objective is therefore to sustainably improve the economic situation of the rural population and thus reduce migration. Since 2009, Caritas Switzerland has implemented an agricultural programme in Kosovo with the main focus on the two adjacent municipalities of Prizren and Strpce. The programme played a key role in establishing and developing the following four local producer organisations in the project region: Zhupa Med (honey production, Prizren), Sarski Roj (honey production, Shtrpce), Agro Red Gold (berry production Prizren), Sarska Malina (berry production Shtrpce). As a result, the production of berries and honey in the project region was increased, and the quality and marketing opportunities of the products were improved.

An evaluation carried out in 2011 confirmed that, by establishing and developing these producer organisations, Caritas is making a significant contribution to sustainable development in these remote villages. It was considered particularly positive that the producers are willing to continue working together and to invest in development, while also being interested in sharing their experiences in the whole project area and thus contributing to cooperation between Bosniaks, Gorani and Albanians. Moreover, the role of women in the producer organisations was strengthened. So the project was not only able to make an impact at the economic level, but also in promoting peace and the rights of women.

 

What are we doing?

Firstly, at least 250 families are given the opportunity to take up berry production or honey production, and secondly, the project will continue to focus on its work with the producer organisations. The objective is to help develop the organisations to the extent that, when the support comes to an end, they can act independently. Furthermore, the current project also pursues the aim of intensifying cooperation between the local berry organisations and establishing a general regional berry producer organisation; the aim is to set the course at an early stage for a national umbrella organisation for berry producers (based on the model of the umbrella organisation in Bosnia and Herzegovina).

The better organised production will pave the way for the producers in the project region to be able to put their products more competitively on the market, so that they generate a higher income. Above all, it is important that the producers can rely on well-organised advice and have access to investment opportunities. For this reason, another important partner (in addition to the four producer organisation) will be the still to be selected microcredit organisation. New and existing producers will be able to access fair loans, allowing them to set up and expand their production. This, coupled with high-quality advice, reduces the risk of losses which the producers could otherwise incur. The goal for the small-scale producers is to build a secure and regular source of income.

The project will implement the regional expansion of seedlings and enable the provision of production inputs for the producers. In addition, the establishment of standards for the production of berries (integrated production IP) and honey (organic) will be another cornerstone of the project. These standards will further strengthen the producers’ market presence on the domestic market and open up new opportunities for them on the international market.

The programme benefits from the experiences of the very similar and very successful Caritas agricultural programme in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). The experiences and lessons learned by Caritas in BiH will be adapted for the Kosovo context, whereby local peculiarities are taken into account. However, in general, both contexts are very similar from a climate and economic perspective, which helps to get the priorities right from the start. Both programmes (BiH and Kosovo) are advised by the same experts. The success of BiH is to be replicated in Kosovo. The agricultural projects of Caritas Switzerland in BiH and Kosovo are of regional importance (Western Balkans Regional Strategy). The exploitation of these synergies creates security and stability for the continued development of the programme in Kosovo.

 

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