Reaching European market with a hand from EU4Business project
Travnik-based Poljorad company is a recognisable brand on the market of Bosnia and Herzegovina, producing various dairy spreads and delicious cheeses for more than two decades. In order to meet the requirements and expectations of its buyers, this company continuously invests in improving its production quality according to European standards.
Thus, thanks to significant assistance of the European Union and the Federal Republic of Germany through EU4BUSINESS project, the company modernised its work processes and thus met the necessary conditions to continue exporting products to the European Union market.
“We did not have a wastewater treatment plant, which was a condition to keep the export permit. We managed to secure it through this project and now we can easily place our products on the European Union market,” explains Erzad Skrobo, Poljorad’s longtime employee.
Every day, the Poljorad Company buys about 20,000 litres of locally-produced milk from more than 1,000 subcontractors from Central Bosnia. Various cheeses and dairy spreads are made from this milk. The quality and uniqueness of smoked cheese Dimko is well-recognised among buyers.
Many food baskets will not do without Poljorad’s sauerkraut, as well as cheese-and-cream stuffed peppers. Their products are available to buyers in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the United States, the European market, but also in several Arab countries.
“Our exports ranged between 10 and 15 percent before the project, and now it is over 30 percent. By purchasing new machines, we have increased the quality of products, and we have also changed the packaging so that we can better adapt to the requirements of every buyer,” adds Erzad.
The new machines and wastewater treatment plant, mentioned by Erzad, were provided with the help of the European Union and the Federal Republic of Germany through EU4BUSINESS project. With this project, Poljorad Company has significantly improved various segments of production, which contributed to ensuring better product quality and competitiveness in the market.
“The new machines made it possible for us to increase the hygienic standards of products and production processes. Due to poor packaging, contamination and faster spoilage of the product were known to happen, but with new machines we no longer have that problem. We have reduced the return of goods from the market to a minimum,” explains Erzad.
A total of 56 are engaged in various jobs in Poljorad. One of them is 22-year-old Adin Hrustanović, in charge of maintenance of a new wastewater treatment plant, but also occasionally on various posts in production. Adin was employed through the EU4BUSINESS project during the pandemic and, in his words, this job changed his life.
“I live alone with my father, who is retired, and this job means a great deal to me. When I came to Poljorad, I went through training, and my colleagues also helped me in those early days. Working conditions are much better than in my previous job, and the income is higher. People here have given me a good job and I am happy for it,” explains Adin.
As a result of extended production and export capacity, thanks to EU4BUSINESS project, the company is planning new employment and investment in production in 2021.
“We plan to expand production to homemade jams and marmalades, and drying vegetables. We bought the mill with our own funds, so we will also grind whole grains,” explains Erzad, adding that the new Poljorad products will certainly meet the high-quality standards and expectations of buyers in the country and abroad.
EU4Business is European Union’s project that aims to strengthen Bosnia and Herzegovina’s capacity for economic growth and employment by fostering competitiveness and innovation in selected sectors. EU4Business is worth EUR 16.1 million; EUR 15 million is funded by the European Union and EUR 1.1 million by the Federal Republic of Germany. Project is jointly implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and International Labour Organisation (ILO).