Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Water Management and Forestry of B&H

Women success stories

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Rural Business Development Project-RBDP

Minka Duraković, a housewife, lives with her husband, a disabled veteran who receives a small retirement allowance, and their children in the municipality of Bužim in FBiH. In order to ensure a better life and higher incomes for their family, Minka began, along with other women from the village, to process fruits and vegetables through the Women Association Bužim, which was supported by the IFAD-funded RBDP project.

They organized a fair, even though they did not have appropriate tables or equipment, where they exhibited products on boxes or tables from their own houses. Now Minka sells processed fruits and vegetables, jams made of raspberry, elderflower, blackberry, plum, pomegranate, juices as well as ajvar, stew, cooking spices and even crochet items. She currently works alone, while her mother, who is over 70 years of age, helps her harvest herbs.

She earns about 1,500 KM, and she invests her earnings in business development – she has purchased processing machines and needed dishes.

Orchid Women Association

On the steep riverbank of the Bregava river in Stolac municipality in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina lies a small rural 6-room hostel, surrounded by the sounds of river water. It seems idyllic, but 20 years ago, this town was heavily affected by the war and the building was but a burnt house. The hostel is today run by the women association of Orchid, supported by the IFAD Rural Business Development Project. A group of four women decided to start an association to support women and create a space for psychosocial work as well as employment opportunities.

Orchid, taking its name from the wildflower that needs special conditions to grow, works in a multi-ethnic setting and supports women and their families from different backgrounds. From the hostel they make about 10,000 KM per year, the focus is on the summer months but they are now thinking about expanding to the winter ones.

A children’s center has been set up that hosts 30 children, coming from families with problematic backgrounds, on a daily basis. In total 6 full-time job opportunities have been created for women (3 for the youth) through Orchid. In addition, the association provides additional work opportunities for women during the production period of jams and marmalades. This is a way to diversify their income.

Today the association has 20 active members engaged in various activities, jam, juice production, and dried vegetables. Orchid buys fresh fruits and vegetables from about 200 cooperates and has a yearly production of about 1 ton of jam.

The association sells jam to a local organic shop in Sarajevo and market their products online on social media like Facebook and Instagram. Through RBDP they have received training on business leadership, marketing, and rural tourism as well as equipment such as a cooking machine and a peeler.

In 2017, the association won a national award for the best local product and have since been able to sell jam at embassies.

Fatima Kohnić from Stolac has been engaged in the production and processing of fruits and vegetables at the Orchid association since 2010 when she lost her job. She lives with her husband and they are both unemployed, they own a small estate in the village of Donja Bitunja where they produce eco-friendly products. Fatima currently makes sage, mint and elderflower juices as well as jams made out of plums, strawberries, figs, wild blackberries. Each year, she and her husband plant ten to fifteen different new fruit trees and other agricultural crops, thus increasing their production of cherries, figs, watermelons, and muskmelons. They are also engaged in organic vegetable farming as they are growing onions, peppers, tomatoes, garlic, carrots, pumpkin, chard, legumes without the use of pesticides. Additionally, they are engaged in beekeeping and currently have 50 bee-hives. The biggest help in her work is the processing machines donated by the RBDP.