The European Union is providing more than 30 vehicles for use by authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina for phytosanitary inspections as well as food controls and monitoring.
The 33 new off-road vehicles worth €467,000 ($540,000) will be used by authorities in the country to support alignment with EU standards. Bosnia and Herzegovina is not yet an EU member country.
Food and feed chain monitoring will be faster, the delay from taking a sample during border inspections until the final analysis will be shortened, and the time spent on issuing phytosanitary certificates will be reduced.
Keys for 14 of the vehicles were handed over by Johann Sattler, head of the delegation of the European Union and EU special representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina to Džemil Hajrić, director of the Food Safety Agency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Šemsudin Dedić, from the Ministry of Agriculture and Anis Ajdinović, director of the Administration for Inspection Affairs.
Ongoing capacity building
Sattler said ensuring safe food makes the supply chain stable and viable.
“Food control and safety are of paramount importance for the EU market, which has over half a billion consumers and over 45 million employees in the agricultural and food sectors. I call on the authorities in the sector to continue the professionalization of phytosanitary services, the improvement of phytosanitary control, the regulation of the internal market in line with the EU market and the harmonization of legislation with the legislation and phytosanitary standards of the European Union,” he said.
Through several ongoing projects, the European Union is building capacity in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the food safety, veterinary and phytosanitary sectors. There are three projects worth €6 million ($6.9 million) aiming to strengthen the official agencies and align the sectors with EU legislation. Using pre-accession funds, the European Union will get equipment such as laptops and printers for authorities working in the phytosanitary inspection and food safety and monitoring sectors in the country.
Hajrić said the donation will help the food safety sector in the country.
“In addition to this donation, it is important to point out that the EU will help us improve our capacities regarding the implementation of new legislation. We already have a project worth €1.5 million ($1.7 million) in the implementation phase, which is already bringing certain results, and with additional IT equipment provided by the EU, we will be able to meet all our tasks in the sector of food safety in Bosnia and Herzegovina.”
Benefit for EU consumers
Fifteen vehicles have already been given to the Inspectorate of Republika Srpska and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management of Republika Srpska, while the other four will be provided soon to the Brčko district.
Ajdinović said it will help strengthen the control system and enable consumers to have healthy and quality food.
“This is about consumers in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but also consumers in the EU, because Bosnia and Herzegovina exports more and more to EU countries every day. These vehicles will improve cross-border and internal control, and inspectors will be more mobile in reaching the businesses that export and supply the Bosnia and Herzegovina market with food.”
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