Area of Arable Land in B&H Continues to Reduce

Area of Arable Land in B&H Continues to Reduce


By Maja Tuljković – Sarajevo

In relation to the total area of agricultural land in B&H, the area of arable land is decreasing, while the surface of unused and uncultivated land increased between 45 and 49 percent compared to the total area of arable land. In B&H, only one percent of arable land is irrigated, which is insignificant in comparison with most EU countries, while the production of cereals, vegetables, industrial and forage crops decreased in comparison to the pre-war period, said in a report on the state of the environment in B&H for 2012, which was prepared by the B&H Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations.

The report highlights the impact of agriculture on the environment is reflected in the pollution of soil and water, and in the contribution of global warming due to greenhouse gases. Greenhouse gas emissions from the agricultural sector in 2005-2010 has a trend of slow growth, but is still not close to the level of emissions from 1990. Given that agriculture is characterized by small and divided farms, poor technical equipment on farms, poor utilization of agricultural inputs, it is estimated that the current impact of this sector on the environment are not large when compared with other sectors.

The arable land in the FB&H from 2005 is constantly decreasing. In the FB&H in 2010 and 2011, 196.925 hectares of land were sown, which was 4,1 percent higher than in comparison to planting in 2009 and 2010. However, even then this growth represented a very small annual variation in sowing areas that do not mean anything, because the trend is negative if one takes into account the data that accumulates over several years.

The B&H Association of Farmers warn that the government did not do anything to increase the use of arable land, nor do they have a program for the production of grains. Also, the sanctions provided by the Law on the land are not implemented. No municipality has issued a lease for land that the owner does not cultivate, and so this law is not enforced.

The change can only come when the state increases financial support to agricultural producers, and per hectare of sown area, and when they introduce subsidized diesel (blue diesel) and subsidized fertilizer.

Although there are several laws, B&H agriculture is burdened with a number of problems due to undefined measures of support to local farmers that needs to be met. Waiting for them, the agricultural sector is suffering a crisis, which is being held at the level of the post-war stagnation and uncertainty. In addition, war damage to agriculture amounted to 6,5 billion USD. Nearly the biggest problem in rebuilding the agricultural sector in B&H is the fact that there are still many mines and other explosives left, and according to the estimates of the World Bank, around 7,5 billion USD are needed to clear the land of mines.

In the pre-war period in B&H, around 21 percent of the employed population was involved in agriculture, and GDP in agriculture accounted for 12-14 percent.