By Mladen Dragojlovic – Banja Luka
Milk producers in BiH are dissatisfied with the imports of milk and milk products and announced that on November 12 they will blockade the border crossings to prevent import of dairy products.
The first time a blockade was mentioned was last Wednesday but, after a meeting of leaders of Association of farmers and milk producers in RS with the minister of Agriculture in RS Government, Stevo Mirjanic, they postponed the blockage of the borders. The president of the farmers Association, Vladimir Usorac, told to media that the idea of the blockade is accepted among farmers in the whole of BiH.
“If the relevant entities and state institutions fail to decide on the protection of domestic production, we will be on the border crossings on November 12 at 12.05 hour”, said Usorac.
Milk and dairy products producers in the state are angry with the state institutions for failing to provide the required conditions for the export of these products to the European union, while at the same time, importation of these products from EU countries in BiH is free. Usorac and his colleagues think that, until the state institutions provide these conditions, domestic production will be totally destroyed.
The Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations in the BiH Council of ministers, Boris Tucic, also appealed on the Association to postpone or withdraw their decision on the blockage of the border crossings. He emphasised that this blockade can cause a similar response from EU and CEFTA countries.
“In the next several days nobody will be able to fulfill the demands of the producers. But the consequences from a possible blockade can be dramatic. We must be responsible and seek for solutions that will not result in counter measures”, Tucic told the media on the press conference in Sarajevo.
He emphasised that the importation of milk and milk products in BiH is not bigger than before and its value is about EUR 5 million per month. Tucic said that BiH is not able to begin a “trade war” with anybody and especially with EU and CEFTA countries. Additional tax on these products, he said, are not possible since this category of goods are not excise products.
A long time ago, all BiH farmers Associations warned that they will be at a disadvantage in relation with importers, because goods from other countries have cost less. At the time, there is interest in other countries for agricultural products from BiH, but the state still has not established a control mechanism for quality verification in accordance with EU standards.