The protection of the Livno cheese and exercising the rights of small-volume producers

Livno Cheese, whose quality depends on traditional agriculture, will soon be found under a single brand on shop shelves throughout the European Union.

People

1 (4 since the beginning of 2018)

Money

EUR 1 000 000

Time

10 years

Organization

Association of producers of the traditional Livno cheese “Cincar”; Cincar 2 Agricultural Cooperative

Country

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Location

Livanjsko polje (“the Livno field”)

Protection level

The process of protection according to national categorization currently in progress

Project example
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Achievements
founding the association for the protection of an autochthonous product, among the first in Bosnia and Herzegovina
more than 50 family-run productions are members of the Cincar association (number of members growing constantly since foundation)
indirect benefit for the people – 500 (family members collecting an income from the activities)
number of new services – 20 new small dairy farms
foundation of an agricultural cooperative – 11 member families
increased product quality and quantity (110 tonnes of cheese)
increase in livestock units – 8,000 sheep, 700 cows
association members are active participants in working groups involved in legislation related to autochthonous products of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Problem/opportunity

Problem
Loss of primary market
Lack and non-implementation of legislation related to the protection of autochthonous products and food safety
Unfair competition
Disparities in product quality
Opportunity
traditional agricultural production
high-quality pastures
engaged local community
widely recognized brand
demand for autochthonous product

Planning

Pre-requisites for success
existence of a recognisable product with a long-lasting tradition
possibility of founding an association that would serve as a legal entity for livestock farmers, and so that they would jointly agree on their priorities and direct their resources
a person that understand the forms and ways of submitting project proposals

Implementation

Project key stages
1. Founding of producers’ association (defining work goals and setting priorities)
2. Strengthening cooperation with associations, donors, local authorities, scientific institutions and the media (more intensive contact, common projects)
3. Education (organised visits to similar producers abroad, workshops)
4. Adapting to conditions and standards required by regulations related to the protection of origin and food safety in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the EU.
5. Cooperation with the Czech Development Agency (branding, infrastructure, equipment)
Actions
founding the association of producers of the traditional Livno cheese, which enabled us to initiate concrete cooperation with representatives of authorities, donors, associations, scientific institutions, the media
joint identification of issues and finding solutions with the partners
organised visits to similar producers and fairs in Italy and Croatia, and, most recently, the Czech Republic and Slovakia
fulfilment of all statutory requirements for product protection (ordinance, standardisation, traceability, recipe uniformity and control system)
participation in working groups for the drafting of legislation and ordinances related to the protection of autochthonous products and local development strategies
joint presentation at trade fairs
including the local authorities in attracting projects
adaptation, construction and furnishing of a mini/family dairy farm for the purpose of adjustment to all current hygiene standards
founding of a cooperative is more rentable than doing business as individual sole proprietorships
started a regular annual cheese trade show
training for Cooperative management
branding – a unique label, but each family has their own marking
a common facility consisting of a sales and office space, cheese museum and storage space
equipping a laboratory for products of animal origin of the county Office for Food and Veterinary Medicine
promotion of the tourist cheese rout

Change

Positive effects on environment
The constant increase of production prevents the overgrowing of grasslands and revives the neglected pastures. Some association members have over 1000 sheep. The grazing helps maintain the natural eco-systems and so does the mechanical mowing for the purpose of collecting hay for the winter.
The total surface of the Livanjsko polje that is being maintained is 21,761 ha.
Positive economic and social changes
The public sector – national:
The importance of the association and its participation in working groups for the drafting of laws on the protection of food origin has been recognised.
The public sector – local:
The promotion of the area and local producers, increased visibility. The credibility of local authorities in relation to the donors has increased due to the implementation of a large-scale project. The municipality of Livno recognised the Cincar Association as the key partner in achieving strategic goals and the importance of this product to the recognisability of the area. The Livno cheese is also an important item in other strategic goals related to tourism and culture. For example: The “Cheese Days” event, although still emerging, is an integral part of the Livno cultural summer programme. The municipality of Livno gets an expo-sales area for its trademark product. The Herzeg-Bosnia County also included the small-volume producers in its support programmes, where before it has only supported large-scale dairy farms and their collaborators. Production development and the protection of the traditional Livno cheese is also included in the municipal and county development strategies. The process of drafting a county-wide rural development strategy, in which we’re actively participating, is currently in progress.
The business sector:
Economic: increased income, sustainable business activities
Social: promoting products and services, the possibility of networking and joint action. Solely local companies and supplier were contracted during the construction of the mini dairy farms and the common facility. The large-scale dairy farms producing cheese agreed to a dialogue, which has never been the case before. Local businesspeople (restaurants, merchants) gain quality partners and suppliers. By meeting the requirements for export into the EU countries, the product will make its way back to its primary market, the Dalmatian coast, where the “traditional Livno cheese” will once again be available without any legal issues. The same goes for all the restaurants and supermarket chains in the country and abroad, which will be able to offer traditional Livno cheese for the first time ever.
The local community:
Economic:
The 50 families that are members of the Association of producers of the traditional Livno cheese “Cincar” draw economic benefits. At the moment, over 200 people make a living from this type of cheese production. About 20 families (that meet the requirements) founded the Cincar 2 Cooperative, within the project of the Czech Development agency, so that they could enter the market. The other families can join the cooperative as soon as they fulfil the requirements as stipulated by the ordinance. Lower costs of laboratory production control. Two people are employed full-time (two more planned).
Social:
Legalised market and products. Product protection as part of the heritage and culture of the area. The cheese museum. The public has been informed of the status and issues of traditional producers.
The scientific community:
Participating in protection processes from the beginning and enabling field work for students (Faculty of Agriculture and Food Science of Sarajevo) and monitoring the status and habitats of species.
Key benefits
For the people
Increasing the income of the local community based on our own products and services.

Replication and recommendations

Essential things to replication
founding a producers’ association and strengthening its capacities
quality and recognisability of the producers
including decision makers and managers in the very beginning of project implementation
including scientific institutions, i.e. experts and students in the initial stage of the project
persistence
good cooperation between project partners and a common effort

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