Bosnian farmers to lose lifeline to political paralysis

Thu Dec 22, 2011 12:57pm EST
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By Daria Sito-Sucic

SARAJEVO (Reuters) - Eighteen months from now, Marko Damjanovic will practically be able to reach out and touch the European Union from his farm on Bosnia's northern border with Croatia.

But he'll no longer be able to sell his eggs there.

"I feel like I could explode," he said. "It looks like I'll have no other solution but to shut up shop."

Damjanovic sells 800,000 euros worth of eggs in Croatia every year.

Sixteen percent of Bosnia's total food exports and more than half of its milk and dairy exports go to its ex-Yugoslav neighbor, bringing in 200 million Bosnian marka ($133 million) in return.

But a year from now, six months before it joins the EU on July 1, 2013, Croatia will start implementing EU market regulations, and imports of Bosnian animal products will stop.

There's nothing wrong with Damjanovic's eggs, but Bosnia has no one to certify that to the satisfaction of the EU.

Bosnia's farmers -- the mainstay of its economy -- face becoming the latest victims of the political paralysis that has gripped the country since an election in October 2010.   Continued...

<p>A woman checks eggs at the chicken and egg producing company Posavina koka in Orasje, about 200 km north of the capital Sarajevo, December 19, 2011. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic</p>