Republic of Kosovo
New Opportunities in Agriculture
New Opportunities in Agriculture (NOA), a five-year program funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) under the RAISE PLUS IQC, boosted production by capitalizing on the strengths of traditional crops, introducing new high-value crops into the market, involving women, youth and minorities in the production process, and advancing and expanding value chains to draw in infrastructure investment and strengthen export capacity. NOA put tools in the hands of Kosovar farmers, enabling them in all aspects of production, marketing and entrepreneurial growth by providing vital training and opening up market linkages to encourage and facilitate trade. Working under contract with Tetra Tech, CNFA provided short-term technical expertise in value chain development through its USAID-funded Farmer-to-Farmer program and extensive network of agribusiness consultants.
- Developed various crop-based producer groups to provide stronger linkages between producers and buyers throughout the region;
- Expanded access to credit training and technical assistance for loan borrowers and officers;
- Built the capacity of Kosovo’s private sector agribusinesses;
- Conducted mentoring, training, workshops and technical assistance for private sector agribusinesses;
- Promoted value addition in targeted sectors and introduced new crops including asparagus and saffron.
Increasing affordable and accessible credit: NOA enabled producers and other actors in value chains to access capital or credit through a variety of mechanisms, such as loans and grants. A total 142 small or medium enterprises are now receiving access to credit. Additionally, grants issued for value chain operators have helped procure a variety of new agricultural equipment, allowing firms to increase productivity and reach new markets.
Linking farmers to markets: NOA exposed Kosovar farmers and processors to new markets and opportunities by organizing study tours, promotional events, and facilitating relationships between producers and buyers. These activities exposed producers to new technologies for crop production, new varieties to enhance yields and/or quality, and new crops which can achieve a high market price either at home or abroad. In addition, these activities increased awareness amongst potential buyers of new opportunities arising in the targeted value chains, such as improved quality and increased availability of raw materials produced domestically.
To-date, the program has seen over $3.3 million in sales as a direct result of linkages created between farmers, processors, and traders. A total of 310 delivery contracts were issued for targeted crops.
Diversifying and increasing agricultural products: NOA also expanded production by training farmers on the use of new technologies and value adding processing. This included introducing a new processing line for bagged lettuce- the first of its kind in Kosovo. A total of 25 new technologies and/or management practices have been introduced through the program, and 1200 farmers, processors, and other individuals have adopted these new technologies/management practices.
Of note, CNFA designed a tool box of interventions to encourage table grape farmers to use growing techniques specific to table grapes, rather than their practice of using techniques specific to growing wine grapes. The intervention, which included instruction on best cultural practices, improved canopy management, and integration of modified “T” trellising, significantly enhanced both market quality and yield increases. This, combined with other crop diversification efforts, has allowed for extended growing seasons across all targeted crops, enabling farmers to produce earlier and earn higher prices.
Improving food quality and safety: NOA worked to improve food quality and safety, so that Kosovar producers and processors fell in line with existing food safety regulations issued by government authorities. By working with firms to become certified and meet international standards, NOA built consumer confidence in local products. Specific areas of emphasis include water sanitation, the establishment of a Listeria exclusion and testing program, pre-harvest inspection procedures, hygiene-enhancing supplies and equipment, and the development of a recall plan. Food quality and safety measures implemented through NOA have helped to improve product formulations, enrich human resources, and further the development of Kosovo’s food industry.
- 25 New production technologies and/or management practices introduced;
- 2028 Individuals trained in agricultural productivity;
- 142 Firms receiving assistance to invest in improved technologies;
- 310 delivery contracts issued for targeted crops;
- $3,393,051 in sales directly resulting from linkages created between farmers, processors, and traders.