Non-GM campaign in BiH announced first certified & labelled eggs with Donau Soja’s regional label “Non GMO Produced”
Bosnia and Herzegovina has the smallest area of soybean production of all target countries – however, the area has more than doubled compared to 2013. That was the year when Donau Soja joined forces with the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) to support local soybean producers. As strategic partners, they promoted best practices through workshops, field days and manuals. As a result, production spiked up to today’s all-time high of 19.500 tons.
These locally produced quantities are competing with imported GM soybeans (80 000 tons each year in BiH) which are much cheaper. To keep their edge, local producers have the possibility to certify and label their final product as “Non GMO Produced” and thus add value to non-GM production, demonstrating their strategy towards highest standards and highest care for their consumers. In order to increase value for BiH farmers and give identity to Bosnian soybeans, the development of a local market for regional non-GM products is crucial as both an alternative and an addition to export.
Increasing Value, Label after Label
As a first step towards acquisition of the labels “Donau Soja” and “Europe Soya” – two advanced standards which include both sustainability and regional origin – non-GM labelling is introduced. This is the strategy for the BiH market, and a similar strategy is used in all target countries. The goal is to strengthen production through the Non-GM Danube Region Standard (NON-GM DRS) and to label local products with the regional label “Bez GMO Proizvedeno” (“Non GMO Produced”). This will support regional non-GM production not only in BiH, but also in countries such as Serbia.
To facilitate these developments and to promote ready-to-use non-GM guidelines based on the Non-GM Danube Region Standard, representatives of Donau Soja, together with representatives of the Food Safety Agency of BiH and relevant ministries, jointly promoted non-GM certification and labelling according to NON GM DRS to leaders in the industries of food and retail. The goal is to label and brand local products, add value and identity to local non-GM soya production and bring transparency to the local market.
Bingo: A Regional Pioneer
One of the most important developments in 2018 was the strategic decision of the market leader Bingo (the biggest food and retail chain in BiH) to switch their private-label production of eggs to certified non-GM production according to the NON GM DRS, which marks the first regional use of the “Non GMO Produced” label on products in the Danube Region and in BiH.
In April 2019, Bingo then launched its campaign for eggs certified and labelled according to the Non-GM Danube Region Standard, showing commitment to highest standards and care for its consumers. The certificates were awarded in a festive ceremony, which drew significant media attention. This attention was used by Donau Soja, the Food Safety Agency of BiH and other relevant institutions to highlight the benefits of non-GM-certification and labelling with the regional label “Non GMO Produced” for local agriculture, food industry and market transparency for consumers.
The non-GM certification of Bingo’s eggs triggered conversion of their feed supplier to non-GM production, which is a big step toward the development of non-GM regional food supply chains in BiH and the wider region, supporting local soya production and local farmers.