At the level of Bosnia and Herzegovina there is no relevant legislation dealing solely with issues related to medicinal and aromatic herbs and endemic plants are not particularly protected nor their status is properly defined by the current legal regulations. Some of the medicinal and aromatic herbs were protected by the laws from the time of Socialist Republic Bosnia and Herzegovina, but their status has not been consequently confirmed, nor there was a study to estimate the status of these herbs after the war.
Most companies emphasize that a bad legal framework, lack of guidelines, poor administration of legislation in practice, the absence of Organic agriculture law in Federation BiH, the non-inclusion of production organizations in policy making, undefined inter-entity relations, lack of data base, lack of management plans for forestry and secondary forest products – significantly affect the improvement in production and business development in the field of medicinal and aromatic herbs.
However, the thing that additionally contributes to this difficult situation is certainly the failure of government inspectors to enforce the laws.
The policy on secondary forest products, which includes medicinal and aromatic herbs, falls under the jurisdiction of Ministries of agriculture’s of each entity. Due to poor application of the policy, companies dealing with medicinal and aromatic herbs are using this situation to collect medicinal and aromatic herbs throughout BiH without any obstruction by the authorities. Medicinal and aromatic herbs that are endangered due to excessive harvesting are often being sold on domestic and international markets. There is no proper customs control for endangered species. There are no trained customs officers capable to distinguish endangered species from those that are allowed to be exported. Bitterwort may serve as an example – being an endangered species, however, in the customs and in the declaration on goods it is declared as dandelion (which is not endangered and can be exported).
Considering specificities of some final products made with medicinal and aromatic herbs, especially various tea mixtures, creams, and other used for medicinal purposes, it is necessary to register those before placing them on the market. At the moment it is possible to register these products as medicines (which is very expensive and not economically sustainable for companies) or as dietary supplements (which is a lot cheaper, but at the same time impossible to export to EU countries).
The Ministry of agriculture, forestry and water management of RS provides incentives in the amount of 200 KM/ha for the production of herbs (any kind of herbs including cultivation of medicinal and aromatic herbs), while Federal Ministry of agriculture, water management and forestry in FBiH provides 300 KM/ha for organic production/cultivation (2008).
As for the Law on organic production, although there is an obligation to adopt it as a step towards joining EU, it has not been adopted as yet at the level of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Republika Srpska issued such a law independently, while Federation BiH, even it went through the procedure of its adoption, did not complete the procedure, because in the meantime, the BiH Council of ministers has decided that the Law on organic production should be issued at the state level. Bosnia and Herzegovina has not adopted the plan to take over the EU law in the field of agriculture, therefore, it did not adopted the Law on organic production.
In FBiH. Matters related to medicinal and aromatic herbs falls under the jurisdiction of Federal Ministry of agriculture, water management and forestry and cantonal ministries.
The Law on financial support and rural development („Official gazette of FBiH“, number: 42/10) provides measures for financial support in agriculture and rural development, financial support models, resources, priority selection, amount of funds, beneficiaries of financial support and ways of realization. Among other things this Law provides support for the cultivation of medicinal and aromatic herbs (chamomile, mint, rosemary, immortelle, laurel, etc.), production of seed material, capital investments, organic agricultural production, etc.
Medicinal herbs are one of the priorities in the production incentive model for a minimum area of 1 ha.
Federal ministry of agriculture provides financial support according to the Law, Support programs and other implementing regulations for each model and it is being done in cooperation with cantonal ministries.
In Republic Srpska (RS), issues related to medicinal and aromatic herbs fall under the jurisdiction of two ministries, i.e. Ministry of agriculture, forestry and water management and Ministry of Spatial Planning, Civil Engineering and Ecology. The RS Law on agriculture (Official Gazette of Republika Srpska, number 70/06) and Law on organic food production (Official Gazette of Republika Srpska, number 75/04) provide the basis, while regulations regulate more specific issues, including issues related to financial incentives for cultivation of medicinal and aromatic herbs. The Rulebook on Requirements and Manner to Obtain Monetary Subsidies for Agriculture and Rural Development, Official Gazette number 19/13, from 08.03.2013. provides the following:
Producers who have sown at least 0.3 ha of aromatic or medicinal herbs in the current year are entitled to the premium for the produces and sold aromatic herbs. The premium shall be paid based on application submitted to the Agency, which should also include:
- For legal entities – receipt or invoice with a proof of payment, and for natural persons – sales/purchase coupon and proof of payment.
- The calculation of the premium contained in Form 29, included in the attachment of this Rulebook, which is to be provided in both, electronic and printed version to the Agency’s e-mail or on the CD (for is available on the web site of the Ministry)
- The amount of the premium is determined after the processing of the request in accordance to the amount specified in the Plan of utilization of funds and will amount to 15% of the average market price per unit and its maximum value per beneficiary will amount to 10 000 KM
- The amount from the previous point will be paid in the ration 90% to producers and 10% to agricultural cooperatives as purchase organizers
- The claim for payment of the premium should be submitted by the user not later by the 30 November of the current year.