Friday, June 30, 2017

Kosovo Agriculture on the Rise

Today we traveled to different regions than we have been to previously. We started the day by traveling to the Peja region where we visited Agroproduct and apple orchards. Agroproduct dries various herbs, berries, leaves, flowers, etc. They have a unique drying facility allowing them to produce over 160 different quality products. They export 90% of their products, with Germany being a main buyer. Seventy percent of their products are gathered from the wild, leaving thirty percent cultivated.

Next we traveled to an apple orchard where we met 12 farmers and the head of their association. This group of farmers have 130 hectares of land in apple production. Unfortunately, this year they have lost their entire crop due to a late frost. Most of the apples stay in Kosovo with approximately 65% sold fresh at markets and 35% processed into further products.

We enjoyed lunch at a beautiful restaurant, which specializes in fish. As usual, we did not go hungry. Following lunch we traveled to the municipality of Rahovec. We had a nice visit with the mayor, who is a former Minster of Agriculture for Kosovo. He explained agriculture in the region and the opportunities in front of them. This area is known for it's vineyards and wineries. After a great conversation we visited the Bodrumi i Vjeter Winery. They gave us a short history of their winery and then gave us a tour. They shared that the skin of grapes give wine their color and the seeds provide the flavor. With red wines they leave the seeds in during fermentation, but with white wines the seeds are removed for fermentation.

From the winery we made our way to a beautiful vineyard. We were able to discuss production practices and inspect the soil closer. We concluded the evening with a social at Soma. As some prepare to head home or other directions this gave us a chance to reflect on our time in Kosovo. We have one more day in Kosovo with some site seeing and a farewell event with the Ministry of Agriculture. It was evident today and throughout the week that agriculture in Kosovo is on the rise. There are great things to come and we are excited to be a part of it!

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