IMEL doo is an IT company established 24 years ago in Lukavac, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). In 2016, the company started two new lines of business; eco-tourism and production of organic goat cheese. With the support of the Challenge to Change Fund (C2C), the company started the production of two new organic products – hard goat cheese with green pepper and hard goat cheese curated in oak bark. The goal of the initiative is to strengthen organic and sustainable agriculture, food processing and tourism at Milino Selo village in the Ozren Mountain. It includes the organic fruit and vegetable production, goat farming for dairy organic products, and eco-tourism. IMEL has 58 employees.
Amra Brkić, who is Marketing Manager at IMEL doo, shared with us that “thanks to grant funding from the Challenge to Change Fund, we are beginning to slowly but surely change the way citizens live and return to a healthy and somehow forgotten traditional way of living“. What the company is aiming to do is “to establish a process for the production of delicatessen organic goat cheese products. It is expected to place these two brand new goat cheeses on the market across BiH and for them to become associated with a healthy lifestyle“.
The project is implemented in Milino Selo village, a rural community of Lukavak, where a returnee population lives. After the 1992-1995 war, many returnees were unable to sustain their livelihoods because of lack of jobs opportunities which caused what is called remigration to other European countries. IMEL doo’s initiative aims to achieve significant social impact by providing employment for the local population and by working towards gender equality and self-sustainable rural entrepreneurship. It is planned to employ 4 persons in the community of which 2 are permanent and 2 seasonally employed.
The improvement of the production process was made possible thanks to the support of the fund on top of the co-investment of the company which allowed IMEL doo to invest in the implementation of organic quality procedures, the creation of their own recipes for goat cheese, the improvement of the goat milking machine line, the purchasing of a mini-dairy for cheese production and the participation at the International Fair of Tourism and Ecology.
“The project supported by the Challenge to Change Fund affected the local community positively by creating new jobs, linked with local producers (farmers) and improved the living standard of the local population”
Amra Brkić – Marketing Manager, IMEL doo