Agricultural aid for local inhabitants
Maj. Viktor Nikolla
Maj. Arjo Kaarre
First published July 28, 2003
Recently the Finnish Civil Military Co-operation (CIMIC)
Company finished a project, which will help the sustainable
return of Displaced Persons and Refugees (DPREs) in the Kamenica
Gornja in Zvornik municipality. The project included the delivery
of two motor cultivators and much needed accessories for the
use of the local inhabitants in their agricultural activities.
Kamenica Gornja - The Economy Action Group (EAG) implemented
the project. This is actually a one-man team and part of the
Finnish CIMIC Project Office. According to 2Lt Jarmo Jortikka
(Economy Officer), the Project Office concentrates mainly
on different types of infrastructure projects within in their
AOR, but the EAG role is to help returnees by improving their
economic situation and thus increase their willingness to
remain in the area. The EAG received a large amount of funding
for their projects from the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs
(FMFA). During the winter/spring 2002-2003, EAG conducted
five similar projects throughout Multinational Brigade North's
Area of Responsibility. EAG's role is to act as a link between
the returnees and different organizations, including banks,
which provide grants or loans for various economic iniatives
in the area.
Those who need the most help is their concern
Kamenica Gornja has a majority of the returnees within the
Zvornik municipality and that's why it is one of the focus
areas for CIMIC activities. Kamenica valley has a rich productive
soil and before the war it was well known for its berry production.
During the war things changed radically, berry production
ceased completely, plum trees were cut and the fields were
not maintained. Many fled the violence, others were not so
fortunate and, there have been many mass graves found in the
"Despite of horrors of war, life nowadays in Kamenica
Gornja is calm. The area has a Bosnian Serb majority but Bosniacs
and Bosnian Serbs get along very well," said 2Lt. Timo
Joki Suikko (the CIMIC officer who patrols in the area on
Due to the multi-ethnicity and good co-operation between the
entities in Kamenica Gornja, the EAG became interested in
the project when the spokesman of the local community Mr.
Sead Selimovic sent a request to the CIMIC-Team. In the request,
he explained the situation in the area and the pre-war activities
of berry production and expressed their requirement for agricultural
machinery. EAG also discovered that the neighbouring Kamenica
Donja was involved in a berry production project, funded,
by the International Community and there were similar plans
for the Kamenica Gornja area.
Before realization of that project there was a lot of work
required to clear undergrowth from the fields that had grown
up during last 10 years. The area is quite hilly and there
are many female led households, who find it physically difficult
to carry out the clearing process. The EAG visited Mr Selimovic
and other returnees a few times during the spring of 2003
and identified that motor cultivators would make a huge benefit
to the people in the area.
At the end of April the funding application for the project
was approved by the FMFA and after a tender competition D.O.O
Porin from Tuzla was chosen as the supplier of the machines.
The total value for the project was around 9000 euros.
A large number of Kamenica Gornja inhabitants turned out for
the delivery of the machines on May 3rd. Mr. Selimovic expressed
his gratitude to the Finnish CIMIC for their help, "These
kind of projects will give people more hope and trust that
they are not forgotten after they have settled down to return
areas. This is especially important in Kamenica Gornja because
we have a lot of children here."
This successfully concluded one of the final projects of the
Finnish CIMIC Company which has now departed from Bosnia and
Herzegovina. With the help of these machines the local people
will be able to reconstruct their lives and berry production
can once more sustain those living in the area.
Nations of SFOR: Finland