With 893.540 ha of arable land in its territory, or 0,952 ha per capita, the Republic of Srpska is at the top of the list of European countries in terms of agricultural land availability. Farmers in this area have an access to significant areas of unpolluted and fertile land, clean water sources, and clean air which is one of the most significant factors for organic food production.

With a share of 8.9% of the total GDP of the Republic of Srpska, agriculture occupies an important place in its economic structure. Agriculture, along with the food industry, represents one of the leading economic sectors based on the principles of sustainable and technologically advanced agricultural production, and the principles of competitiveness and efficiency.

Farmers from the Republic of Srpska have at their disposal 977.000 ha of agricultural land, of which 815.000 ha is arable. Structure of the land is dominated by arable land, which covers around 71% of the total arable land. The rest of the land is categorized as meadows, orchards and vineyards.

The level of self-sufficiency in the production of basic agricultural products in the Republic of Srpska is positive, i.e. above the total demand of the population for cabbage, potatoes, apples, milk, consumer eggs, certain types of beverages and honey, while the production level of other types of products is generally below the total demand, and it is measured around 60%.

Among the most developed municipalities, with extremely dominant agricultural sector, are: Bijeljina, Gradiška, Zvornik, Kozarska Dubica and Prijedor.

95% of the territory of the Republic of Srpska is occupied by rural areas
3.000 officially employed citizens in the agricultural sector
977.000 ha of agricultural land in the Republic of Srpska
270 companies in RS are engaged in processing agricultural products

The diversity of geographical and climatic regions, which is a characteristic of the territory of the Republic of Srpska (plains, hills, mountains and Mediterranean areas), is important for the development of agricultural production, and represents a natural advantage that distinguish the Republic of Srpska from other countries in the region.

Farmers in the Republic of Srpska have at their disposal 977.000 ha of agricultural land, of which around 815.000 ha is arable. Structure of the land is dominated by arable land, which covers 71.07% of the total arable land. The rest of the land is categorized as meadows (22.65%), orchards (6.21%) and vineyards (0.054%).

The Republic of Srpska is covered by river flows, many natural and thermal springs, which are contributing to the development of greenhouse production, while climatic conditions are adequate for the production of various types of medicinal plants, as well as all types of continental fruits. Over 50% of agricultural land has an access to the sources of geothermal water, which is essential for investments in greenhouse food production. Also, the Republic of Srpska offers a strategic location, and it is a member of the CEFTA free trade agreement, which creates favorable opportunities for product placement on the market of the EU and the Western Balkans region.

The RS trade deficit in the case of agricultural and food products is significant, and from this perspective it is justified and necessary to further increase the volume of agricultural production, and to create the conditions for export of those agricultural products for which the RS has comparative advantages.

Agricultural sector in the Republic of Srpska takes a significant place in its economic structure. The share of agriculture in gross domestic product is 8.9%. Although it formally employs only 3.000 workers, informal (permanent or temporary) employment in agriculture is much higher. Rural area covers around 95% of the Republic of Srpska’s territory, and it is populated by around 83% of its population.

Measured by its contribution to the GDP, agriculture is very significant for the Republic of Srpska. Of all productive sectors, agriculture has the largest share in the GDP structure. The importance of the agricultural sector for the Republic of Srpska is also manifested through its significance in terms of employment. Apart from the formal employment, measured by the number of employed individuals in agricultural enterprises and cooperatives, the RS agriculture also significantly participates in the so-called informal employment, which includes all agricultural households and their families engaged in agricultural production. Municipalities in the RS with developed agriculture and food industry are: Bijeljina, Gradiška, Zvornik, Kozarska Dubica and Prijedor.

Approximately, 270 companies are engaged in the processing of agricultural products, employing 6.500 workers, and the most represented branches are: the milling and baking industry, processing of fruits and vegetables, production of milk and dairy products, production of meat and meat products, confectionery industry and production of pasta. Agricultural production and services in agriculture are handled by 450 companies, enterprises and agricultural cooperatives, employing 5.000 workers and 221.000 households with around 800.000 inhabitants, which is 57.1% of the total number.

The ownership structure of the land is favorable, with a tendency to increase in the number of individual farms. A growing number of companies have introduced quality standards: ISO 9001:2000 and HACCP quality systems. There are significant capacities in the food processing industry that are currently not operational. The legislation is in the phase of harmonization with the EU regulations. The food sector is constantly growing, which is evident through the increase in the number of enterprises in this area.

Farms as production units represent places of production, employment and creation of new values, thus becoming an equal business entity in the sector with respective rights and obligations. The available natural resources are enriched and reproduced in the production processes within the rural economy, and they are used in a way that provides maximum social and economic benefit while preserving supplies for future generations.

The sale of agricultural products remains the most frequent (81.35%) and the largest source of income for farms and agricultural households, and 23.48% of households in the RS have other, supplementary income activity. The average land area per farm is 8,6 hectares, which includes 5,7 hectares of land ownership and 2,9 hectares of leased land. This indicator confirms the tendency of land consolidation among the agricultural holdings in the RS.

The Republic of Srpska has two strategic documents defining the goals and guidelines for the development of the agricultural sector – the Strategy for the Development of Agriculture of the Republic of Srpska until 2015, which was adopted in 2007, and the Strategic Plan for Rural Development of the Republic of Srpska for the period 2010-2015, which was adopted in 2010. The priority objective of the new strategic framework is to provide solutions to overcome the problems facing the agriculture and rural development sector, and to provide conditions for achieving faster development of the sector and a better standard of living for the rural population. In this regard, the strategic framework is making a move towards defining agricultural restructuring policy, which, in addition to production support policy and rural development policy, is the backbone of the sector’s development until 2020.

The RS food industry is characterized by slower growth compared to the entire processing industry. Food production is characterized by the duality of development. On the one hand, capacities available from the earlier period are not up-to-date, most of them are neglected and cannot support the industry development, while on the other hand new capacities have been created, smaller in volume but modern in technology. The number and total capacities of newly constructed facilities in the food industry are not yet sufficient to become the strongest factor for increasing the primary production, but they already form the basis of the RS food industry.

The greatest progress in the agricultural sector has been made in the milk and dairy industry. The trend of growth is 12% for the production of pasteurized and sterilized milk, and the trend of growth is also present in the production of fermented products such as yogurt, sour cream and cheese.

The competitiveness of the agricultural sector of the Republic of Srpska is the key to its current and future development.


The RS Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management annually awards financial incentives for the agricultural and rural development. The Ministry adopts the Rulebook on the Conditions and Manner of Obtaining Financial Incentives for the Development of Agriculture and Rural Areas.

The RS Government and competent ministries are continuously working to improve the agricultural sector towards increasing the income and quality of life of the agricultural and rural population, adapting to the EU and WTO rules and standards, and increasing the sector’s competitiveness.

Provision of incentives for the development of agriculture and rural areas is regulated by the law, and by-laws and plans, that are in accordance with the RS Agriculture Development Strategy until 2015 and the RS Rural Development Strategy until 2015. The incentive funds are allocated according to the main groups of measures, such as: support for the production and income, support for the rural development, emergency measures, measures for the protection of animal health, recovery costs due to natural disasters (especially floods), and the market interventions – purchase of market surpluses. The primary aim of these activities is to increase the volume of production, as well as to increase production quality and efficiency, and to reduce costs and risks in the agricultural production.

Investing in the RS agricultural sector

Sub-sectors that are attractive for investments:

  1. Production and processing of fruits and vegetables: greenhouses for vegetables and berry fruits (for consumption and processing) – processing facilities exist and considerable quantities are imported; cultivation of raspberries and blackberries, and building refrigeration and drying facilities – climatic conditions favorable, there is a market for sale in the country and abroad, raising plantations: nuts, hazelnuts, pears, sour cherries and apples – climatic conditions are favorable, there is a market for sale in the country and abroad, building plantations of nuts, hazelnuts, pears, sour cherries and apples – the climatic conditions are favorable, while large quantities for consumption and processing are imported.
  2. Viticulture and winemaking: vineyards growing, the cultivation and harvesting of grapes, and production of wine that has recognized geographical origin.
  3. Livestock raising, production and processing of meat: raising farms, production of meat and dairy products of higher processing stages – hard and semi-hard cheese, durable and semi-durable meat products such as sausages, canned meat and the like.
  4. Fishery: breeding high quality fish species for export and raising processing capacity.
  5. Beekeeping: production of various beekeeping products mainly for the export, introduction of new products primarily for tourism and catering purposes,
  6. Production and processing of medicinal herbs, mushrooms and harvesting of berry fruits, primarily mushrooms and snails, cultivation and processing of industrial plants (sugar beets and oilseeds – soybeans and rapeseed).

They have already invested

Some of the positive investment examples are:

“Mlijekoprodukt” Ltd. Kozarska Dubica,

“Marbo” Ltd. Laktaši,

Food industry “Sava” Ltd. Bijeljina,

“Vitinka” JSC Kozluk (production of mineral water and juices),

“Banja Luka Brewery” JSC Banja Luka (beer production),

“Vitaminka” JSC Banja Luka (fruit and vegetable processing),

“Swisslion-Takovo”, Ltd. Trebinje (confectionery industry),

“Prijedorčanka” JSC Prijedor (fruit processing),

“Mira” JSC Prijedor (confectionery industry),

MB Impex Ltd. Banja Luka (production of alcoholic beverages),

Factory for preparation, drying and packaging of fruit “Boksit” Milići,

Beekeeping cooperative “Žalfija”, Trebinje, Center for Beekeeping

Relevant institutions and associations:

Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management of the Republic of Srpska

Agricultural Institute of the Republic of Srpska

Faculty of Agriculture, University of Banja Luka

The Republic of Srpska Veterinary Institute “Dr Vaso Butozan”

Agricultural Cooperative Federation of the Republic of Srpska