USAID Kosovo - Private Sector Engagement - Stojan Milojevic

Speeches Shim

Private sector is essential to Kosovo’s democratic and economic progress. Innovation, technology, employment, are only few of avenues that drive and sustain outcomes capable of moving Kosovo toward its journey to self-reliance.

Video Transcript 
1 00:00:04,375 --> 00:00:07,661 2 00:00:07,935 --> 00:00:11,742 The private sector, as an agent of development, specifically in 3 00:00:12,059 --> 00:00:19,734 the sphere of agricultural economy, in which our company operates, 4 00:00:20,095 --> 00:00:23,562 plays a crucial role in its expansion and development. 5 00:00:23,718 --> 00:00:26,632 There are certain plants which, 6 00:00:26,671 --> 00:00:28,929 let’s put it this way, 7 00:00:28,968 --> 00:00:38,651 are interesting to the foreign market, be it the EU or the US. 8 00:00:38,676 --> 00:00:41,618 Depending on whether a plant is gathered from the wild or cultivated, 9 00:00:41,643 --> 00:00:49,359 private initiatives which relate to the environment 10 00:00:49,384 --> 00:00:56,842 and focus on certain plant species, which is what we do, 11 00:00:56,867 --> 00:01:02,325 can provide employment for a lot of people 12 00:01:02,350 --> 00:01:06,607 so that many women, and young people can give 13 00:01:06,632 --> 00:01:11,381 their contribution to quick economic development of Kosovo. 14 00:01:11,406 --> 00:01:18,214 In the last five years, the pace of private sector development 15 00:01:18,239 --> 00:01:21,831 in the area of plants and herbs has been quite dramatic. 16 00:01:22,285 --> 00:01:26,530 17 00:01:26,929 --> 00:01:37,543 Every new value created recently, be it a product or a service, contributes to Kosovo’s development. 18 00:01:37,568 --> 00:01:39,563 More specifically, speaking of our activity, 19 00:01:39,588 --> 00:01:47,875 it isn’t based solely on one particular product 20 00:01:47,900 --> 00:01:52,404 or one particular type of activity. 21 00:01:52,429 --> 00:01:56,725 As a matter of fact, our engagement follows three different directions. 22 00:01:56,750 --> 00:01:58,707 The first one is promotion of cultivated plantations of certain plant species, 23 00:01:58,732 --> 00:02:09,273 where we are able to hire a number of subcontractors who supply us with certain raw materials. 24 00:02:09,298 --> 00:02:18,592 The second one is the planting of new types of plants, which are able to grow in Kosovo. 25 00:02:18,617 --> 00:02:25,802 And last, but not least, is the gathering of plants growing in the wild. 26 00:02:25,827 --> 00:02:29,654 We wouldn’t be able to do that on our own, 27 00:02:29,679 --> 00:02:37,473 as it’s certain groups of workers, women, man or young people, who do the bulk of the work there, 28 00:02:37,498 --> 00:02:46,705 thus earning additional income for themselves. 29 00:02:46,730 --> 00:02:54,418 This way, they supply us with the raw material we later process with our employees 30 00:02:54,443 --> 00:02:57,257 into products we place on the market. 31 00:02:58,047 --> 00:03:01,257 32 00:03:01,796 --> 00:03:09,679 Our company has precisely 14 full-time employees, 33 00:03:09,704 --> 00:03:13,756 25 part-time employees, or seasonal employees as we refer to them, and we also 34 00:03:13,781 --> 00:03:19,710 have 12 subcontractors, who supply us with raw plant materials, 35 00:03:19,735 --> 00:03:24,133 as well as the ones who produce different products for us, which we then buy. 36 00:03:24,158 --> 00:03:29,899 There are approximately 70 to 80 people, random families 37 00:03:29,924 --> 00:03:41,183 who collect wild plants, non-wood forest plants. 38 00:03:41,208 --> 00:03:43,968 Our plan going forward, 39 00:03:43,993 --> 00:03:48,116 in the next year, 40 00:03:48,141 --> 00:03:52,685 is that, apart from essential oils which we place in the market, 41 00:03:52,710 --> 00:03:56,199 foreign markets for the most part, and certain plants, 42 00:03:56,224 --> 00:04:02,680 we succeed with placement of a plant 43 00:04:02,705 --> 00:04:08,266 which is widely popular in the global market. This plant is called black elderberry (lat, Sambucus Nigra), 44 00:04:08,291 --> 00:04:15,744 which can easily be grown in our area, and does not require special care. 45 00:04:15,769 --> 00:04:18,049 Thus, our involvement 46 00:04:18,074 --> 00:04:21,807 in planting and cultivation of this plant 47 00:04:21,832 --> 00:04:25,502 would increase employment of additional workers. 48 00:04:25,527 --> 00:04:29,533 We could increase the employed workforce by 30 percent. 49 00:04:29,558 --> 00:04:32,814 People could engage 50 00:04:32,839 --> 00:04:36,018 in the cultivation of this plant 51 00:04:36,043 --> 00:04:41,494 in a long-term plan, because the fruit of this plant is in high demand 52 00:04:41,519 --> 00:04:48,117 in the global market, as it is greatly used in the pharmaceutical industry 53 00:04:48,222 --> 00:05:01,564 as well as for various dietary supplements. 54 00:05:02,355 --> 00:05:07,151 55 00:05:08,714 --> 00:05:12,626 What I would like to highlight is the attitude young entrepreneurs, 56 00:05:12,732 --> 00:05:17,438 that have either started a business or intend to do so, must have 57 00:05:17,463 --> 00:05:22,797 whether in cooperation with us, in this agricultural activity, or in general. 58 00:05:22,822 --> 00:05:30,398 Since I am a little older and I have seen a lot, 59 00:05:30,423 --> 00:05:39,433 my recommendation is to not hesitate and to be open and free to start a private business. 60 00:05:39,458 --> 00:05:44,242 From our side, me personally and the company I run, 61 00:05:44,267 --> 00:05:55,703 we are always ready and willing to help, be it through giving advice, specific instructions, or through placement, in our mutual interest. 62 00:05:55,728 --> 00:06:03,280 Independent business, particularly those created by young people, 63 00:06:03,305 --> 00:06:05,858 have a future. But for what reason? 64 00:06:05,883 --> 00:06:10,828 Because they tend not to be burdened by the past. 65 00:06:10,876 --> 00:06:16,139 Be it through debts, prejudices or connections with politics. 66 00:06:16,164 --> 00:06:23,170 This means that young people can focus on their business and succeed 67 00:06:23,195 --> 00:06:31,776 in developing their companies, their hometowns, whether in the north or south. 68 00:06:31,801 --> 00:06:39,284 We know how they can grow and prosper and how that growth can be accelerated. 69 00:06:39,309 --> 00:06:44,953 The international community, of course, has helped a lot, and it should continue to do so. 70 00:06:44,980 --> 00:06:51,043 The local government should also get involved as much as possible. 71 00:06:51,068 --> 00:06:59,165 We are able to give plenty of suggestions, based on our experience, be it regarding infrastructure solutions, 72 00:06:59,190 --> 00:07:08,493 or other issues. Particularly, if we look back at the current year, which was a very dry year in general. 73 00:07:08,518 --> 00:07:13,524 If, for example, irrigation systems are improving, and proper investment goes into them, 74 00:07:13,549 --> 00:07:30,757 then many young people would start new businesses, but they are oftentimes stopped due to lack of access to financing. 75 00:07:30,782 --> 00:07:39,984 That stops them from bringing their business ideas to fruition.

Last updated: September 22, 2022

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