Arjeta Selimi from Obiliq says that she regularly consumes local products.
“To be honest, we consume several different products and we often do not know their origin. Personally, I prefer local products, since I have more trust in their quality and freshness. If I do not find a local product, I am forced to get another product,” Selimi says.
She says that she checks for the expiry date whenever she goes to shops or minimarkets to buy food.
“I often leave worried if the dates that are written on the imported products are not real. There are many voices in the streets, that come from minimarkets` employees, that their employers often force them to change the dates of the products on the shelves…,” Selimi adds.
Arben Tershnjaku from the company “Liri”, founded in 1985 in Prizren, which produces Turkish delight, biscuits, krem banane (chocolate bars with banana taste), candies, caramels, wafers, strudels… says that their products fulfill the European standards and their company is certified with HACCP and ISO.
He is satisfied with the consumption of the products of “Liri” in the Kosovar market, even though he admits there is space for improvement.
“Our main rivalry is from Balkan states, but we do not feel threatened,” he says.
Abdurrahman Vërbovci, from Barileva, a village near Prishtina, who grows potatoes, last year produced more than 80,000 kilogram of high quality potatoes.
“Despite the quantity and the quality of the local potato, potatoes from other countries such as Turkey, Albania, Serbia, and some years ago even from Syria continue entering our market. This happens because policies do not support the local producers, specifically us, the potato producers,” he says.
According to Vërbovci, the governmental policies do not support the local producers because oftentimes, they are forced to throw away their products if they can`t sell it.
It is worth mentioning that the Kosovar potato won one of the first places in the competition of quality held some time ago at the Frankfurt Fair.
The conference “Ambienti i Biznesit 2017” (The Business Ambient 2017), was held on February 11th, within the period of small business days. Kosovo former Prime Minister, Isa Mustafa, spoke about local products, along with the improvements of the business environment, fiscal policies and the partnership with businesses which resulted in a 4% economic increase in the region during 2015 and 2016.
“Our products are very attractive if we look at their design, package and also quality, so they do not remain behind the imported products,” he said.
According to the Kosovo Agency of Statistics, data from Foreign Trade in Kosovo shows a 7.4% higher trade deficit, respectively 247 million euro worth compared to the previous year. In the period 2015-2016 Kosovo exported products worth 24.5 million euro, whereas imported foreign products were worth 271.5 million euro.
Kosovar products keep being exported mostly to Germany, Albania, China, etc. whereas they are imported from Germany, Serbia, Turkey etc.
Selatin Kaçaniku from the NGO “Konsumatori” (The Consumer) says that there is not enough consumption of local products and that the production does not even closely fulfill the needs of consumer.
“The law for the protection of the consumer is very little implemented and in these circumstances it is up to everyone to think about the quality/safety of the imported or local products,” he said.