EU PRO Programme funded by the European Union and the Republic of Serbia
  • Republic of Serbia

Bujanovac, 25 May 2021

Secrets of Domestic Dairy Production from Drežnica

Quality cream and cheese made both according to the old recipe but in compliance with the new standards in Serbia is worth its weight in gold. Since 2018 the Dairy Maj Plus in the village of Drežnica in the municipality of Bujanovac has been committed to improving the quality of milk with the application of HACCP standards and making dairy products of the highest quality. Thanks to the financial support of the European Union through the EU PRO programme, this enterprise got the opportunity to improve its business, and to provide its customers with a whole new range of traditional dairy products.

Nenad Ristić has been selling cheese and cream for a long time, so over the years he has created a group of loyal and regular customers. Although he could always guarantee that he offered his customers fresh products, he could not guarantee the same quality of the products because some suppliers did not always manage to meet the required, high standards. As he wanted to maintain the trust of his customers, Nenad decided to start his own dairy and his own production of cheese and cream.

"On the part of land I had inherited from my father, in 2016 I started building a facility that I later registered as a dairy," says Nenad. "Starting my own production was not easy at all. I had a small duplicator in which the milk was cooked so I failed to respond to market demands and deliver all orders. We did everything on our own - first we boiled the milk, then we neede to move to the next processing process very quickly, and then to repeat it again. My wish was to reach larger production capacities", 

In 2019 Nenad applied for the public call of the EU PRO programme for improving the competitiveness of enterprises and it was a crucial step in his business. "I applied for the European Union grant in order to procure a larger duplicator and thus improve the production system. With the EU donation we received, we now have a new machine that has significantly increased the amount of milk we process, amounting even up to five tons. This support  created the possibility  to start cheese production. In addition to doubling production and sales, I now have a new product that is in high demand. By improving my business, I hired two workers, and expanded  a network of satisfied customers, which is my greatest success. “

Mlekara Maj Plus as a socially responsible enterprise donated its products to the Centre for Children without Parental Care, the Centre for Social Work in Vranje, as well as the Safe House in Vranjska Banja. "I think it is the duty of each of us to help those in need as much as we can. When you visit all those people and see them smiling, then you know that you did the right thing ", Nenad Ristić concluded  his story.

The European Union, in cooperation with the Ministry of European Integration, supported over 200 micro and small enterprises and entrepreneurs with more than 4.3 million Euros through the EU PRO programme. The funds were used for the purchase of new equipment that help the enterprises to improve production and competitiveness and create new jobs.

Through the activities of the EU PRO programme, the European Union contributes to the more balanced socio-economic development of Serbia with a total of 25 million Euros. The programme aims to contribute to increasing the competitiveness of micro and small enterprises, improving the business environment and strengthening social cohesion in 99 local self-government units, in two regions: the Region of Šumadija and Western Serbia and the Region of Southern and Eastern Serbia. The activities in the field are implemented by UNOPS.