Essential Oil, Tisane Medicinal Herb by dou12761

VIEWS: 199 PAGES: 32


                      Essential Oil, Tisane & Medicinal Herb
                  Production, Processing and Marketing in Kosovo
                                   including other
                Niche-Market High-Value Horticultural Commodities
                               June 3 to June 23, 2003

       As Horticultural Specialist for Kosovo Business Support, Winrock International,
Chemonics International and USAID, my work has been to analyze the situation of
various KBS agribusiness clients, identify specific and general economic opportunities
(and barriers) and to lend useful technical advice wherever applicable.

This report relates to activities and recommendations reported in:

   - Assessment of Specialty Products Sector by Tom Payne, October 27, 2002.
   - Report of Activities – Kosovo Business Support, Tom Easterling, March 21, 2003.
   - Marketing Analysis for Medicinal Herbs, Essential Oils and other Specialty
       Products [KOS 023] by Tim Blakley, April 18, 2003.
   - International Marketing Analysis of Specialty Products [KOS025] by Donna Rosa
       May 9, 2003
   - Identification of Economically Important Medicinal Herbs of Kosovo by Michael
       Thomas, July 4, 2003.
   - More on Herbs and Medicinal Plants of Kosovo. By Jolie Lonner, ~ July 15, 2003

Assessment and Objectives
        Despite substantial potential, only minimal amounts of herbal, medicinal plant
and essential oil goods are cultivated and processed throughout Kosovo. The conflict of
1999 unraveled practically all former outside trade links (many of these were
longstanding) and effectively shut down business and employment in this sector across
the region. Therefore, collection, cultivation, processing and sales of raw material herbs,
berries, and finished herb-based products (especially teas) including essential oils
represent an opportunity for re-growth within the rural economy. This niche market
sector – Herbs of Commerce – if nurtured with sound ecological and economic practice,
should sustain reliable (albeit seasonal) cash income for many Kosovar residents, small
landholders, bulk traders and a few micro and mid-sized ‘finished product’ enterprises.
         In Kosovo, most herbal products consumed and raw materials used for
processing are imported from the neighboring countries of Macedonia, Albania, Serbia
and Montenegro. However, with minimal investment, effective agribusiness intervention
and technical outreach, nascent Kosovar industries could reverse this herbal products
import-export trade imbalance. With in-country resources that currently exist, definitely
Kosovo could provide much of its own domestic consumption of tisanes, culinary and
medicinal herbs and related specialties – with excess for export. The KBS objective is to
make that happen.


        Over twenty days, my technical expertise was distributed over several areas
within the broad scope of specialty agriculture products. Most of my attention was spent
assessing technical and marketing difficulties of KBS clients in the herb and essential oil
sector. My most important tasks were: improving the drying and handling of botanicals
(including bilberries); and advising the improvement of juniper berry essential oil,
leading to its sale.
         However, I also lent other useful information, contributing to KBS project-
related subjects extending beyond the original project scope. These included tidbits on
mushroom culture, controlled atmospheric storage of pears, apples and potatoes,
consumer ready potted culinary herbs, climate data & maps for Kosovo, and a list of
‘New Crops’ adapted for Kosovo. These extraneous topics are summarized in
attachments following the main body of this report.

Date Day      Venue          Client and Activity
June 3, Tuesday - Afternoon flight arrival.
June 4, Wednesday - Office and Orientation
June 5, Thursday - Office
June 6, Friday – Office
June 7, Saturday – Office
June 8, Sunday
June 9, Monday – Office; Meeting with Hysni Gurazin of Agrofarmacija visit with Dr.
              Rexhepi, University of Pristina
June 10, Tuesday – Dragas; Juniper Fructus
June 11, Wednesday - Office
June 12, Thursday –Peja and Istog; Herba and cherry grove land of Agrofarmacija
June 13, Friday – Skopje Macedonia; Alkaloid. Met also with Hysni Gurazin,
              Agrofarmacija at US embassy.
June 14, Saturday – Morning, Pristina, visited vegetable/food market near old mosques.
              Afternoon, Chamber of Commerce Trade Fair, Pristina, met owners of
              Agro-Alba Nursery, and Hugo’s Birraria, Dardane. Botany field trip to
              Shar Mountains.
June 15, Sunday – Skopje Macedonia; Visit green grocers market, herbs being sold.
June 16, Monday – Office; Meeting with Swiss InterCooperation’s Pristina office.
June 17, Tuesday – Pudujeve; visit to Agroprodkt Commerce then Agro-Alba
              Greenhouse and Nursery, Pristina.
June 18, Wednesday – Office
June 19, Thursday - Office; met with Robert Valek, Food Flavor Chemist, Etol Company
              of Slovenia.
June 20, Friday - Office
June 21, Saturday, Botanical Herb identification field trip to Shar Mountains.
June 22, Sunday -
June 23, Monday – Office; fussing with computer and digital images.
June 24, Tuesday – Office; Powerpoint presentation, farewell meeting with Agribis
              group, afternoon flight departure.


Meetings with Mr. Hysni Gurazin of AGROFARMACIJA

Mr. Hysni Gurazin
Brigada 123
044 - 124 680

Wild Crafted Botanicals
Agrofarmacija is hoping to expand into new lines of medicinal & herbal teas, beyond the
standard flavor tisanes available in Kosovo. The owner (Hysni) has been working to
develop an extensive network of herb collectors in Kosovo and has made plans to create a
set of rural collection centers for botanical materials. He has much prior experience
dealing with raw material herbs, and seems quite confident in setting out to accomplish
Agrofarmacija’s business plan goals. Agrofarmacija does have very nice illustrated ‘fact-
sheet’ cards to guide wild-crafters on collection procedures. Hysni has noted, “Potentially
600-700 tons of herbal materials could be collected per annum”.

Plants on Agrofarmacija’s ‘wild-craft’ list:

Common            Scientific name                  Part used      Season     Amount to
name                                                                         be collected
Hornbeam          Carpinus betula                  Leaf           July
Gentian           Gentiana lutea                   Root           Sept.,Oct.
St. John’s Wort   Hypericum perfoliatum            Leaf           June
Dog Rose          Rosa canina                      Fruit, hip     Sept., Oct
Bilberry          Vaccinium myrtilus               Fruit, berry   mid July 2 tons
Juniper           Juniperus communis               Fruit, berry   Autumn
Bearberry         Arctostaphylos uva-ursi          Shoot tip      na         4-5 tons
Nettle            Urtica dioica                    Root           summer

It should be noted that the Kosovo Ministry of Agriculture & Forestry is working toward
a licensing and regulation program for setting standards for businesses and individuals
engaged in wild-craft collection of botanical materials. Such laws are already enacted in
Serbia & Montenegro – as a source of governmental revenue and to protect endangered
species such as Gentiana from over-harvesting.

For its own protection, Agrofarmacija needs to draft policy statements to standardize the
payment for its wild-craft collectors, and a company procedure for docking poor quality
materials and resolving buyer-collector conflict issues. Implementing internal company
standards now, before government standards are imposed would be a great pro-active
company move.

Intended Cultivation of Herbs


Agrofarmacija has plans to develop 76-hectare property for herb cultivation near
Grebnik, midway along the Pristina – Peja road. The land is on a high rolling plateau,
which had been the center of a large cherry orchard operation. The large fruit handling
facility on the property has been devastated from the war, with bomb-craters surrounding
the area. Forty hectares have been certified to be free of land mines.

       Species to begin cultivation for next season, year 2004
       Althea rosea and A. officinalis               Marshmallow, Althea or Hibiscus
       Lavendula spp.                                Lavander
       Marribium spp.                                Horehound
       Matricularia                                  Chamomile
       Melissa officinalis                           Sweet Balm, Lemon Balm
       Mentha piperita                               Peppermint
       Origanum spp.                                 Oregano
       Plantago lanceolata                           Plantain
       Rosmarinus officinalis                        Rosemary
       Salvia officinalis                            Sage
       Valeriana officinalis                         Valerian

I encouraged the production of one of the several types of Spearmint: Mentha longifolia
syn. M. spicata, and M. cardiaca. Spearmint is a flavor that is not available in Kosovo.
The plant is actually more robust than peppermint and could easily be cultivated as one
more herbal crop on his future farm in Grebnik. I also described a perceived opportunity
with the cultivation catnip, Nepeta catarica. [see appendix]

Obviously not all 76 hectares will be planted in herbs at least at the start, therefore
I suggested growing timber crops in outlying areas of his undeveloped land. A crop of
quick-growing hardwoods such as Robinia pseudoacacia or Paulownia tomentosa would
be harvestable for construction timbers or firewood in as little as six to ten years.

Mr. Gurazin needs to increase credibility in his business. His program is an ambitious one
and by ‘wearing too many hats’ he has let some key business-to-business partnership
commitments wane. Apparently he has no one available who can ‘fill-in’ for him.

I recommended that he begin building an Herbal Sample Library, by preserving sub-
samples of commercial botanicals he has collected, cultivated or purchased. This will
allow the comparison of material from season to season for quality control. A simple
method to do this is by filling small plastic zip-lock poly bags with samples from the
commercial lots he receives for making his teas. These zip-lock bags can be labelled
using gummed stickers, recorded with specific lot information: date, species, origin, etc.
These should be stored in library file cabinets. I mentioned that this may seem a boring,
pesky useless routine task, but it would pay big dividends for his business at critical times
down the road. This kind of sample documentation and record keeping is also a valuable
step toward implementation of Good Manufacturing Practice, meeting quality control
expectations for export buyers. Moreover, it increases the professional credibility for his


I reiterated never to underestimate the importance of this task, and to delegate this job to
a single trusted employee. The development of an ‘in-house’ QC expert at Agrofarmacija
- through comparative examination of various herbal materials - should become an
integral part of his business program.

Mr.Gurazin indicated a need for help with laboratory analysis to establish quality
standards for each botanical material. Agrofarmacija incorporates numerous different
botanicals across its line of tea products. A small company starting up does not have the
means to chemically analyze by itself, pay for the testing of each individual ingredient.
Only the very largest food and dietary supplement corporations can absorb these
overhead costs. Major corporations in the business will microbiologically sample dried
plant materials for E. coli, Salmonella and Aspergillus aflatoxins - therefore a sanitary
packaging environment is recommended. Food-grade containers that protect against
rodents should also be used.

Again, for Agrofarmacija, this is why every botanical material going into tea bags must
be inspected closely for contamination and adulteration. Agrofarmacija should consider
purchasing a low power binocular microscope, and an ultra-violet lamp for detection of
fungal molds.

Designs for Herb & Small Fruit Dryers
The wife of Mr. Robert Berlin, Swiss InterCooperation is skilled as a mechanical
graphics designer, and may be enlisted in creating blueprints for drying units. There are
many types and set-ups available on-line, depending on energy inputs and the type of
botanical material to be dehydrated. Hysni has expressed interest in mobile units for his
eight collection points. I believe that developing a practical low cost design is going to
take some prototyping over a few seasons.

Mobile Drying Units                           Stationary drying units
• Trailer mounted                             · Modified tobacco drier
• Tents                                       · Tunnel driers
                                              · Black plastic poly house
                                              · Tray driers

I advocate the use of food-safe plastic wherever possible instead of wood or metal.
Plastic produce or bread loaf trays make ideal supports for drying botanicals.

Use plastic vented trays to dry herbs
Trays ‘nest’ into uniform stacks
Allows air flow from all sides
Light weight
Easy to clean with pressure hose
Dimensions: 50 x 30 x 12 cm


The drying of botanicals is frequently a failure point in start-up operations. For leafy
materials, 32-35ºC (90-95ºF) and roots 43ºC (110ºF) are rules of thumb. What is needed
is good current flow and mixing of air over the botanical surface, and steady heat and low
humidity, less than 40 percent. Cleanliness is important, as botanicals commonly are
found contaminated with filth, rodent excrement and other foreign materials.

 With KBS assistance, Mr. Gurazin, recently [July 2003] visited the United States on a
fact-finding trip visiting growers and companies producing herbs, herbal products and
medicinal plant products. He also planned a visit with Tim Blakley, re-uniting with a
former KBS-Winrock consultant at Frontier Cooperative Herbs, Norway Iowa, Frontier Herbs is one of the largest wholesale suppliers of
consumer herbal products in the US. Frontier’s business credo relentlessly emphasizes
organically grown botanicals.
        I suspect that Hysni will have many new ideas contemplating upon his return to
Kosovo. It would be worthwhile to interview him on his experience, to see if he has made
adjustments to his business plan.

Meeting with Professor Ferat Rexhepi, Botany Department, University of Pristina
June 9, 2003.

I was introduced to Dr. Rexhepi at his campus office by Teuta Gazideda and Tom
Easterling. They have met with him on previous occasions concerning publication of his
upcoming book on the medicinal plants of the Kosovo region.

Earlier that morning I had interviewed Mr. Hysni Gurazin of Agrofarmacija and learned
of Agrofarmacija’s intentions to begin cultivation of eleven herbs in 2004. We went
down this plant list (see: report on Agrofarmacija above) and Professor Rexhepi
concurred that each species was well adapted for cultivation in Kosovo.

I brought to the professor’s attention two potential herb crops with economic potential
both that I believe are being overlooked: Catnip or Catmint, Nepeta catarica, and
Spearmint, Mentha longifolia, syn. M. spicata.

We discussed the climate of Kosovo, the availability of meteorological data and how it
relates to potential crop introductions. I learned that the annual temperature range is –25º
– 35º centigrade. Also, that the warmest region in Kosovo is the White Drini Valley in
Southwestern Kosovo, near Prizren.

JUNIPER FRUCTUS - Essential Oil Distillery, Dragaš

Juniper Fructus, Dragaš
Ibrahim Rexhepi
Tel: 020 81 333
044 203 205


063 8545914

This is a brand new distillery operation located in the Shar Mountains in the southern
‘finger’ of Kosovo. Wild-crafted juniper berries are locally hand collected by the tons;
some are distilled, the remainder being sold as dry whole berries. Mr. Rexhepi built the
facility from blueprint designs obtained from the Medicinal Aromatic Plant Institute in

Live steam distillations are powered by a diesel fuel boiler, running at the head at 6-10
bar. Steam of 5-6 bar working pressure is injected into the bottom of the still. There is
one vessel that holds 1.5 tons of berries per distillation.

The big issue of Juniper Fructus’ juniper berry oil is its unrefined state, which can be
good or bad, depending to whom you are speaking. There are many monikers for natural
untouched, once distilled oils from the farm: ‘pure’ ‘green’, ‘crude’, ‘unrectified’, ‘un-
redistilled’, and ‘un-fractionated’. Aromatherapy practitioners esteem these types of oil
most, and label them as ‘complete oils’ – oil that most truly represents the natural
attributes of the plant.

A food scientist, flavor chemist or perfumer would completely disagree. For industrial
purposes, crude juniper berry oil must be further refined and manipulated. This
refinement can be accomplished using several chemical methods to yield a ‘rectified’,
‘folded’ ‘de-terpenated’ or ‘redistilled’ juniper berry oil. Rectified oils have their
‘turpentine-like’ molecules removed; this improves flavor, in addition allows easy
blending into beverages, foods and fragrances.

Product         Market                  Disadvantage          Advantage       Value
Dried           Demand fluctuates       Bulky, requires       No processing   Very low
Juniper                                 storage               Not
Berries                                                       perishable
Crude           Aromatherapy, hand      Does not meet         Simple steam    Medium
complete oil    craft soap low volume   Flavor fragrance      distillation    high
                niche markets           standards
Rectified oil   Food beverage &         Technical 2nd step    Meets           Higher than
                fragrance               that results in       accepted        crude oil
                                        ~50% yield loss.      industry

Twisting matters further, there exists a third type of juniper berry oil on the market that is
a by-product of distillation of gin type beverages. According to Guenther [The Essential
Oils, Vol.6, 1950] “in Yugoslavia…large quantities of juniper berries are used
domestically for distillation of ‘Borovička’ a very popular alcoholic beverage. This by-
product juniper oil constitutes the large part of commercial juniper berry on the American
market. …1,000kg of juniper berries yield from 16 to 18 liters of alcoholic beverage
(50% alcohol) and 5 to 6 kg of essential oil.” This by-product oil is considered to be
inferior to the oil from direct steam distillation of berries.


Certificate of Juniper Berry Essential Oil Analysis by Gas Chromatography from the Dr.
Josif Panič Institute of Belgrade:

       Constituent                               (%)
       alpha-thujene                               1.6
       alpha-pinene                               34.3
       Sabinene                                    4.8
       Beta pinene                                 2.1
       Myrcene                                    12.0
       Limonene                                    4.9
       Gamma terpenine                             3.5
       Terpenolene                                 2.2
       Terpene-4-ol                                7.9
       Beta caryophylene                           2.3
       Alpha humulene                              1.7
       Germacrene D                                3.9
       Gamma cadinene                              1.9
                                 total            79.1

Should Juniper Fructus Redistill or Rectify Juniper Berry Oil?

The juniper berry essential oil distilled by Juniper Fructus in 2002 is not readily
marketable. The reason for this is that it does not pass standard chemical constituent
specifications for juniper berry oil desired by international flavor houses.
We investigated methods and possible scenarios for improving oil quality to make the
more oil marketable. ‘Standard’ quality juniper berry oils sold on the market are rectified,
or redistilled. Juniper Fructus presently does not have the equipment or expertise to
complete this important secondary step to increase the organoleptic desirability of its

Oil can be redistilled by vacuum distillation, steam injection distillation, or thin film
distillation. It can be rectified in 95% ethyl alcohol, via liquid-layer separation of the
alcohol insoluble terpene ‘heads’ (the low boiling constituents), and then recover and
concentrate the desirable high boiling ‘oxygenated’ flavor constituents by vacuum
distillation. These processes require a dedicated laboratory facility, equipped with large
flasks, heating mantles, condensers, receivers and vacuum pumps. Professional skills
needed for rectification/redistillation require a moderate amount of chemical-technical
expertise. Beyond this, some using some sort of chemical analysis, (a gas chromatograph
or silica TLC) would be recommended to establish and maintain parameters of standard
oil quality.

I concluded that Ibrahim would not be able to redistill his own oil at his Dragaš facility.


In discussion with Mel Jolly, Dairy Products Specialist and Chemical Engineer, we
determined the most practical alternatives to re-distillation:

       1) Contract out the rectification step to someone in the industry who has
       experience in doing re-distillation and fractionating work. A Slovenian company,
       Etol may be able to help Juniper Fructus with this.

       2) Develop a partnership business scheme inviting interested parties who could
       provide the capital and necessary technical skills and set-up a re-distillation

       3) Sell “as is” for greatly reduced price, ~ 50€/kg to an essential oil ‘finishing’

       4) Sell to aromatherapy and handcraft soapmaking markets, where undistilled oils
       are preferred, and quality less important.

Juniper Fructus needs assistance with selling juniper berry oil. Juniper Fructus has 300 kg
unrectified juniper berry oil that needs to be sold. Consultant Donna Rosa worked
feverishly to find buyers for this oil, hundreds of letters and emails were sent worldwide.
Bottles of essential oil samples were shipped to those that expressed interest.
Furthermore, I contacted individuals in the hand-craft soap business trade in the US about
the juniper berry oil to find only limited interest at a price of 80€/kg. Recently there has
been interest in this oil by buyers for Robert Tisserand Co. in the UK.


Teuta Gazideda has been keeping up with the stream of correspondence concerning the
‘offer to sell’ letters sent out by Donna Rosa.

 I recommend Juniper Fructus to start a batch labeling and documentation program. Have
some pretty bottle labels printed. Purchase appropriate sized bottles ready for sending
sample amounts to prospective customers.

It is recommended that the Josif Panič institute be approached to see if they could provide
additional quality information. A gas chromatography constituent profile for a high
quality juniper berry essential oil would be nice for comparative purposes.

Juniper berry oil quality was rejected in a faxed letter, 28 May, 2003, received from
Richard Pisano, President Citrus & Allied Essences, Ltd. Mr. Pisano indicated that the oil
had a very low percent of desirable high boiling constituents. He suggested that the
berries had been improperly distilled, that the higher boiling constituents were not fully
extracted from the charge. Whether the oil was actually poorly distilled is open to


question. It could be that his company instead requires rectified, redistilled oil, which
contains much higher percent proportions of higher boiling constituents.

However, the Citrus Allied Ltd. letter gave other useful information. For instance that his
company purchases a “few drums” of juniper berry oil from Eastern Europe each year.
Assuming “a few” means three 200 liter barrels, assuming a price of 80 Euros/kilo, their
purchases exceed 40,000 Euros per annum.

Mr. Pisano urged Juniper Fructus to improve its record keeping:
       1) Segregate the oil samples by lot number
       2) Indicate the quantity (volume) within each bottle

Mr. Pisano also inquired about any other essential oils being produced in Kosovo.

Mr. Rexhepi also has 40 mT of dried juniper berries in his inventory. His facility is
crammed (office and hallways) with sacks of juniper berries, as he has no dedicated
warehouse space for botanical storage. He mentioned that he had a sale pending for
20mT, but was having difficulty closing the sale with the buyers? There seemed to be an
issue with trust – whether payment would be made before or after delivery.

Other Botanicals at Juniper Fructus
 Ibrahim has several sacks of dried gentian root – Gentiana lutea, a.k.a. ‘bitter root’. This
is not Ginseng! Consultant Tim Blakely previously observed that the quality was low, as
it had been improperly dried.
        We also saw bags of dried Nettle Root – Urtica dioica and Elderberry flowers -
Sambucus nigra. These are commonly used in herbal tisanes, and may have been
intended for sale to Agrofarmacija. It seemed that Ibrahim should be able to sell his
botanicals to more than one costumer.

In the area of dried botanicals, KBS could assist Juniper Fructus;

       1) By creating a direct linkage to Alkaloid in Skopje to sell nettle root, elder
       flowers, gentian and other botanicals.

       2) Increase Ibrahim’s B2B communication capabilities using FAX, Email,
       electronic money transfer and website.

Long term directions:

• Find means to de-terpenate, redistill or rectify essential oil – this could eventually be
done in-house over a few years of learning – or better instead, ‘farm out’ this task on sub-
contract, or through partnering with an essential oil flavor house.
• Learn to interpret gas chromatography results from oil analysis.


• Find market for Pinus alba essential oil and others. There are several other local
aromatic tree and wild-craft herb species that have oils that may be marketable. Be
certain to identify a buyer before distilling a large inventory.
• Distill cultivated herbs. For instance, I suspect that Dragas is a fantastic place to grow
lavender, better the more robust lavender hybrid called ‘lavandin’. Bulgaria is the largest
producer. Angelica (Angelica archangelica) would be another to consider.
• Become the Dragas region’s collection point for wild-crafted bilberries and aromatic
• Rent a secure, dry garage warehouse space to store botanicals. Perhaps the abandoned
factory across the road could be used?
• Work toward organic certification, or least ‘Good Agricultural Practice’ goals.

Visit to ALKALOID, a major botanical products trader in Skopje, Macedonia.

Pharmaceutical Chemical Cosmetic Industry
PC Botanicals
Blvd. ‘Aleksander Makedonski’ 12
1000 Skopje Macedonia

Mr. Branko Popovski                           Mrs. Branislava Cvetanovska Kalcovska
Associate director of PC                      Export-import Botanicals
+ 389 (0) 2 3 175 531; 104 275                + 389 (0) 2 3 104 047; 104 266
+ 389 (0) 2 3 104 014; 104 036                + 389 (0) 2 3 104 014; 104 036
Email:             email:

Alkaloid is a big business, with branch offices all over ex-Yugoslavia. They are proud of
their status of having organic certification, which is expensive for them to maintain,
albeit apparently worth it commercially. Alkaloid is a major supplier of raw tea materials
to Herba and Agrifarmacija, and it represents a potential large-volume buyer for herbs
and dried bilberries coming out of Kosovo.
         Our meeting was very cordial, and their experts were very helpful and sharing
information about their business. Alkaloid runs several collection centers for wild-crafted
herbs across Macedonia. It was obvious that such systems being planned across Kosovo
would mimic those already in place in Macedonia.
         They are interested in buying bilberries from Kosovo, but they must first pass
their laboratory quality control specifications. A QC spec sheet was given to us, but now
is in the possession of Mr. Hysni Gurazin of Agrofarmacija. It is very important to collect
early ripening bilberries, dry them to meet Alkaloid’s specifications, and submit them to
their Skopje laboratory. If the Kosovo bilberries pass muster, then hundreds of metric
tons can be picked and dried, using the mushroom drying facility at AgroProdukt


HERBA, Tea Producer and its Cooperative Growers

       Mr. Rasim Shatri                      Naser Shatri          Maxhun Shehaj
       Herba                                 Grower                Crops Field Officer
       Tel: 44 220 693; 039 25 365           44 282 515            InterCooperation

Tea Bagging Operation
Herba produced over 600,000 boxes of tea in 2002 using a small tea-bagging machine
that is located inside a domestic residence near Peja. Herba. Mr. Shatri has been making
good use of older equipment, but now needs to begin Good Manufacturing Practice. For
instance, the room where the tea bagging process is done is a bit grungy, with an open
window and ceiling cobwebs. The process is by nature a dusty one, but better efforts
should be made to clean the entire operation. Another food contamination issue is with
the careless handling of the botanical tea ingredients while smoking cigarettes. Boxes of
botanical materials should be kept off the floor and stored on industrial shelving, not
scattered about the room and down the hallway.

I recommend the same procedures laid out for Agrofarmacija for documenting the quality
and consistency of the botanicals incorporated into Herba’s tea products [see page 4 of
this report]. Rasim seems fortunate in that he seems to have family and community
surrounding him that contributes to his enterprise. He also has developed an alliance with
a network of growers for herb production. This lets him focus on his real business of
packaging and marketing tea.

Herba has been importing most of its botanical materials from the ALKALOID company
in Skopje, Macedonia. The ‘cut and sifted’ material comes in large cardboard cartons and
seems to be of high quality. It is expensive purchase imported materials - this has led to
the development of a program to grow many of the high-demand tea herbs locally. Swiss
InterCooperation (as well as KBS) has been in assistance for this effort.

Herb Grower Cooperative
Five Cooperative growers around Istog have begun to cultivate the following herbs.
   - Peppermint ‘Black Mitcham’
   - Sweet Balm
   - Althea
   - Chamomile
   - Oregano

Excepting peppermint, each of the other herb crops were established this year (2003).
The plantings seem to be thriving, although when I visited he plots, the transplants had
just recently been put in the soil. Mr. Maxhun Shehaj (InterCooperation) was overseeing
establishment of these ‘new crops’ and seemed to have the growing situation proceeding
in a positive direction.


Using a modified tobacco leaf drying shed as an herb dryer.

Swiss InterCooperation has purchased a tobacco drying shed to be used for drying the
herbs produced by the local grower cooperative. The walk-in shed holds about 3.5 MT
fresh hay capacity and should be able to yield 700kg of dry material from each filling
cycle. Modifications to the dryer were called for because the tobacco plant leaf size, and
the process of tobacco leaf drying is somewhat different than what is needed for drying
assorted herbal materials.
        The old ‘pin racks’ provided for tobacco need be discarded for a new drying tray
design. The forced air flow system in the dryer should be altered into a ‘one-pass’ flow
system rather than a recirculating flow system. Commercial tobacco leaf is never over-
dried, therefore some moisture is designed to be retained in a tobacco shed. This is why
cigars are kept in humidors. But herbs require much more dehydration; therefore all the
moist air must be expelled, not recirculated. With the dry summer relative humidity
typical of Kosovo, I recommended that they attempt running the dryer without employing
the forced-air furnace heater. Ambient heat and dry moving air may be sufficient alone to
dry herb hay that has been previously dried down some in field windrows. Passive
internal heating of the shed could be increased by painting the roof black. Temperature
and humidity should be monitored. Small digital devices are cheaply available for this,
and are much more practical than using an old-fashioned sling psychrometer. Mercury
thermometers should never be allowed inside the shed.

Ultimately, the mechanically-minded members of the Istog herb grower’s cooperative
will have to apply themselves in practical invention to alter the shed to fit their needs.
The drying regimen for tough gentian roots will be much different leafy material, flowers
or berries. Different types of drying racks may be needed according to the botanical
forms: root, fruit, flower or leaf. When the shed is freshly packed with material holding a
high percentage moisture, turning on the diesel fuel heating system would be
recommended to drive away enough moisture quickly, halting all fungal growth or
internal tissue fermentation.

Improvements to be made to the herb dryer
• Retrofit to a tray drying system.
• Install equipment to monitor time, temperature, humidity.
• Improve air flow balance, alter to a one-pass system.
• Paint the roof flat black to absorb solar heat.

The folks working most closely with the operations of the drying shed should keep an
official record notebook for the unit, perhaps in a guard box near the doors.


       Fehmi Against No.3 Arberia/Dragodan
       PO Box No.2 Pristina 38000 KOSOVO


       Tel/Fax +381 (0) 38 243 034
       Mr. Robert Berlin
        Mobile: +377 (0) 44 500547
       Mr. Faton Nagavci
        Mobile: +377 (0) 44 500549

Met with Mr. Robert Berlin and Mr. Faton Nagavci of Swiss InterCooperation at the
offices nearby KBS in Pristina. InterCooperation works ‘on the ground’ with Herba and
has funds for capital investments. We discussed the design and working of the forced-air
tobacco drying shed near Peja that they purchased for a cooperative group of herb
growers in partnership with Herba. We discussed the re-circulation of the air through the
chamber, the need for basic monitoring of temperature and humidity and a re-design of
tray tables for the herbs and materials to be dried.

 I showed Robert and Faton a small digital temperature and moisture measuring device
that would be ideal for monitoring the drying conditions inside the shed. I also lent a
practical text “Drying Farm Crops” so that it could be photocopied for their use.

A plan to test the dryer with herbs and bilberries was discussed using plastic ventilated
trays. A source of trays, approximately .5x.3x.1 meter in dimension has been identified
from a plastics extruding manufacturer in Macedonia. I also noticed that beside the Vero
Market in Skopje a vast pile of slightly broken plastic trays, which would be serviceable
for drying herbs. These could be bought cheaply and repaired with a little wire and

Robert reported that peppermint stolons and Althea (marshmallow) root heads were
purchased from an unnamed source, at an unknown cost from Serbia. 1.2 tons of
peppermint stolons were planted in December 2001. 360kg of Althea were planted,
covering 0.45 hectare.

We discussed harvesting of Mentha. Robert claimed that this Kosovar peppermint
harvested last season (2002) was aromatically more potent and organoleptically superior
to the material imported via Alkaloid in Macedonia. I warned that cutting thrice would
deplete the stand of mint over a few years time, and that fertilizer supplementation would
be critical if a routine of three foliage cuts annually was planned. The type of fertilizer
selected will determine whether the mint can be certified as organic. Organic certification
for instance, precludes the use of super phosphate-based nutrients.

Weed control of mint is done manually and remains the method of choice. I mentioned
that geese are useful in removing weeds from mint.

Verticillium wilt is a soil borne root disease that can devastate peppermint stands.
Growers should be on the watch for patches of die-off in the field. If any such wilting and
dying is experienced; the infected section of the field should be isolated by trenching


around it. Vegetation in die-off areas should be destroyed, and this area should not be re-
planted with mint for 7-10 years. Other crops such as maize can be planted. All tools used
in and out of infected fields including truck tires should be washed (a bleach-water
solution is best) before using again in other fields.

From December through March, new stands of mint can be planted using stolons from
older plantings. Mint stolons are dug from the earth with potato harvesting forks. Digging
out one hectare of mint stolons yields five acres of new plantings. Alternatively, mint can
be started by rooting above ground vegetative cuttings. This method removes any
possibility of transferring Verticillium into new plantings.

Faton Nagavci indicated that peppermint was ready to be harvested the week of June 23
and that we should visit the operation near Peja again to oversee the harvest and loading
of the modified tobacco dryer. Unfortunately there was a delay due to rain, and my
remaining time in Kosovo as consultant was ending.

We discussed vegetative propagation of Melissa officinalis (Lemon Balm, Sweet Balm). I
suggested propagules of 10cm with two nodes. The plant stocks set out this year came
from Serbia, which doubtless had been vegetative grown. It is also possible to raise
Melissa from seed. Like mint, Melissa is well adapted to the Kosovo climate and can
spread like a weed. There should be little difficulty in increasing this crop into several
hundreds of hectares. Septoria leaf spot is a plant disease to watch for - it is a problem in
the Midwestern US – but it may not be a problem in Kosovo where summers are dry and
less humid.

Althea (marshmallow) can be raised vegetatively from ‘root heads’ (crowns?) or from
seed. I suggested using existing commercial nursery greenhouses from the Pristina area
[Adem & Bahrie Durmishi of Agro-Alba] to grow ‘starts’ of Melissa, Althea and other
herbs on contract for the growers in Peja. Robert Berlin thought this would be unfeasible
because of the distance and difficulty in transporting flats of young plants from Pristina
out to the rural areas. Kosova is a small area - I believe the distances are not too great,
especially considering that the Serbian source of their current ‘starts’. He preferred
instead to grow the ‘starts’ in the Peja vicinity if possible. We also learned that the owner
of Herba, Rasim Shatari had little personal interest in actively cultivating herbs himself.
He would rather purchase raw materials in cooperative agreement with local farmers.

Sacred Circle Herb Company
Sacred Circle Association                 [See appendix with SCH grant proposal]
Dr. Sally Cooper N. D.
Qyshk, Peja, Kosovo
0 44 300 484


Sacred Circle is a ‘for profit’ natural herb company owned and run by ~ 50 Qyshk village
war widows. It is the brain child of Sally Cooper. Economic start-up support for SCH has
been by non-profit foundation, Miracle Struggle of California.

Sacred Circle Herbs produces nutritional and cosmetic products using extracts from
locally growing plants and locally collected beeswax.

Assistance needs:
• Access to better packaging materials, glass and plastic jars, bottles
• Herbal Extract Press
• Gelatin capsules
• UPC code labels printed on product labels
• Website

AGRO-ALBA - Greenhouse Nursery Operation - Pristina, Kosovo

       Adem and Bahrie Durmishi Owners
       Pristina, Kosovo
       Tel 381 38 515 847, Mobile 377 44 257 637

Returning to Pristina from AgroProdukt, we visited the greenhouse-hothouse nursery operation
owned by Adem and Bahrie Durmishi. I had met them a few days beforehand at the Chamber of
Commerce Fair in Pristina. From Tim Blakley’s report, I was interested in seeing the quality of
this operation and to understand if the owners would be able or willing to consider growing starts
for growers supporting Herba in Peja or Agrofarmacija.

   - The owners are expanding into new greenhouse of 5000m2
   - Open-minded, able and willing to try growing into new areas.
   - Successful in growing peppers, tomatoes and flowers.
   - Could provide vegetative propagule ‘starts’ for Herba and Agrofarmacija
   - Should consider market for potted culinary herbs.

Agro-Alba has the potential to really ‘take off’ business-wise. Located along a main road
on the outskirts of Pristina, they could increase business tremendously if they built an
ostensible retail outlet with convenient parking. They do little advertising, and they
should try running adds in newspapers or radio when they have a seasonal crop of
ornamental flowers such as mums or geraniums ready for sale.
        Additionally they could sell potted culinary herbs. They already were growing
basil, but mentioned that it didn’t sell well. The problem is that their basil was planted in
plastic nursery bags, in poor condition on the floor within the huge greenhouse. They
need to grow such consumer-ready herbs in good-looking plastic ‘azalea pots’ keeping


them in good full shape. In short, they need to be dressed up. Each plant should also have
a sticker with the Agro-Alba label. Already Alpha Market in Pristina sells similar
ornamental plants; (no fresh herb plants yet) with a little strategic business-to-business
intervention, Agro-Alba could easily begin selling plants and culinary potted herbs there.

On a trip with Glenn Surabian, we purchased a good-looking culinary basil plant in the
green grocer market in Skopje, Macedonia. No such item is available in Kosovo.

Potted Culinary Herbs to Grow
    - Basil (large and small leaf varieties)
    - Rosemary
    - Sage
    - Parsley (flat and curly leaf varieties)

Agro-Alba is a KBS client, but not actually in the Agbiz group. We [Winrock-KBS
consultants] have visited Adem and Bahrie perhaps too often, and I sensed a degree of
client fatigue. If we could help them get into this fresh culinary/ornamental herb market,
maybe this would be a redemption for all the time these busy folks have spent politely
talking to our teams.


A plant hardiness zone map of Kosovo is needed

Climatologically data, particularly topographic relief maps indicating minimum low
winter temperature extremes (also seasonal precipitation) are needed for selection of
agricultural and horticultural crops in any terrain. Freezing temperature periods and low-
temperature minimums - the number of frost-free growing days - set the limits of what
crops can and cannot be grown. Kosovo’s geography has significant vertical relief, which
create intergrading, close proximity microclimates from valley floors to elevated plains
and mountain slopes.

Kosovo seems to have no such maps. Professor Rexhepi and others have indicated to me
that there are weather stations scattered throughout Kosovo, so it is possible that such
hardiness zone maps could be created by compiling sets of low temperature-date records.
If anyone would take on such a project (a meteorologist?) to generate a cold hardiness
and growing season map of regional Kosovo, this would be highly appreciated and quite
useful for agronomists and horticulturalists in the following years.

Around Pristina, (elev. 500m) the reliable frost-free growing season is 180 days or 6
months - late April to early November and sometimes longer. I reckon that the climate is
similar to that of Tennessee, but with drier, less humid summers. On average, Kosovo is
in USDA Zone 6. The area around Prizren has the warmest microclimate in Kosovo
[USDA Zone 7] due to warm Adriatic air flowing into the White Drini Valley (elev.
300m). For instance, Figs can be grown in Prizren, but only marginally (with winter
damage) in Pristina. Higher elevations in Kosovo should be considered USDA Zone 5.

General Growing Conditions for Kosovo
      • Rich glaciated soils
      • 275 sunny days per annum
      • -25° to +35°C temp range
      • 0.6 – 1m annual precipitation
      • ± 180 day growing season

Internet sites for climate data for Kosovo:

The very best internet site for all kinds of maps of Kosovo

This fabulous website is offered by the Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection from the
University of Texas. This collection contains a world wide assortment of geopolitical,
geographical land feature, military and CIA country maps. Very useful.


Saturday, June 14

Meeting with Mr. Robert Valek, Fruit flavor Extract Specialist
        Mr. Robert Valek
        Tovarna Arom in Etericnih OlJ, d.d.                   Tel: +386 (0) 3 42 77 224
        3001 Celje                                            Fax: +386 (0) 3 42 77 118
        Skofja vas 39                               
        SLOVENIJA p.p. 426                                    email:
Mr. Valek is a great resource for aromatic flavors and natural fruit based colorants
commonly used in juices. We discussed ‘forest fruits’ a juice flavor that is derived from
blackberry and wild strawberry. Bilberries may also be included in this mix. He was very
knowledgeable about elderberry. It is cultivated in Austria for the high polyphenolic
anthocyanin pigments in their fruits, which are added to wine, juices and yogurts. Also
there are white berry varieties of elderberry that are valuable as additives to wine. White
elderberry flavor adds a pleasant ‘Muscat Grape’ aroma to bland wines.
        He also mentioned that there is a market for black currant oil [Bucco Oil] that
fetches 5,000€/kg!

Elderberry Fruits and Elder Flowers from Sambucus nigra

A. Berries
Elderberry (Sambucus nigra) fruits offer another local shrub holding economic potential.
Plants are native and abundant locally, found in nearly every rural area. Elderberries can
be dried in the exact same manner as bilberries.
        The berries are used as a natural food colorant in juices, wine and yoghurt. See
discussion with Robert Valek of Etol [above in this report] also see

Artemis International, a company from Fort Wayne
Indiana that specializes in manufacturing standardized elderberry extracts. I know
(personal information) they have a processing plant in Italy near the Switzerland border.
They purchase tons of cultivated elderberries from Austria. One of Artemis
International’s problem is a tariff war between the US and EU. There is a 100% duty on
all fruit juice products coming into the US, from the EU. Since Kosovo is not a member,
production here would offer substantial savings to them.

B. Dried Flowers
Elder flowers are already wild-craft harvested in Kosovo for use in tisanes (herbal
infusions, or teas). We have seen dried elder flowers at Juniper Fructus, as well at the
tobacco drying shed near Peja. Artemis International also is interested in elder flowers.



Someone could make a lot of money getting to the cultivation of small fruits, specifically
for the fruit juice natural colorant market. Elderberry (both colors), Aronia, Ribes and
big-fruited blueberries would be the best selections.


Opportunities in Catnip, Nepeta catarica

As an Insect Repellant
        Researchers from Iowa State University announced at the American Chemical
Society meetings, Chicago 2001, that the essential oil of catnip (also known as catmint)
was ten times more potent as a mosquito repellant than DEET (N,N-diethyl toluamide).
DEET, which is a known neurotoxin has been the standard commercial insect repellant
used since the second world war. A ‘Use Patent’ has been issued by the USTPO for
catnip essential oil, and is granted to the developing researchers, the USDA and Iowa
State University.
        With or without license for use, the international market for alternative natural
insect repellants – natural insect repellants that actually work – is enormous. To date, no
one seems to be taking advantage of this opportunity.
        For this product to be developed, catnip oil products will need to be ‘worked-up’
into consumer grade products. Ideally, an existing cosmetics or pharmaceutical company
could partner in this venture. Catnip essential oil would need to be emulsified into oil-
glycerin type-lotions, or incorporated into a carrier solution for mist sprayers.

Organic Catnip Oil
       Essential oil of Catnip (Nepeta) could be marketed in bulk, with certified organic
Nepeta Oil selling for a premium. Non-organic oil sells today in the United States for +
$200 kilogram. Assuming the primary use for this oil would be for animal use, secondary
refinement, (rectification or redistillation) would not be necessary. Small sales at the
beginning of production would provide a small amount of cash flow during the lag-time
for product development of catnip-based insect repellant for retail markets.

Herbal Pet Inebriant
Catnip is well known for its playful gift on the behaviour of cats. Less well known is a
similar feline effect of the roots of Valleriana officinalis, a native Kosovo species that is
available in large amounts for wildcrafting harvests. A mixture of both herbs is produces
a synergistic effect on Felix domesticus. Cello-wrapped sachets of dried, blended catnip
and valerian herb could easily be marketed to EU pet stores under the proposed ‘Kosova
Kat’ moniker.

Mini Marketing Plan for Catnip
Develop a brand label, could be used for catnip and other herb products as well, for
instance ‘Kosova Kat’ products;
    - insect repellant
    - organic essential oil for wholesale markets
    - pet inebriants + Valeriana officinalis
    - bulk dried herb

Production of catnip would result in products of two categories,
   1) Value-Added
   2) Bulk Wholesale Commodity.


                       New Crop suggestions for Kosovo

Fruit Crops          Scientific name          growing zone    Comments
Juneberry            Amelanchier spp.                         Unknown in
                                                              Kosovo. Easy to
                                                              grow and
Chokeberry,           Aronia                                  Yield 10kg/bush
Chokecherry           melanocarpa                             For juice.
Apples – Rust         Malus
resistant vars.
Pears Asian           Pyrus
Fig                   Ficus carica            Drini Valley
Kiwi – hardy types    Actinidia deliciosa,    Drini Valley    The major
                      A. arguta, A.                           drawback is the
                      chinensis                               expense of
                                                              establishing the
Blueberry,            Vaccinium               Cooler zones,
Highbush              corymbosum              Acid soils
Mulberry, large       Morus alba
fruited domestic
varieties, red,
black and white
Rowanberry            Sorbus acuparia
Elderberry, wild      Sambucus nigra                          Fruit and flowers
and improved                                                  are valuable
Currants and          Ribes spp.                              For juice.
Honeysuckle,          Lonicera caerulea
Kaki Persimmon        Dyosporos

Lavender              Lavendula                               Should be well
Lavendin              officinalis and                         adapted. Steady
                      hybrids                                 market for oil.
Rosemary              Rosmarinus                              Culinary fresh
                      officianalis                            herb
Basil, Genovese-      Ocimum basilicum                        Culinary fresh
type and                                                      herb
Spearmint             Mentha longifolia,                      Different than


                      M. cardiaca, M.                           peppermint!
Catnip                Nepeta catarica                           For cats, against
Sage                  Salvia officinalis                        For tea and
                                                                culinary uses
Hops                  Humulus lupulus                           Dry summers
                                                                make this well-
                                                                suited for Kosovo.
                                                                Must be trellised.

Nut Crops
Pecan                 Carya illinoiensis                        Widely unknown
                                                                across Europe.
Walnut                Juglans regea?                            Market already
Improved varieties                                              exists
Hazelnut              Corylus spp.                              Market already
Improved varieties                                              exists
Chestnut              Castanea silvatica                        Timber tree also

Mustard greens        Brassica nigrum                           Easy to grow
                      and others
Kale, Collards,       Brassica spp.                             Easy to grow
Swiss Chard,          Beta vulgaris
green and red
Potatoes,             Solanum               Grow in loose       A good export
specialty types,      tuberosum             soils at higher     crop, relatively
purple pigmented,                           elevations          non-perishable
Seed Potatoes         Solanum               Loose soils at      Hook up with
                      tuberosum             higher elevations   companies from
                                                                the Netherlands


                                    Project Proposal
                                    Rreth I Shenjtë

Product Subsidizes and Educates Returnee and Minority Communities
              ~Budget requested from Kosovo Women’s Initiative~

Budget Narrative
We project an inspiring educational summer bringing the widows of Qyshk into the
returnee and minority communities of Brezovice, Grazhdevace and Mahala Batas to
donate our high quality nutritional supplement, Mashallah Green. In the process of this
donation, the widows and the recipients will encounter the new worlds that each has
developed since the war. Below is a modest budget for the beginning of a long-term peace
and health-building program. The beneficiaries of this project will receive advanced
health information regarding “health-building” and “health maintenance” as a new
approach to life, replacing the “wait to get sick, then take a drug” approach as well as a
substantial amount of product with which to start their new program, and information on
how to create a similar product themselves.

Project Budget (all amounts in Euros)
 ITEM                             Cost/     Qty.      Total      Requested
                                  Unit                Cost       Amount
 Mashallah Green- Immune               0.10    30,000      3,000      3,000
 Supplement (per capsule)                        Caps
 Transportation                     150.00       3 mo        450        450
 Communication                        50.00      3 mo        150        150
 Trainer Stipends (4)               400.00       3 mo      1200        1200
 Educational materials               50-75       3 mo        200        200
 TOTAL                                                     5,000      5,000

Rreth I Shenjtë____
Qyshk, Kosovo

Local Coordinator
Ryve Lushi
Peje, Kosovo


                            Sacred Circle Herb Company

Project Summary:         Development of a new natural herb company in Qyshk, Kosovo,
                         collectively owned and run by war widows of the village. The
                         women will collect and cultivate indigenous herbs, producing a
                         line of nutritional products, which will be marketed in Kosovo
                         and abroad. A special health awareness campaign will coincide
                         with subsidized donations of this preventative medicine to the
                         malnourished Roma communities around Kosovo.
Total Budget:            38,750 Euros
Request:                 33,750 Euros
Project Dates:           April – September 2003
Location:                Qyshk, Kosovo
Project Goal:            To create a means for the widows of Qyshk to be financially
                         self-sustained by producing natural herbs, teas, and nutritional
                         supplements that promote healthy living for people.

                                   Contact Information
Sacred Circle Association                     Miracle Struggle
Dr. Sally Cooper N. D.                        Rob and Barbara Shepard
Qyshk, Peja, Kosovo                           Dunsmuir, California, USA
+377 (0)44 300 484                            +1 (530) 235 4253             

  1.     Background and Necessity
 On May 14, 1999, Yugoslav paramilitary squads rounded up all the people in the village
 of Qyshk, Kosovo. They separated the men and boys from the women, forcing them
 into three houses. They shot them, and then set fire to the houses. The massacre took
 the lives of 52 men, leaving more than 40 widows to struggle for survival, without hope,
 or means of supporting themselves or their children.

 In the Spring of 2001, Dr. Sally Cooper began to make frequent visits to the widows of
 Qyshk. Dr. Cooper, a naturopathic doctor living in Peja with her family since the end of
 the war, provided therapeutic massage workshops, led dance and exercise classes, and
 encouraged the women to imagine a collective business that could lift them out of
 poverty. After several concepts were explored, the group decided to gather and prepare
 local herbs to create nutritional products. Dr. Cooper has a professional background in
 the study and use of herbs, and with her husband, Dr. Alan Cooper D.C., owned and
 operated New Life Health Institute in Mt. Shasta, California for thirteen years. She
 found the Peja region, in particular the Rugova Mountains, abundant with valuable
 healing plants. Several of the widows already had a basic understanding and familiarity
 of their uses.


 This past Summer and Fall, the group of 10 women and their daughters have been
 collecting these plants from the mountains and fields and drying them at their rented
 facility. Combining herbs with bee’s wax from their village, they have developed a
 healing skin salve, which soothes and remedies rashes, burns, and dry skin. An infused
 herbal tincture has been made to calm headaches. Several teas have been made. A new
 industrial herb grinder donated by Miracle Struggle Foundation specifically for this
 project was inaugurated, grinding a mixture of potent herbs into a green powder, which
 taken in capsules or mixed in a drink, provides a powerful dose of vitamins and
 nutrients for building stamina and boosting the immune system’s ability to prevent
 sickness. The group is developing an herbal supplement, which will be instrumental in
 cleansing the body of kidney stones, a common illness in Kosovo due to the drinking
 water’s high mineral content.

 Due to lack of public awareness around nutrition and natural healing in Kosovo, a
 strong media and educational campaign will be necessary to inform people about the
 benefits of such products. However, throughout North America and Western Europe, a
 wave of health consciousness has spread, and herbal products have become a multi-
 billion dollar market. People as diverse as the British Royal Family, Paul McCartney,
 and numerous professional athletes now swear by the benefits of alternative health
 products. The potential for export of these products from Qyshk is very good. Health
 food stores and distributors in California and New York have already expressed interest
 to sell these products.

 Dr. Dukagjini Kelmendi, MD., the primary physician for the western region of Kosovo,
 employed by the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) to treat international
 employees, has become an integral member of the group. His contributions include
 basic quality control of the products, as well as public advocacy within the Kosovar

 The group, naming their business Sacred Circle (Rrethe i Shejnte), has become an
 official Kosovar NGO. Though the Miracle Struggle Foundation has financed the
 development phase, capital is needed to launch the products commercially. Each of
 these women, as head of their household, has faced a difficult winter, with heavy rains
 destroying much of their subsistence corn and bean crops. Nothing can replace what
 these families have lost, but the Sacred Circle Herb Company does give them the tools
 for creating their own financial independence and restoring their dignity as they provide
 natural healing for others.

 The following project proposal seeks grant support for the proper establishment and
 launch of this widows’ collective herb business.
  2.   Objectives
 • To support widows of Qyshk in becoming financially self sufficient.
 • To give these women confidence and encouragement to believe in themselves as
     important role models for other widows who have lost faith in their own future.
 • To give the children of these fatherless families a renewed belief in humanity.
 • To provide health counselling and herbal nutrition to the pathologically


     malnourished people within the poverty stricken Roma communities.
 •   To promote natural vitamins and medicines to Kosovar society as important agents
     for healthy living.
 •   To promote natural resources of Kosovo as valuable commodities for export.

  3.     Implementing Partners
 Sacred Circle Association is a Kosovar Non-Governmental Organization, fully registered
 UNMIK. It is made up of the Qyshk widows involved in the formation of this business tog
 with the Cooper Family. The mission of the Sacred Circle NGO is:
       To create a forum for, but not limited to, women who have lost husbands
       during the war of 1999, to advance their own lives through the stimulation
       of business, communication and creative activities helping to establish a
       supportive fabric for the future and to facilitate self reliance, self respect,
       and honor for life in every form.
 It’s first venture is the Sacred Circle Herb Company.

 Miracle Struggle is a registered California non-profit corporation established by the Coop
 Family in 2000 for the purpose of raising support for their humanitarian work and social
 activism in Kosovo. Since the founding of Miracle Struggle, they have produced Kosova,
 Undertow of Hearts, a documentary film about the inspiring hope and regeneration of the
 war Kosovar city, Peja. During the Spring of 2001, they made a 23 day walking journey
 around the entire province of Kosovo. Later that year, they produced the original theatric
 play and subsequent film, The Passion of Birthfire. The production was made with
 professional Kosovar actors together with several women who had lost loved ones in
 massacres, including two women from Qyshk. These women, now part of Sacred Circle
 Association, starred as themselves, depicting their own struggle to find faith in life after th
 incredible loss. The live theater play was performed throughout Kosovo, and later the film
 shown to audiences across the United States. Most recently, the Cooper Family, alongsid
 Ministry of Culture, Youth, and Sport, has been a lead part in organizing and hosting the a
 Crossing Bridges Festival, a multi-cultural festival of music, film, and arts held in Peja, w
 features artists from all over the Balkans and Europe. Led by Mihone Lushi, who lost all f
 her sons in the Qyshk massacre, the entire group of the Sacred Circle Association particip
 in the festival. There on the main stage, the widows made a sunset ceremony, dedicated to
 honor, healing, and empowerment of women. The women of Sacred Circle were also feat
 in “The Unspoken”, a documentary film about Kosovar women, made by Cloee Cooper w
 two Kosovar women, and financed by UNIFEM, United Nations Development Program, a
 Kosovo Women’s Initiative. The Department of Culture and Youth, Kosova Foundation f
 Open Society, Kosova Civil Society Foundation, the American Office, the Swiss Coopera
 Office and several Kosovar businesses have supported other projects of the Cooper Famil
 Miracle Struggle. A 15-minute film has been attached to the proposal, which illustrates th
 endeavors of Miracle Struggle, and ends with the Sacred Circle Association and Herb

 In regards to the Sacred Circle Herb Company, Miracle Struggle will take responsibility f
 fundraising and distribution in the United States and abroad.


  4.   Project Description
 This project will assist in all aspects of development of Sacred Circle Herb Company
 through a process toward its self-sustainability and profitability as a Kosovar micro-
 enterprise. The development will include:
 • Establishment of business’ constitutional framework and proper registration
 • Basic set-up for small factory production and administration
 • Business training for the ten women presently involved
 • Establishment of gathering, preparation, packaging, and distribution systems
 • Comprehensive marketing and public education campaign.
 • A subsidised supply of product donated to the most malnourished Roma
     communities within the Peja region and around Kosovo, together with basic health
     education program.

 Establish Business
 Following a guideline of collective principles for cooperative business, the group will
 draft the official framework for Sacred Circle Herb Company, outlining such issues as
 shared ownership, management, decision-making, profit-use, and expansion. This
 document will be reviewed by a legal advisor and finally submitted for official
 registration as a Kosovar business.

 Basic factory set-up will include minimal required reparations and sanitation measures
 to be made on a small factory, where the product is being made. Storage, preparation,
 and packaging facilities and equipment will be purchased. A factory office will be set

 An initial six-month training course for ten women will be implemented. The training
 will include basic business management, herbal medicine preparation, and how to give
 educational seminars in nutrition and the important health benefits of herbs. From this
 training, the widows will be prepared to lead such seminars in their visits to the Roma

 Herb Gathering
 During the first phase of the business herbs are being gathered exclusively by the ten
 widows involved. As demand increases, so does the capacity for other rural villagers,
 especially in the Rugova mountains, to earn money by collecting herbs from their land
 and selling them to the factory. In traditional times, a trading post existed in the
 Rugova canyon where people gathered each week to trade and sell food, milk,
 medicines, and crafts. Part of the long-term plan for Sacred Circle Herb Company is to
 engage this system of mountain commerce to again function, allowing mountain
 dwellers to profit by meeting the specific demands for herbs of the company. It is also
 foreseen that some raw food materials, such as alfalfa and bee’s wax, will either be
 cultivated or purchased from local farmers.

 Preparation and Packaging


 All preparation and packaging of products will be done at the Qyshk factory. Members
 of the women’s collective will work shifts, some specializing in various aspects of the
 production. Each product (salves, tinctures, teas, and vitamin mixes) will have its own
 recipe, sanitary procedures, packaging, and label. As much as possible, the company
 will purchase materials and packaging from Kosovar businesses.

 This winter, while the business is being set up, Dr. Cooper is working on two
 distribution channels for the United States, one with the Mountain People’s Warehouse
 distributor and one with Klamath Blue Green Algae company. Meanwhile, together
 with one representative from the widows, she will make contact with Kosovar
 distributors, as well as other businesses, which might be interested to cooperate with
 Sacred Circle, such as cosmetics or tea producing companies.

 Public Awareness Campaign
 A campaign will be made at the outset of the product launch, which will utilize print,
 radio and television media, and will serve two purposes. The campaign will not only be
 promoting the natural health products of Sacred Circle, but will also serve to educate the
 public about nutrition, preventative medicine, and natural healing. Such public
 awareness gives people the understanding that the best way to prevent sickness and
 disease is through exercise, good nutrition, and a strong immune system.

 Product Donations/Health Counseling
 The Sacred Circle Herb Company intends to deliver the first 5000 Euros worth of donor
 subsidized health products to Kosovar Roma communities where malnourishment and
 sickness are tragically dominant. Women from the Sacred Circle will personally make
 these deliveries and give presentations about the uses and health benefits of these
 natural remedies, as well as other general health and nutrition education. It is planned to
 initially reach 5 communities with this program. The first communities targeted for
 help are Mahalla e Bates in Peja and Plementina in the Obiliq region, with other
 communities currently being assessed. The donor of the project will subsidize this
 initial donation of product to impoverished Kosovar communities, which will in turn be
 a large order for the factory to help fuel its production. Sacred Circle Herb Company
 intends to institutionalize this element of community service into its business
 framework. By its second year of existence, the factory will continue to donate 10% of
 its product to the most needy and malnourished Kosovar communities, free of charge.

  5.    Beneficiaries
 • Ten widows from Qyshk and their children benefit from sustained income of their
     own collective business.
 • Other Qyshk widows and nearby villagers benefit from the chance to be involved
     gathering and supplying herbs and materials for the factory.
 • Approximately 500 Kosovar Roma will benefit from the free donated products and
     health education seminars.
 • Kosovar society as a whole benefits from improved health consciousness and access
     to health enhancing products.


  6.     Visibility
 Major donors, who wish, will be recognized on every label of Sacred Circle Herb
 Company product as well as on every message or advertisement of the marketing and
 public awareness campaign.
  7.     Sustainability
 It is the explicit aim of the Sacred Circle project to provide the necessary set-up,
 training, monitoring and support in order for the Sacred Circle Herb Company to
 become completely self sustainable. 50% of profits from the first year of business will
 be set aside for financing the running costs of the second year. It is projected that the
 founding widows will assume full management of the business after two years of its
 existence, at which point Sacred Circle NGO and Miracle Struggle will serve only in the
 Board of Directors. Following is a cash flow projection of running costs and income for
 the first 2 years of business, showings its progress toward complete sustainability.
8. Two Year Cash Flow (in Euros)
Description                                     Monthly Average (6 month           2-Year
                                                           periods)                Total
                                             per. 1 per. 2 per. 3 per. 4
Administration                                  825       400       400      400      12150
Factory Renovations/ Maintenance                200       100       100      100       3000
Equipment                                       800       200        50       50       6600
Team Training                                   400       100        50       50       3600
Factory Rental/Utilities                        250       250       250      250       6000
Raw Materials                                   500       700       800      800      16800
Vehicle Rental/ Maintenance                     100       100       100      100       2400
Packaging Supplies                              500       800     1000      1000      19800
Shipping Costs                                  300       500     1000      1200      18000
Personnel                                      1200      1500     2000      2400      42600
Marketing Campaign                              600       400       300      300       9600
Educational Presentations                       200       100       100      100       3000
TOTAL MONTHLY                                  5875      5150     6150      6750
TOTAL 6-MO. PERIOD                            35250 30900 36900 40500 143,550

Project Grant/ Donations                   [38750         0        0         0     38750
Domestic Revenues                             500     1200     2000      3000      40200
Foreign Revenues                             1000     3000     4000      5000      78000
TOTAL MONTHLY INCOME                         1500     4200     6000      8000
TOTAL 6-MO. PERIOD INCOME                   47750    25200    36000     48000    156,950
TOTAL 2-YEAR PROFIT GAIN                                                          13,400

 9.    Budget Narrative


In the following project budget, all investment in the “Öther Donor” category is provided
by Miracle Struggle, either in funds or donated services. All personnel costs are monthly
salaries for the widows involved. All profits from the sale of the product for the first year
of business, including the initial subsidies for the Roma communities, will be divided;
50% for 2nd year running costs and the expansion of the Sacred Circle Herb Company, and
50% to directly benefit the widows. Project Coordinator, Dr. Sally Cooper N.D. and
Miracle Struggle will administer the full budget of the grant.
  10. Project Budget (all amounts in Euros)
 ITEM                                    Cost/       Qty. Total Other               Requeste
                                         Unit              Cost     Donor           d Amount
 Project Coordinator                      200/mo        6   1200                           1200
 Finance Manager/Translator               150/mo        6      600                          900
 Office Rent                              100/mo        6      600                          600
 Communications                           150/mo        6      900                          900
 Transportation                           150/mo        6      900                          900
 Supplies                                  75/mo        6      450                          450
 Subtotal                                 825/mo            4950                           4950

 Factory Renovations/ Installations                          1000                        1000
 Equipment                                                   3600       grinder –        2000
 Office Equipment                                            1500                        1500
 Subtotal                                                    6100           1600         4500

 Trainer Stipends (3)                    300/mo      6       1800            600         1200
 Excursions/ Refreshments                100/mo      6        600                          600
 Subtotal                               400/mo               2400            600         1800

 Factory Rental (6 months)               150/mo      6        900                          900
 Raw Materials                           500/mo      6       3000            600         2400


 Vehicle Rental/ Maintenance         100/mo     6      600            600
 Packaging Supplies                  500/mo     6     3000    600    2400
 Personnel (10 women)                1200/mo    6     7200    600    6600
 Subtotal                            2450/m          14700   1800   12900

 Public Campaign Manager                               600            600
 TV/Radio/Newspaper Advertising                       3000   1000    2000
 Printed Labels/Brochures/Displays                    1000           1000
 Subtotal                                             4600   1000    3600

 Donation of product to 5                             5000           5000
 Educational presentation expenses                    1000           1000
 Subtotal                                             6000           6000

 TOTAL                                               38750   5000   33750


To top