Case study 14-RS
Ljiljana Paušić Mojić
Rural entrepreneur Ljiljana Paušić Mojić used to be a goat breeder before she decided to focus only on goat’s milk processing into traditional cheeses of extraordinary quality. In her opinion, if you want to create something exceptional, you need to devote all your attention to that. Her estate of 1 ha is located just by the Fruška gora national park in a small village of Jazak. She employed 4 workers to help her create an assortment of cheeses that put her enterprise on the World Cheese Map. About 400 l of goat milk is obtained from several neighboring farms each day. In 2015, a tasting facility was made at the estate to promote the products and to encourage rural tourism.
The enterprise is located just by the Fruška gora national park in a small village of Jazak. At the estate of 1 ha, a dairy processing plant with daily processing of 400 l of goat’s milk and a cozy testing facility were assembled. Goat’s milk originating from different farms is processed into traditional products of high quality – goat cheese in oak bark, mature goat cheese, Gorski goat cheese with wild garlic, goat cheese in olive oil, etc. Gorski cheese won bronze medal at World Cheese Awards 2017 in London. Three full-time and one part-time workers are employed at the enterprise. Multifunctional activities include cheese tasting facility that attracts gourmets and people interested in rural tourism. Furthermore, innovative activities of producing traditional cheeses of exclusive quality that started in 2015, led to that such products have become the main products of this enterprise, and positioned the enterprise on the World Cheese Map.
“Prepare well before starting this kind of work by attending trainings, reading literature, etc. in all aspects – processing technology, legal, financial, marketing knowledge in business. Formal education is not necessary!”
Multifunctional farming activities related to dairy processing / Innovation related to products and/or processing
During visits to various farms and dairies, the owner realized that having a tasting room is a good opportunity for additional product promotion and increased sales. In 2015, the tasting facility was completed, and ever since a lot of tourists from Serbia and abroad were the guest of the owner. The tasting facility is about 50 square meters with several tables, handsomely decorated in a traditional manner. Coincided, market monitoring has shown that there is a demand for traditional and innovative goat milk products that are not available at the market. Therefore, at about the same time as the tasting facility was finished, new products from goat’s milk were introduced: grilled cheese, cheese in oak bark, cheese with fruit and herbs. The owner implemented and developed the production of traditional and home-made products and transformed them into exclusive and luxury foods. Now, as their profits increase, the owner is starting to consider to completely exclude soft cheeses from the production and focus on exclusive cheese products.
Preparing tasting facility was rather easy and not that challenging job. The main problem were legal conditions, since in Serbian legislation the term “tasting facility” does not exist. The owner considered registering it as a restaurant, but that appeared to be quite challenging and expensive. For this reason, the tasting facility cannot serve anything but cheeses, but this does not seem to upset the guests, as the owner said. Regarding the innovative activities of new cheeses’ production, the main challenge was the uneven quality of raw materials while preserving the quality of cheeses. This technological challenge was addressed by many expert’s visits to the dairy processing unit, trainings, and seminars. The ongoing challenge is related to the problem of wastewater management because the industrial systems are expensive and not in line with the profitability of business. Currently, the problem of wastewater management is being struggled in alternative ways. In cheese production, a lot of whey in generated and if not sold, it becomes waste. Therefore, the whey is donated to pig farms and dog shelters as animal feed. So far, in terms of equipment for the dairy, the enterprise received the funds from Provincial secretariat of Agriculture. The distribution is done through two large retail chains in facilities with premium products, then sales in dairy facilities (including tasting room), restaurants, and hotels, while marketing is mainly related to advertising through social networks.
Training/Competences (Skills, Knowledge, Attitudes) especially relevant for the process
Training in the field of milk processing technologies with know-how approach were of great importance for implementing innovative activities of traditional products, challenged by uneven raw materials. Also, seminars on environmental protection (wastewater management) have given a good foundation for development of wastewater management on the enterprise. However, in owner’s opinion, this remains the biggest limitation in her education that she is working on actively. Attitudes such as hard work, continuous education, visiting successful enterprises, together with around the clock communication with the experts is the key of becoming a successful rural entrepreneur.