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Endorsed by the Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection




Trade Balance Brings Mutual Benefits This special edition of CorD on Agribusiness comes at a timely moment when Serbia is preparing its position for negotiating the terms of its accession to the EU for chapter 13 (Fisheries) and is also advancing work on meeting the requirements for opening chapters 11 (Agriculture & Rural Development) and 12 (Food Safety, Veterinary and Phytosanitary Matters) for negotiation BY RICHARD MASA, HEAD OF SECTION AT THE EU DELEGATION OF SERBIA


he agriculture sector is an important pillar of Serbia's economy in terms of contribution to GDP (9%), employment (20%) and export (20%). Agriculture and the food processing industry trade between Serbia and the EU has more than doubled to > â‚Ź2 billion per annum since the conclusion of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement in 2008 - and more than quintupled since 2005 - helped by the initial non reciprocal tariff free access granted by the EU to Serbia. Serbia has over the aforementioned period consistently maintained a positive trade balance in agrifood products trade with the EU. The EU has at the same time consolidated its position as Serbia's largest trading partner in the sector.

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Despite the challenges of climate change, Serbia enjoys largely favourable agro-climatic conditions and is a potent producer of cereals, oilseeds, top fruit and soft fruit, to name just a few. However, Serbia's exports are still dominated by primary agricultural production, with the share of value added processed agricultural products only slowly increasing. Some of the tariff free quotas in trade with the EU, such as those for baby beef and quality wine, are not fully exploited. There are also regional and structural imbalances as regards farm size distribution and efficiency. Land fragmentation and a still sizeable subsistence and semi-subsistence farming sector pose a challenge to the required sector reform. The country's


irrigation potential is underexploited. Insurance products needs to mitigate the risk of production need to be further developed to reflect Serbia's exposure to natural disasters. For Serbia to continue to harness its export potential and defend market share at home in a largely liberalised market it will, regardless of the EU accession agenda, need to further adapt to steadily evolving market requirements. This calls for a dependable supply of sufficient quantities of uniform quality - meeting statutory or the often required higher voluntary standards of food safety, sustainable agriculture and other criteria. A rigorous quality policy is also a prerequisite for effective market intervention, if and when required. For

country to absorb the very considerable equipment to all levels of agribusiness smaller producers to participate on the increase in subsidies that will become administration or by introducing the IPARD market, their organisation in producer available to the sector after accession. instrument, the EU's principal instrument groups, cooperatives and other forms However, this instrument needs to be for preparing an accession country's of organisation providing the benefit embedded in an overall enabling policy public and private agricultural sector of collective production, processing and framework that also addresses strucstakeholders an accession country for the bargaining is the way to succeed. Finally, tural issues, such as land strengthening the capacity of all fragmentation, access to state services engaged in sector rural finance, specifically support and enforcement of apalso for smaller and mediumplicable law is required. sized operators, adequately As regards the accession agentrained and resourced advida, Serbia needs to be vigilant sory services etc. as regarding changes in EU agThe EU has allocated ricultural (and food safety) poli€175 million to IPARD II to cies. Whilst viable and safe food Serbia for the period 2014production guaranteeing a decent 2020. The expectation is livelihood for our farmers and that this amount may levagribusinesses, as well balanced erage up to €400 million in territorial development of our total investment – amongst rural areas, remain key objectives. others in the modernisaHowever, other aspects come tion of farms, processing increasingly into play; for example in the current 2014-2020 budget cycle 30% of CAP funding supporting farmers' incomes The EU has allocated €175 million to IPARD II to Serbia for the is spent on environmental and period 2014-2020. The expectation is that this amount may resource - friendly production leverage up to €400 million in total investment – amongst methods ("through so - called others in the modernisation of farms, processing establishments greening measures") - and nearly and contribute to the diversification of incomes of farming 50% of the EU - budget for rural development programmes is households and other rural businesses earmarked for benefitting the environment or the fight against establishments and contribute to the requirements of the EU's single market. climate change. diversification of incomes of farming With this, the EU supports Serbia in its The EU is assisting Serbia systematihouseholds and other rural businesses. efforts to meet all relevant EU standards cally in its sector reform efforts. This is In the second wave of measures, these pertaining to agriculture, food safety and done either by allocating funding from the funds are also intended to support the environment, with the main motto being IPA instrument to support the reforms agri-environmental measures and local "learning by doing". This has been proven by providing expertise from EU Member initiatives under the LEADER measure.  as the most efficient tool to prepare the States, by providing the most modern

IMPRESSUM EDITORIAL aim team EDITOR Ana Novčić ART DIRECTOR Jasmina Laković PHOTOS Zoran Petrović

COPY EDITOR Mark Pullen PROJECT MANAGERS Aleksandra Ebilji Biljana Dević Nataša Trifunović

Nevena Đurković Vesna Vukajlović


OFFICE MANAGER Svetlana Petrović




PRINTING Rotografika d.o.o. Segedinski put 72, Subotica, Serbia AGRIBUSINESS LAND IS EVERYTHING THAT MATTERS Published by: alliance international media Makenzijeva 67, 11111 Belgrade 17,

PAK 126909, Serbia Phone: +(381 11) 2450 508 Fascimile: +(381 11) 2450 122 E-mail:


ISSN no: 1451-7833 All rights reserved alliance international media 2017


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Growing Interest In Investing In Agricultural Production The ministry’s aim is to boost farmers’ competitiveness, reduce their costs and increase their income



he budget allocated to the Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection this year is 8.2 per cent higher than in 2016. The budget is intended for development and investment, while its biggest part - as much as 60 per cent - is earmarked for subsidies in agriculture and rural development. For the first time in the last 30 years, the Serbian Government and the Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection provide financial support for young farmers.

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• It’s been eight months since you took office as the Minister of Agriculture and Environmental Protection. There have been some developments since then, among which is the 8.2 per cent budget increase for agriculture compared to 2016. Are you happy with the results so far? - I am happy with the results, but there is always room for improvement. I believe in my team and I expect that we will achieve our goals and that they will be visible. The budget increase for agriculture and environmental protection is surely an important step, considering the budget cuts two years previously. This year’s budget for the Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection is 43.8 billion dinars, which is 8.2% higher than in 2016. The largest part of the funds, as much as 60%, is earmarked for agricultural and rural development subsidies, which means that these funds will be going directly to farms, in various forms. More importantly, perhaps, the subsidies have increased by some 10% compared to last year, amounting to 26.3 billion dinars. They include direct payments, support for rural development, credit lines and special subsidies. In my opinion, the increase in the subsidies is far more important, because they provide direct support to the farms and have direct effects on their productivity.

and with me personally. They are all interested in farming and investing in agricultural production. • The ministry has earmarked four times as much money for rural development this year than last. What measures are you planning and what are their objectives? - We wanted a development and investment agriculture

• The deadline for exercising the priority right of lease of about 170,000 hectares of state-owned land for up to 30 years expired recently. Was there great interest? When will these types of investment be made public? This year’s budget for the Ministry of Agriculture - The government has made 30% of state-owned arable land availand Environmental Protection is 43.8 billion dinars, which is able for lease. There is no obli8.2% higher than in 2016 gation to lease all acreages in a public tender. Only those apbudget that would support farming that has a long- or proved by the Committee, in accordance with general medium-term perspective on market. The aim of the and special rules and included by the local government ministry is to increase farmers’ competitiveness, cut their unit in its annual programmes, will be leased. We have costs and increase their income. Bearing this in mind, we received 219 applications, which have all been taken into have secured the highest increase in funding for rural consideration by the Committee. Judging by the number development (i.e. investment support) of 2.2 billion dinars, of applications, we can say that interest was high but which is four times as much as last year. also not unexpected by the ministry. The applications As regards budget funds for rural development, we are now being reviewed and checked. have earmarked 3.8 billion dinars, or 25% more than last year. About 50% of these funds have been earmarked • Over the past several months you have travelled across for subsidies to help boost competitiveness, which is 2.4 almost the whole of Serbia. What are your impressions? times more than in 2015. This group of measures aims to Is the interest in agriculture growing and which branches improve farms’ competitiveness by investing in primary are particularly popular? production and processing, including investment in new - The interest in investing in agricultural production is orchards, procurement of new tractors, building and obvious, and I’m very pleased about that. More and more fitting out new facilities and procurement of equipment people want to get in touch with the ministry’s services AGRIBUSINESS LAND IS EVERYTHING THAT MATTERS

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for the processing of meat, milk, fruit, vegetables and grapes. These measures also include support for risk management, which encourages crop and animal insurance against potential loss of income.

Other rural development measures include subsidies for the preparation and implementation of local rural development strategies and for improving learning and transfer of knowledge.

• Young farmers are also in focus. Do you have any information concerning how many young people are interested in returning to and staying on farms? What’s been preventing them from doing that? - Our rural areas are characterised by decreasing populations in general, an increase in the elderly population, daily migrations, unemployment among young people and an pre unsatisfactory offer of quality jobs. This is why, for the first time over the past 30 years, the Serbian Government and the Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection have decided to support young farmers financially. After the adoption of the Rulebook on subsidies for income diversification and improving the quality of life of young farmers in rural areas, there’s been a visible increase in interest among Serbia's young people. Two out of three calls to the ministry’s Info Centre relate to this measure. Young commercial family farm operators (aged up to 40) and young entrepreneurs in particular are interested in investing in enhancing primary crop and livestock production, development and improvement of milk, fruit and vegetable production and in the preparation of agricultural products for the market. Investments in preparing products for sale and in processing that The aim of the ministry is to increase farmers’ competitiveness, will add value to products will have cut their costs and increase their income. Bearing this in mind, an advantage when ranking apwe have secured the highest increase in funding for rural plications, especially if they come from underdeveloped areas with development of 2.2 billion dinars, which is four times as adverse farming conditions, young much as last year farmers or potential beneficiaries with an appropriate agricultural education. The maximum subsidy per beneficiary will be 1.2 million dinars. Rural development measures also include subsidies for the enhancement and conservation of the environment • There is an unprecedented interest in the procurement and natural resources, such as subsidies for organic of new tractors. Please remind us of the total amount farming, conservation of genetic resources, support for earmarked for that purpose. Do you think new mechanisaagro-environmental measures, good agricultural practises tion can help boost agricultural production? and other environmental protection and conservation - In accordance with the Regulation on the Disbursement measures. In addition, subsidies for income diversificaof Agricultural and Rural Development Subsidies in 2017, tion and improving quality of life in rural areas will be a total sum of 210.5 million dinars has been earmarked for implemented under the rural development policy, support the procurement of new tractors of maximum 100 kW, for non-agricultural activities, support for young people used in fruit, grapes and vegetable growing. in rural areas, boosting competitiveness by adding value, Considering that the average age of agricultural introducing food quality certification, farming organic machinery in Serbia is about twenty years and that new products and products with geographical indication.

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Political relations between Serbia and China are at machinery reduces the costs of fuel, motor oil, repair their peak, better than they have ever been. Such good and maintenance, increases productivity and reduces political relations are naturally followed by the developenvironmental pollution, the ministry has envisaged a ment of economy and consequently the development refund of 50% of the realised acceptable investment (tractor). Farmers living in areas with adverse farming conditions will Our rural areas are characterised by decrease in population get 65%. The maximum amount in general, increase in elderly population, daily migrations, that a beneficiary can get is 1.8 unemployment among young people and unsatisfactory offer of million dinars.

quality jobs. This is why for the first time over the past 30 years

• You reiterate that we should the Serbian Government and the Ministry of Agriculture focus on producing products with and Environmental protection have decided to financially added value, which can generate support young farmers much higher earnings than selling raw materials. Do you see any of agriculture. We are not going to miss this chance to progress in the development of the processing industry? enhance our economic relations with China. - Yes. There has been progress and we expect that the Serbia already exports agricultural products to the call for bids for arable land lease will help increase investment in the processing industry and products with added value. We are exerting great efforts and are committed to the development of the processing industry. I insist that this is one of the ways for us to put the surplus of farm products on the market. As a result, we are developing special credit lines. The aim of the subsidies for the procurement of tractors, for investors leasing state-owned arable land for up to 30 years who are involved livestock production the pre processing industry or renewable sources of energy, is to boost self-development rather than sell good but cheap goods. Our objective is investment in adding value to agricultural products, so that both the producers and the country can benefit. • Chinese Agriculture Minister Han Changfu recently visited Serbia for the first time. As a result, Serbia and China signed a Memorandum of Cooperation in agriculture. Have any steps been taken to welcome Chinese investors and increase export? - The Memorandum of Cooperation concerns the provision of guarantees for the safety of foods intended for import and export. We signed it with the Chinese General Administration of Quality Control, Inspection and Quarantine. This is an important document, forms the basis for the smooth placement of Serbian products on the Chinese market. The importance of the visit by Minister ZHI Shuping, who heads the General Administration, is particularly important given that countries with much higher capacities and stronger markets are still waiting for him to visit them, but Serbia had the privilege of welcoming him and, in direct talks, remove all obstacles to the smooth export of our products. AGRIBUSINESS LAND IS EVERYTHING THAT MATTERS

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gigantic Chinese market, but in small quantities. Through serious, continuous and, above all, excellent communication with the Chinese government and businesses, we want Chinese investors to come Serbia and open processing

genetic material (enhance breed composition), improve selection processes and marketing. Farm consolidation and partnership relations between the farmers involved in production and those involved in processing are also required. Small farmers need to get involved in specific types of production, such as of products with geographical indication, to focus on products of higher production stages and added value etc. Our market is part of the great European market and any change that happens there affects our producers. Selling our products on foreign markets is not possible without competitive prices and a production scope big enough to meet the demand.

• You say that Serbia’s chance is in organic farming and that it could compete with Slovenia and Austria in the future. How much have the subsidies increased for organic farming compared to conventional farming? - In accordance with the Regulation on the Disbursement of Agricultural and Rural Development In accordance with the Regulation on the Disbursement of Subsidies, this year a total of 90 Agricultural and Rural Development Subsidies, this year a total of million dinars has been allocated 90 million dinars has been allocated for organic farming for organic farming. Last year subsidies for organic crop growing were 40% higher compared to the subsidies for conventional farming. This year the plants, because agriculture cannot function without the subsidies are 70% higher and include payments per hecprocessing industry. tare and allowance for fertilisers and soil conditioners that are allowed in organic farming. The novelty is that • Serbia has considerable potential to increase export the list of subsidy beneficiaries has been increased and to Russia, in particular of beef and pork. What is the now includes farmers from cooperatives covered by situation there? group certification. - Serbian companies can benefit from the Foreign Trade As regards subsidies for organic animal husbandry, Agreement with the Russian Federation. The number of they are 40% higher than subsidies for conventional companies entering the certification process is increasfarming and include payment of premiums for milk, ing. This trend should continue in the future, so that their heifer, lamb, goat and pig fattening, dairy and beef cows, products and services can compete on and conquer such quality parent breeders, beehives and production of fish a demanding market. To keep the pace with the times and for human consumption. the competition, i.e. to impose ourselves and survive in the Organic farmers can also receive a 50% refund for part existing and emerging markets, we need to invest constantly of the costs of control and certification, and those farming in breeding technologies that are used on countries with in adverse conditions can receive a 65% refund. ■ developed animal husbandry, increase the quality of the

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Seed Guardians After 14 years on the Serbian market, KWS is among the five leading companies in sales of corn seed


As we all know that the number of plants is one of the main components of the yield, it is obvious just what security and quality we can provide our partners by applying this new technology. Besides this, a state-of-the-art laboratory for seed research at the processing centre is a guarantee of the quality we offer. We have received numerous recognitions and awards for consistent seed quality. We can emphasise SEED Guard – a system especially responsible for checking the quality of seed pro-

also for Serbian farmers, as we are starting a full programme of processing and developing hybrids in our country for Serbia’s specific conditions. At our station we will be applying the latest results in the field of corn processing and selection. The station will be completely equipped with modern equipment and machinery for the independent creation of hybrid lines, processing small quantities of seed, sowing experiments and analysis of the results. The value of intellectual property in lines and knowledge will surpass the value of the Bečej processing centre severalfold.

ess known among our producers is the fact that KWS takes second place in corn seed sales in the EU 28, and third in Europe, which says a lot about the quality of its hybrids. KWS is investing heavily in developing the Serbian market. It has invested over €30 million in its seed plant in Bečej and with the launch of a second corn preparation line a production of 400,000 planting units is expected, while the nominal capacity of 700,000 units (50 thousand seeds) will be achieved within a season or two. In seed quality it ranks among the three leading KWS seed plants in The Seed plant in Bečej is an investment worth over €30 million. The Europe and the aim is to make it the second corn line was opened on 8th December. Besides this, we have best in the group. All of the treated seed opened a line for processing sunflower seed is produced on Serbia’s best fields by carefully chosen partners, with 100% cessing. This system has already been applied Such investment and research shows total of the production under irrigation. for several years in Germany and the EU under dedication and recognition of the value and the name “Seed Guard”, and now for the first potential of Serbian agriculture on the part of • The Seed plant in Bečej is the best example time such a quality control system has been KWS, and it sends a clear signal to our partners of the latest German technology in this field. introduced to Serbia, by the German branch of regarding who they can count and rely on in future. At the opening it was announced that a second certification company SGS. A positive Seed Guard phase was to be built – how far has this come? assessment and certificate has proved that the • What is your suggestion of KWS hybrids? - Seed plant in Bečej is an investment worth over KWS processing centre for corn and sunflower - I would especially like to emphasise the new €30 million. The second corn line was opened on seed fulfils all the conditions to attain the highest hybrids of the group CLIMACONTROL3 Kolumthe 8th December. Besides this, we have opened baris and Kerbanis and the hybrid Konfites. To a line for processing sunflower seed. quality in seed processing. the great joy of producers, exceptional yields For processing seeds, what distinguishes the have been seen this year from the group FAO 600 KWS seed plant is the application of a colour • At the Field days in Bečej you announced Konsens, but also from the well tried Kermess. sorter before processing the corn. This ensures the building of an R&D centre in Stara Pazova. What especially pleases us is confirmation that only corn with no breakage or damage is - I am proud to announce that the research and from producers on the yields from Zrno plus processed, and all impurities and broken and development centre in Stara Pazova opened on hybrids from all parts of Serbia. ■ damaged seed are separated. 14th December. This is a great event for KWS, but


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The Institute As An Essential Factor In Developing Fruit Production Every third plum tree in our country originates from the Čačak Institute


he Fruit Research Institute in Čačak is a renowned and unique institution in our country in many ways. In the past seven decades it has built its reputation in fruit science and the profession, not only in Serbia but also in Europe and around the world. It has created 41 varieties of continental fruit, which has had a huge impact on the development of fruit production in Serbia. • How would you assess the general situation and prospects for fruit growing in Serbia? - Serbia is the leading fruit producer in the region. For some types of fruit we are the leaders in Europe and the

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world. Fruit production in Serbia accounts for about 11% of the value of agricultural production and takes place on only 4.8% of the total area of agricultural land, which is very little considering the favourable climatic and soil conditions for achieving superior quality, yield and profit. A long tradition in the production of plums, raspberries, apples and cherries is one reason why these fruits are the most important for Serbia’s fruit production. Most other fruits (peach, pear, apricot, sweet cherry, strawberry, blackberry) are also successfully cultivated in some regions of Serbia. However, a big problem is yield volatility from year to year, due to the frequent occurrence of unfavorable climatic factors. Intensifying production in modern plantations through installation of irrigation systems, anti-hail nets, anti-frost and other systems signif-

icantly reduces production risks. By increasing the area of modern plantations, and with its important advantages in product marketing, Serbia has a bright future in the field of fruit growing. • In what way and in what areas can the Fruit Research Institute contribute to the advancement of modern fruit production? - A total of 41 varieties of continental fruit created by the Institute have greatly influenced the development of fruit production in Serbia. Every third plum tree (Čačanska rodna, Čačanska lepotica, Čačanska najbolja, Timočanka ...) comes from the Institute. The creation of new varieties is a priority for the Institute in the future. When it comes to growing technology, the general assessment is that existing fruit plantations in Serbia are mostly extensive, since a majority of orchards are over 20 years old. Thanks to private sector initiatives, the cultivation of new plantations with modern production technology has been intensified. This primarily refers to apple, sweet cherry and strawberry. Production of the highest certified quality seedlings by standard and modern methods (method “plant tissue culture”), improving growing technology, as well as improving fruit processing technology, are the key contributions of the Fruit Research Institute to improving fruit production.

Institute will provide important support in preparing IPAfunded projects. • How will the Fruit Research Institute develop further to become a key factor in the development of fruit growing in Serbia? - The Institute’s vision of development is to expand the boundaries of scientific knowledge through unified basic, development and applied research and increased competence in the field of fruit growing. Given that scientific achievements in the field of fruit growing have to be

• The government has announced subsidies and support to agricultural development. Where do you see room for a greater contribution of the Institute to One of the Ministry’s strategic objectives in the coming period is to the efforts of the Ministry of ensure sufficient quantities of high-quality seedlings of raspberry, Agriculture and Environmental which has been entrusted to our Institute Protection? - The government has recognised improved in the near future and adapted to the requirethe need to support modern fruit plantations, which require ments of the European and world markets, we need to find huge funds. In addition, the Ministry of Agriculture and Enoptimal solutions and appropriate technology adjusted vironmental Protection has earmarked significant funds to production conditions in our country. Scientific instifor implementation of agricultural research projects. We tutions should not only focus on generating knowledge, can proudly say that the Institute has excellent cooperabut also on its dissemination and implementation. The Intion with the Ministry in all aspects of fruit production. One stitute will therefore direct all its activities towards deof the Ministry’s strategic objectives in the coming period velopment and transfer of knowledge, especially of fastis to ensure sufficient quantities of high-quality seedlings er implementation of innovative technologies in fruit and of raspberry, which has been entrusted to our Institute. seedling production, implementation of scientific proRegionalisation of fruit production in Serbia is the bajects that solve specific problems in fruit growing, coopsis of a planned creation of modern plantations and a eration with businesses, services of authorised laboratoplatform for subsidising fruit growing by the Ministry. ries and other delegated activities that contribute directThe Fruit Research Institute will play a major role in this ly to the improvement of fruit growing. With continuous very important project, the implementation of which will promotion of the achieved results, the Institute will postart in 2017. The Strategy for Agricultural Development sition itself as a key factor in improving fruit production, of Serbia until 2024 plans increased production, competwhich is its core mission. ■ itiveness and readiness of farmers for EU accession. The AGRIBUSINESS LAND IS EVERYTHING THAT MATTERS

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Profitable Production Of The Highest Quality Milk GEA Group pays close attention to the needs of farmers on the international market, expands its range of products through continuous investment in research and development, and offers its customers, whose number is constantly increasing, top quality on the basis of the “turnkey” system


emand for high quality and high quantities of raw milk is growing on a daily basis, which means that dairy farmers are compelled to continuously improve their production in order to respond to market demands and generate profit. • Dairy farmers are facing ever-increasing demands in terms of technology, essential standards and animal health. Which products and services does GEA Group offer its clients in the dairy farming sector? - Our company, which until recently was known as WestfaliaSurge, has dominated it sector since the very beginning of the era of machine milking, at the start of the last century. While growing, GEA managed to gather together in its group the leading companies in other sectors related to the equipping of farms. These are companies that have long been known around the world - French manufacturer of milk cooling tanks GEA Japy, Danish manufacturer of automatic feeding systems GEA Mullerup, as well as Dutch company GEA Royal De Boer and Canadian company GEA Houle, which both produce barn equipment for animal comfort... • Who are GEA Group’s most common clients farmers and companies already active in primary milk production, or those just entering that field? What are the capacities of the farms that you offer equipment? - GEA’s portfolio consists of equipment for all

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farmers who recognise quality and reliable service, regardless of their production capacity. For future farmers, or those planning to expand existing operations, we offer free advice and the technological design of facilities, in order to achieve the best results during operations. We guarantee for our clients the functionality of equipment at any time, through regular or extraordinary services, which is of great importance in our business. • Which segments is equipment divided into? - As part of the “total solutions” approach, in which the initial step is designing a farm, we offer everything necessary for the functioning of a dairy farm:

▶ Sanitary preparations for cleaning equipment and maintenance the health of animals ▶ Sophisticated service concepts • Which countries are leading the way in the use of the equipment and technological achievements offered by GEA? Are there already farms in Serbia that could compete with European farms, and how willing are dairy farmers to invest in development in order to be more competitive? - GEA is present with its solutions in almost all countries worldwide, with a network of 45 regional organisations. Serbian farmers produce high quality milk and consciously invest in education and new technology, in order for their

Serbian farmers produce high quality milk and consciously invest in education and new technology, in order for their production to be profitable and competitive in the race with international producers ▶ Milking systems - from mobile milking machines for small farms, via various types of conventional milking devices, to fully automated systems for milking cows, as well as various types of systems for milking all other animals that are reared for milk production ▶ Devices for storing and cooling milk ▶ Herd management ▶ Barn equipment ▶ Conventional and automated animal feeding systems ▶ Manure management ▶ Equipment for rearing calves and young livestock on farms


production to be profitable and competitive in the race with international producers. Processes are optimised on a large number of industrial farms and they can serve as examples for local and regional farmers to familiarise themselves with good practice. Moreover, a large number of family farms have the potential to raise their production to the level of European standards, but financing such projects is often problematic. The opening of incentive funds that European farmers have already had the opportunity to utilise will enable the improvement of production on farms in Serbia too. ■


Responsible For Assuring Quality And Quantity Of Goods Victoria Logistic, a member of the Victoria Group, organises the primary production of oilseeds and grains, distribution of raw materials, trade, transport and storage of agricultural commodities. With 500,000 tonnes per annum, it is the market leader in purchase of oilseeds and the link between agricultural producers and processors


he company has 100 pass-through buying stations for each crop with a daily reception capacity of more than 10,000 tonnes. The company has a total warehouse capacity of 450,000 tonnes of mercantile grains and fertilizer storage space for 100,000 tonnes. The total transport volume exceeds 1,000,000 tonnes per year. In these processes, the logistics, storage and quality control sectors are responsible for preserving the quality and quantity of goods, says Mladen Jovanović, General Manager of Victoria Logistic.

and a good example of this is the certification of goods, which we carry out together with our partners so that we together become more competitive in ever more demanding markets. • Why did you introduce forward purchase of soybean and sunflower in 2016? - We wanted to be able to trade with our partners during the whole year, not only in the campaign or purchase time that is risky for both parties. This is why we introduced forward purchase by which we lower the risk.

assumes that every working day at 10 a.m. the current market price for soybeans and sunflower is established, which is defined according to the prices on relevant world markets and in the region, and is valid until 3 p.m. that day. The third and the most similar model of purchase to the old one assumes that when receiving the oilseeds at the start of the purchase a provisional price is determined, and at the end of the purchase the final market price is defined. Farmers in the EU and the region also use this principle to manage their production in the least risky way,

We provide our business partners with all the necessary raw materials - fertilisers, seeds, plant protection products. Our experts also provide support not only in the fields, but also throughout the whole business cycle

• How would you describe your cooperation with cooperatives? - Given the amount of goods purchased every year, it is very successful. It must first of all be a two-way cooperation that assumes support, assistance and mutual understanding. We provide our business partners with all the necessary raw materials - fertilisers, seeds, plant protection products. Our experts also provide support not only in the fields, but also throughout the whole business cycle. And then we buy the goods produced by cooperatives and farmers we work with. We also provide them with logistics services during purchase, assuring timely transport, storage and inspection of goods. Our cooperation has to be mutually satisfying,

• How did your partners react to the new way of purchasing and in general, what does it mean? - Almost all business partners accepted this way of trading in some areas of cooperation. At the very beginning we presented, explained and gave them a choice of one of three models of purchase. In short, the forward purchase model allows our partners to monitor on daily basis the prices we publish and to trade with us, as their major customers, every day of the year at the prices they accept as good or reject and wait for different ones. The second model is daily pricing during the purchase campaign, which

selling a third of their production in forward purchase, a third at the harvest based on the prices that are published daily, and a third when market prices rise. • What are your plans for next year? - The plan is to purchase 500,000 tonnes of oilseeds and to increase cooperation with partners on grains. We will continue promoting the services of the AgroPort logistics centre in Bačka Palanka, which brings together storage, packaging and port services for commercial goods and fertilizers under one roof. ■


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Seasonal Workers At A Single Click Every year around 80,000 Serbians find themselves in a field, orchard, farm or greenhouse, performing agricultural work as a seasonal labour force. For some this serves as a side job, while others see it as their only source of income. What all of them have in common is that their work goes unregistered


gricultural employers cannot live without this labour during the high season, but the complicated registration procedure has directly encouraged them to take the risk of informal employment. The process of registration is soon followed by another to unregister seasonal

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workers engaged under contracts of temporary or periodic employment. Avoiding these demanding procedures leaves the state deprived of significant tax revenue, while most harm is done to the workers who end up with no pension contributions nor health insurance in case of occupational injury. Not being

registered, they can also find it hard to obtain legal of the measures of the National Programme for protection if they encounter problems with their emCountering the Shadow Economy, developed under ployer. According to research performed by NALED, NALED’s coordination. up to 67% of Serbians would not report an employer who keeps them in the black market, We encountered an open door, and the adoption of the law on the dominant reason being the fear of losing their jobs. seasonal workers in agriculture was soon included as one of the On the initiative of NALED measures of the National Programme for Countering the Shadow members directly interested Economy, developed under NALED’s coordination in finding a solution to this problem, we reached out to the government and initiated the drafting of a law that would simplify the procedure Over the past year we have organised study tours for hiring the seasonal labour force and stimulate to Croatia and Hungary for the civil servants whose employers to register workers. We encountered an work this affects, to give them an opportunity to open door, and the adoption of the law on seasonal learn first-hand about solutions implemented in this workers in agriculture was soon included as one field by our neighbours.


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Croatia applies a model by which employers can buy daily vouchers for hiring seasonal workers. Each voucher purchased includes paid contributions for a

NALED is participating in broader consultations for drafting the law. It is cooperating directly with the Ministry of Labour, which is responsible for adopting such regulations, and with the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Finance, Tax Administration and other institutions that take part in its development. A working group has prepared a draft law and is currently working on its improvement and modernisation in line with the model applied in Hungary. An evaluation is being made of the abilities and technical capacities of Serbian institutions to implement a more advanced model of the law that will define a simpler way of registering workers, more accurate records and more efficient inspection. Furthermore, there are consultations taking place with authorities on the level of taxes and contributions, and on the possibility of enabling people who receive some sort of social assistance to engage in this type of work without losing their rights. According to government and ministry plans, the law According to government and ministry plans, the law should should be adopted by the end be adopted by the end of this year. It will regulate the status of of this year. It will regulate the seasonal agricultural workers as one of its essential priorities. status of seasonal agricultural The workers will be registered and their time of service recorded, workers as one of its essential priorities. The workers will giving them the right to a pension and to insurance in case of be registered and their time occupational injury of service recorded, giving them the right to a pension and to insurance in case of single worker for one day, and the employer is further occupational injury. obliged to pay taxes at the end of each month. Every With businesses estimating the number of undocumented seasonal workers at around 80,000, we have morning, the employer sticks a voucher in a booklet high expectations of this Law to counter the shadow owned by the worker, as proof to the inspection economy in the field of agriculture. According to authorities that the required contributions have NALED’s surveys, businesses indicate agriculture as been paid. Hungary has gone a step further, enabling the eighth largest sector in the scope of the shadow employers to register workers electronically, or even economy. When the law is adopted, they will no longer by phone, which further simplifies the procedure and have an excuse to ignore the regulations. ■reduces employers’ expenses.

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Stamp Of Trust O

CS was approved by the Donau Soja Association in Vienna for inspecting and certifying products in accordance with Donau Soja guidelines (http://www.donausoja. org/en/standards/certification/approvedcertification-bodies). Organic products certified by OCS on the Serbian market, in addition to the national mark, must bear the code RS-ORG-001 on their label, and optianaly the certification mark of OCS as well: • OCS is the only Serbian certification company that is on the list of certification bodies approved by the European Commission, with international code RS-BIO-162 for Serbia, which enables certification of organic producers from Serbia and thus export of Serbian organic products to the EU. • OCS is approved by the Swiss Govern-

"Organic Control System" is authorised by the Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection for inspecting and certifying organic production and the re-certification of imported organic products, verifying product conformity with marks of geographic origin and verifying product conformity with the mark “Srpski kvalitet”, and it is accredited by the Accreditation Body of Serbia according to the standard SRPS EN ISO/IEC 17065:2016

ment i.e. the Federal Agriculture Office for controlling organic production in accordance with Swiss national legislation, thus creating conditions for Serbian producers to export organic products to the Swiss market. • Since January 2017, OCS has been on the list of approved organisations that can inspect organic production in accordance with KRAV standards, more information is available at: • OCS is approved by the European Commission to operate on the territory of Montenegro, i.e. for certification of organic products in Montenegro under the code ME-BIO-162. In cooperation with internationally reputed certification bodies, OCS provides a programme of inspection and certification of organic production necessary for the

export of organic products from Serbia to the United States and Japan. “Organic Control System” offers the following services to farmers and the food sector: • inspection and certification of primary organic agriculture / crop and livestock production, • inspection and certification of processing, • inspection and certification of wild collection, • inspection and certification of import of organic products (Re-certification) • inspection and certification of products with marks of geographical indication • inspection and certification of products with the mark (Serbian Quality) • inspection and certification of products produced in accordance with DONAU SOYA guidelines. ■


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Novi Sad: 84th International Agricultural Fair The Fair welcomed its first foreign exhibitors eighty years ago; namely, Bulgarians who had come to present their poultry; 60 years ago, in 1957, it became recognised as an international and common Yugoslav fair. There has been a marked increase in the number of foreign exhibitors over the last several years, which reaffirms the fact that the most significant event of the Novi Sad Fair and the biggest agricultural business happening in this part of Europe is a place where supply and demand, as well as domestic and foreign companies meet. Visitors will have the opportunity to attend the impressive Agricultural Machinery Exhibition, while prepara-

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tions for the National Livestock Show and Organic Produce Exhibition are also underway. International B2B meetings will facilitate cooperation between entrepreneurs and institutions from around the world. Novi Sad Fair’s Congress Centre, which boasts modern infrastructure, will be home to numerous promotions, presentations, professional gatherings and other business events. New segments and engaging visitor content are also planned. The 84th International Agricultural Fair in Novi Sad will be held from 13th to 19th May 2017.


Future Agro Challenge Future Agro Challenge (FAC) is a global competition that discovers innovate fundable food and agribusiness startups from various corners of the globe addressing national, regional and global challenges. FAC provides key tools and opportunities to help them grow their business and expand them into new markets. FAC is working to make a difference on a global level by increasing interaction amongst agro innovators, entrepreneurs, and stakeholders by addressing national policies and challenges. There is not one simple solution to any of the complex global challenges of feeding the estimated growing population of 9 billion people by 2050. FAC was ignited in Greece, at the crossing of three continents, is rich in diversity in both wild and

cultivated plant species, has developed its botanical and agricultural practices for millennia, and the source of the famous Mediterranean diet, and has grown into a global competition. Each nation and region brings a new perspective, having overcome different obstacles and offering different facets of innovation. While disruptive solutions are being created across regions, individuals and visionaries often feel overwhelmed by the complexities to integrate in the agricultural ecosystem. FAC supports agro visionaries, startups, farmers, manufacturers, and distributors from countries across several continents. The most promising ideas and ventures are selected to compete in the International Finals for the title of the ‘Most Innovative Agribusiness of the Year’. The aims of the Future Agro Challenge are: • To foster innovation in agriculture • To encourage technology and methodology incorporating Evergreen Practices (to increase food production and efficiency in a sustainable manner, reducing

greenhouse gases and carbon and water footprints) • To upgrade agricultural education and training • To revolutionise the approach to healthy lifestyle and nutrition • To promote business and investment opportunities in agri business • To grow a global community of ex-

perts, investors, and innovators The Future Agro Challenge (FAC) began as an initiative of Industry DisruptorsGame Changers (ID-GC), a non-profit/nongovernmental organisation that hosts Disrupt Startup ScaleUp in Athens aiming to create an eco system that fosters and promotes innovative entrepreneurship.

Smart Eco-Social Villages For Rural Development

To encourage ways of boosting rural development, the European Commission has launched a call for tender for a pilot project on smart eco-social villages. What are the characteristics, drivers and factors of success for smart ecosocial villages? How do we work towards achieving villages with a viable economy, attractive living conditions and that are environmentally sustainable, with access to technology and state-of-the-art connectivity that could help boost rural areas. Open for submissions until 17 th May 2017, the aim of this pilot project is to find

concrete examples and best practices to overcome challenges facing rural areas, such as unemployment, insufficient services and depopulation. Relevant and practical examples could include, for example, innovative projects with the aim of fostering cooperation between farmers and/or other groups active in rural areas. The outcome of the project should aim to draw conclusions that are applicable throughout the European Union (EU), taking into account the diversity of circumstances that apply across the EU countries and regions.


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Organic Market In Europe The organic market in Europe continues to grow. In 2015, it increased by 13% and nearly reached €30 billion. At BIOFACH, the world’s leading trade fair for organic food, the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL and the Agricultural Market Information Company AMI presented the 2015 data of the European organic sector in February 2017. Germany is the largest organic market in Europe (€8.6 bln), followed by France (€5.5bln), the UK (€2.6bln) and Italy (€2.3bln) (2015 data). The first figures available for 2016 show that the market continues to grow (Germany 2016: €9.5bln). Globally, Germany is the second largest market after the U.S. (€35.8bln in 2015). Each year, European consumers are spending more for organic food – on average €36.4 in Europe and €53.7 in the European Union. Switzerland is the country with the highest per capita spending on organic food worldwide (€262), followed by Denmark (€191) and Sweden (€177). European countries also have the highest organic market shares: Denmark has the lead with 8.4 %; in Switzerland, the organic market share is 7.7 % and in Luxembourg 7.5 %. The trend of the market growing faster than organic farmland continued in 2015. However, it is encouraging that the area of organic farmland grew at a faster rate than it had in previous years: it increased by almost one million hectares or by 8.2%. At the end of 2015, 12.7 million hectares were under organic management in Europe (in the European Union, 11.2 million hectares). This constitutes 2.5% and 6.2% respectively of total agricultural land. The countries with the largest organic farmland areas are Spain (1.97 million hectares), Italy (1.49 million hectares) and France (1.37 million hectares). In each of these three countries, the area of organic farmland increased by at least 100,000 hectares. Nine European countries report that at least 10% of their farmland is organic and the highest organic shares worldwide are in Liechtenstein (30.2%), Austria (21.3%) and Sweden (16.9%).

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Organic Sector In Serbia

According to data of the Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection (MAEP), and the Group for organic production that records the database on organic production, based on annual reports of authorised control organisations, organic production in the Republic of Serbia in 2015 recorded overall growth in surface in organic status, as well as in livestock numbers and numbers of producers. A surface area of 15.298 ha (including meadows and pastures) was cultivated, including areas undergoing conversion to organic status. In comparison to 2014 (9,547.8ha), the total area increased by 60.25% which is a high rise, while in five years the rise was 261.3%. The share of organic production in overall arable land in Serbia increased by 0.44%. Total arable land utilised for organic production in 2015 (meadows and pastures excluded), was 13,398

In the last few months, Serbia has been recording a constant decline in export of raspberry compared to previous years, while cold storage units in Western Serbia have huge quantities of frozen raspberry on stock. The interest shown in Serbian raspberries abroad has been at its lowest in the last ten years – the exporters claim. They also say that the purchase price of frozen raspberry is lower than the price of fresh

ha, and 67.53% more than in 2014, when we had 7,998.5 ha under organic production. This area does not include land used for harvesting wild berries, mushrooms and herbs. It should be noted that there is no official methodology in Serbia to obtain data on the total area for wild collection and harvesting wild plant species from their natural habitats. The share of utilised land under organic production in total agricultural land in 2015 was 0.44% which is 0.16% more than in 2014.  Source:  National Association Serbia Organica

Decline In Export Of Serbian Raspberries

Cattle Trade Remains Steady The cattle trade remains steady for the week ending April 7th on the back of steady demand with some recovery in supplies. In the UK, the trade has seen a slight uplift on the back of an ease in supplies. Cattle prices from the AHDB remain stable in sterling terms and the GB R4L grade steers were averaging at 418.81 cent/kg for the week ending 1st April. In terms of heifer prices, the R3 heifer in Great Britain was making the equivalent of 411 cents/kg with the Northern Ireland price making on average 406 cents/kg. Looking at exchange rates, €1 was making on average 85.5 pence sterling during the week. In France, the market saw some uplift on the back of stronger seasonal demand ahead of Easter. The latest R3 young bull price decreased by 1 cent and was making on average 374 cents/kg, while the O3 cow price was up 2 cent to 318 cents/kg. In Italy, a small improvement was seen in the market on the back of higher demand. The R3 young bull price was making on average 395 cents/kg, while the O3 cow price was making 262 cents/kg. Looking at global markets, beef exports from Uruguay for the first quarter of 2017 are at their highest level in 11 years and 18% ahead of exports for the corresponding period last year. The main markets are China followed by the U.S., Israel and Russia. China is currently Argentina's largest export market for beef. Meanwhile, the latest Rabobank quarterly beef outlook has pointed to some balance in the market with uncertainties in the short term. Import demand is anticipated to remain strongest in Asia, with China forecast to see modest growth for the full year 2017, while Japan is also expected to see growth in the short to medium term.

ones, which was in the region of around 230 dinars per kilo. Last year, this fruit was sold for upwards of 320 dinars per kilo. Exporters say that the reason for that is the fact that Poland had a record-breaking year in 2016 when it comes to raspberry yield. Also, the drop in export sales is due to the fact that Serbian exporters mixed lower quality raspberries with top quality sorts like Vilamet and Miker which make over 90% of total raspberry production in Serbia. Buyers abroad were unhappy with this decision and some of them even returned entire contingents. In 2015, Serbia was at the very top in the world when it comes to raspberry export, with 105.000 tonnes. In 2014, the country generated €248 million from exporting this fruit.  Source: Blic


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Seven pilot municipalities in Southeast Serbia have reorganised more than 5,000 hectares during the project implemented by GIZ


he Serbian-German bilateral cooperation project “Strengthening of local land management in Serbia” is implemented by GIZ. The project’s goal is to improve and strengthen the management of land at national and local levels. Since 2013, this land management project has been helping the Serbian Ministry of Agriculture to improve its current land management practises. • One particularly interesting aspect of German-Serbian development cooperation is the project “Strengthening of local land management in Serbia”, which is implemented by GIZ. What is the aim of this project and how long will it last? - The project’s goal is to improve and strengthen the management of land at national and local levels. The focus of the project in the area of rural land management lies in providing advisory services to the Ministry of Agriculture, with the directorate of agricultural land, and to municipalities, considering EU standards, especially in the field of land management policies, effective management of stateowned agricultural land and the topic of modern land consolidation.

• Is this project implemented in phases and which activities have been carried out to date? What are the results of the project? - Fragmented and inaccessible land plots in Serbia lead to inef-

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ficient agricultural production and unused land. Since 2013, this land management project has been helping the Serbian Ministry of Agriculture improve its current land management practises. During the first phase, funded by the EU, the German Government and the Serbian Ministry of Agriculture, the project contributed to the development of legal regulations concerning agricultural land and strengthening administrative structures and capacities within the respective institutions. The project also facilitated the implementation of modern land consolidation, as well as measures to reduce abandoned agricultural land. We are now in the second phase, in which – based on the experiences of the last year’s phase – we are further improving the legal framework and institutional setup. We initiate a scaling up of lessons learnt. One visible result is the use of an IT-solution for the management of state-owned agricultural land for the elaboration of the Annual Programme for the Protection, Development and Use of Agricultural Land in DAL and in the municipalities. All data are stored in databases and accessible at national and local levels. This webbased solution provides transparency and facilitates the leasing of state-owned land. The institutions involved at the national and local levels receive a clear overview while working with the same data, even now, with the process only partly scaled up, essential analysis, reporting and decision making is more efficient and transparent. The hectarage of state-owned land for leasing and income has increased. All stakeholders at the national and local levels are still working to further improve the system. Another visible result we have is in the area of land consolidation, where we are initiating a

scaling up of lessons learnt. We worked with pilot municipalities in Southeast Serbia on the modernisation of the whole process, based on German experience and with regard to EU standards. Modern land consolidation, in our opinion, is linked to three key elements: • Comprehensive participation of all involved citizens and institutions during all steps of land consolidation; • Absolute transparency of administrative procedures; • Respect for the rule of law, meaning equal treatment of all stakeholders and the possibility for judicial review.

and prosperous economic development within the region concerned. The benefits of land consolidation measures in Serbia are consolidated properties with increased market values, better infrastructure, better rural living and working conditions, accurate property registers and cadastral maps, increased investments, stimulation of the weak land market, better employment and, last but not least, less migration from rural areas to urban centres and abroad. • In your opinion, what are the main problems of land management in Serbia, at both the local and national levels? How can agricultural land be more efficiently managed in Serbia? - The main problems from the perspective of land management are fragmented parcels, a lack of infrastructure, unresolved property relations, including restitution, and a weak legal framework. Land consolidation is, from my German perspective, an instrument that

• How many cities and municipalities had the opportunity to receive technical support in modernising their land management practises? - Seven pilot municipalities in Southeast Serbia have reorganised more than 5,000 hectares. Average parcel size has increased up to fourfold, while production costs have been reduced significantly. The vast majority of land owners are very satisfied. The land consolidation approach began with the application of current Serbian practises, which were gradually improved as required by modern sustainable mechanised agriculture and EU standards. Introduced novelties are reflected in the establishment of a board of participants to represent the interests of landowners, intensive awareness-raising campaigns, the comprehensive participation of all land owners and users, improved land valuation methods and the joint preparation of a plan of common and public facilities, including environmental impact assessments. During the entire implementation period, a serious of meetings, workshops and training courses were organised in order to achieve, to the greatest possible extent, the commitment and participation of all stakeholders. Together with the Directorate for Agricultural Land, the ongoing project already started with a series of meetings in potential new municipalities to raise awareness regarding these novelties. The main problems from the perspective of land management are

fragmented parcels, a lack of infrastructure, unresolved property

• Why is the consolidation of arable relations, including restitution, and a weak legal framework land essential? What are the effects of implementing land consolidation when it comes to the value of land, the competitiveness of procould be used to re-parcel highly fragmented ownership, while it is duction, resolving property rights issues etc.? What direct benadditionally used for big infrastructure measures like flood protecefit is gained by land owners and users? tion or improvement of infrastructure, and should be completed - The direct benefits are easily described. In our pilot municipalities, by measures for village renewal and environmental protection. for example, before land consolidation one farmer had 35 parcels and The weak horizontal and vertical adjustment of Serbian legislaneeded to travel 115km to get to all of them, after land consolidation tion should be improved, based on the experiences gained in the he owns five consolidated parcels and needs to cover 15km to get project’s pilots, combined with experiences gained in other parts to them. In general, he needs to go to all parcels at least five times of Serbia, like Vojvodina. Under the existing legislation with the 18 per year and it is easy to imagine the economic impact. We had a paragraphs of the “Law on Agricultural Land”, it is not possible for similar experience with a female farmer, who owned 19 parcels efficient land consolidation to be carried out. There is a need for a before the land consolidation and now owns one consolidated new legal setup, an experience we had in Germany, but also in other parcel. Solving property relations during land consolidation is free European countries. This requires a new definition of workflows, of charge and supports updates to the ownership cadastre. Field responsibilities and mandates, and also building capacities and roads, canals, irrigation systems and other infrastructure will be changing the mind-sets of the staff performing these tasks. Finally, improved, providing additional value to the farmers. Experiences an integrated approach that focuses not only on planning agriculture, from other European countries also show that investments in land but rather on integrating all needs of a municipality and combining consolidation have regularly high medium- and long-term returns that with local knowledge and initiatives, should be the future way. ■


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Product Control From Farm To Table It is possible to establish complete control of products – from the farm to the table – and this is the objective of the whole concept of safe food production: primary producers, transport, processing and production of food, distribution and retail storage



n HACCP system enables the control of all stages of the production of food products, not only end product control. There is room for improvement of the whole system in Serbia, and according to the SCC it is possible to establish complete traceability from the farm to the table, which is the objective of the whole concept of safe food production

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• Implementing the HACCP system is necessary not only to promote business and export, but it is also a legal requirement in Serbia. How do you see the level of implementation of the system in our country, particularly in meat and dairy production and processing? - The HACCP system is a very good and practical system, as it enables control of all stages of production

of food products, not only end product control. When it was first For export, it goes without saying that the HACCP system is applied as a legal requirement, fully implemented, but there are many other systems that we worked more on training and multinationals require from their suppliers (mostly retailers) capacity building of all the actors BRC, IFS, ISO 22000 and many others. In Serbia there are some in food production, so when talking about the implementation of excellent companies exporting in accordance with the standards the HACCP concept in practice, and requirements of the EU market, and they are strong we could say that there is a lot competitors to western companies of room for improvement of the system in general. The situation they surely cannot be working as they used to. We are is a bit better in the field of meat and dairy processing, facing substantial climate changes causing new animal as they are particularly sensitive products. diseases, so the risks are changing as well. That is why we have to work on informing producers about the ben• What about meeting other standards that are reefits of added value for products, such as geographical quired for export not only to the EU, but to other marindications, organic production and many other things. kets? Are we keeping up with competitors from other countries, and what issues are there? - For export, it goes without saying that the HACCP system is fully implemented, but there are many other systems that multinationals require from their suppliers (mostly retailers) BRC, IFS, ISO 22000 and many others. In Serbia there are some excellent companies exporting in accordance with the standards and requirements of the EU market, and they are strong competitors to western companies. • Are small agricultural producers in Serbia aware that it is not possible to produce, for example meat products, in the way their fathers used to do, but that they have to meet certain standards, particularly in terms of EU accession and market access? - Primary agricultural production takes place at about 350,000 registered farms, out of 650,000 in total in Serbia, a large number of registered meat processing facilities (about 1,000), along with sales on green markets. Production technology has progressed considerably and AGRIBUSINESS LAND IS EVERYTHING THAT MATTERS

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attention should be paid to craft production and sales on green markets. • Is it possible to provide complete traceability and safety of foodstuffs of animal origin, and how? What is the European experience? - It is possible to establish complete traceability – from the farm to the table – which is the objective of the whole concept of safe food production: primary producers, transport, processing and production of food, distribution, storage in retail facilities. I believe this is the moment

Production technology has progressed considerably and they surely cannot be working as they used to. We are facing substantial climate changes causing new animal diseases, so the risks are changing as well. That is why we have to work on informing producers about the benefits of added value for products, such as geographical indications, organic production and many other things • How would you generally rate slaughterhouses and meat production plants in Serbia? Do hygiene and sanitation procedures and veterinary inspections meet all the necessary standards and requirements, at least for the largest manufacturers? - Industrial facilities for meat processing are in good shape. The whole system is constantly being improved, particularly export facilities. The fact is that there are not enough inspectors for field operations, but in general the system is under control. However, particular

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to mention the quality of these products, the use of additives in technical processes and the quality of the raw materials (meat, milk).

• Do you think that the applicable Food Safety Law and the corresponding rulebooks govern the quality and inspection of food of animal origin in Serbia in an appropriate way? - The Food Safety Law is in the process of amendment so it will be improved. The division of competences between inspection bodies has also been established. We should think of the number of veterinary inspectors and the inspection of hospitality facilities in all stages of food preparation (where the raw materials are purchased, how they are stored, staff, storage of prepared food, etc.). Consumers could also contribute to improving the system by carefully considering where and what to buy. ■


Amaks Helps Serbia’s Dairy Industry Develop


he Amaks Dairy in Mošorin is an excellent example of the development of the entrepreneurial spirit and how to influence rural development, but also a good example of how a clean dairy produces safe and high-quality dairy products. This dairy is also of exceptional importance to the development of the communities in which it operates, where it collaborates with more than 300 producers

The products of Stado Moje are recognisable in Vojvodina and Belgrade this point, after just a year of operations, stability and the possibility for the further development of their agricultural holdings. Around 30 villagers from Mošorin and the surrounding area are currently employed at the dairy itself.

At the same time, our company also deals in the production of liquid microbiological fertiliser BACILLOMIX SPECIJAL, the development of which we plan to work on in the coming years.

• What are your future plans? Do they relate to expanding production in that vicinity or possibly implementing similar projects elsewhere in Vojvodina and Serbia? - The dairy currently processes approximately 20,000 litres of raw milk per day, and due to its portfolio of products (daily programme – perishable products) we have mainly oriented

• Why did you decide to develop dairy livestock in particular; what are the prospects like in other areas of agriculture? - I’ve been in the dairy industry since the start of my working life. Even during the period of my studies in Belgrade, I recognised the development of primary agricultural production and the production sector it supports as one of the few

• The Ministry of Agriculture will this year focus on young farmers. Last year you independently came up with the idea of hiring young people and giving them an incentive to remain in the countryside. Can you tell us more about that? - After many years working in the The dairy currently cooperates with over 300 producers from the dairy sector of the Republic of Serbia village and surrounding settlements – I am a former owner of the Kikinda Dairy Industry Ltd. and later the Niš sectors where we can remain on our own and sales towards the markets of the Autonomous Dairy JSC, which was then Serbia’s third largest independently develop our economy, while at Province of Vojvodina and the city of Belgrade, dairy – in mid 2015, after selling the dairy in Niš the same time developing our local communiwhere our products are already recognised under to Imlek, I decided in the village of Mošorin – the ties and villages, which throughout history have the brand STADO MOJE (HERD of MINE). Our village with the largest number of dairy cows and been the most stable and resilient part of the priority in the coming years is to develop our raw raw milk in Serbia – to start producing milk and community and society. material base, by educating milk producers and dairy products, mostly with a daily programme With the current agricultural budget and the making them capable of competing in an open (pasteurised milk, yoghurt, sour milk, sour cream, regular payment of premiums to agricultural competition following the abolition of excise ducream curd, fresh cheese etc.). The entire investment was implemented in less than nine months ties on the import of milk and dairy products, as producers, as well as the Ministry of Agriculture’s current policy of subsidising agricultural and the dairy started operating on 11th April 2016. well as working on the quality and recognisability producers, I think that livestock and agriculture The dairy currently cooperates with over 300 of our products, as well as the high quality of the as a whole has a realistic opportunity to develop producers from the village and surrounding setlocal Brand formed by domestic milk from farms tlements. They recognise in the dairy, already at in the coming years. ■ in our immediate surroundings. AGRIBUSINESS LAND IS EVERYTHING THAT MATTERS

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INTERVIEW PROFESSOR EMERITUS DR BRANKA LAZIĆ, University of Novi Sad Faculty of Agriculture

Good Image Of Organic Production

Serbian farmers have understood what organic farming can offer in production, economic and environmental terms, and today we have various successful examples which show that the potential for organic agriculture is slowly but surely being realised


hen it comes to organic production, many positive steps have been taken and today on the map of Serbia we can find various successful producers, which is a result of education, the introduction of new knowledge and an holistic approach to agricultural production.

beekeeping, while the modest beginnings of organic horticulture are also noticeable. They are suppliers of green markets and supermarkets with fresh products certified as organic agriculture. All of this shows that the potential for organic agriculture is slowly but surely being realised. • In your opinion, in which direction should the process develop in order for organic production to be brought within the framework of sustainable development in Serbia? - The EU has stressed since 2010 that or-

complex, which means an appropriate approach to conventional and especially organic production. The organic vision of Europe, as the document for the period up to 2030, envisages 50 per cent of cultivated land in Europe being occupied by this type of production. • Where do you see the state’s role in supporting the development of organic production? - Government has a multifaceted role. It is essential to support the overall development of organic agriculture, the implementation of action plans with a guiding role

• There has been talk for years about Serbia’s great potential for the successful development of organic agriculture. How would you today assess the trends in this area of Serbian agriculture? - The organic picture of Serbia is beautiful and shows that farmers Sustainable development, particularly rural development, must be considered as being complex, which means an appropriate have felt and understood what orapproach to conventional and especially organic production. ganic production is and what it can provide in production, economic and The organic vision of Europe, as the document for the period environmental terms. Of approxiup to 2030, envisages 50 per cent of cultivated land in Europe mately 16,000 hectares, today we being occupied by this type of production have large (500 to 3,000 ha) producers of legume crops and exceptional and financial support related not only to ganic agriculture is a model of sustainable organic farms, the stand out examples of which control and certification, but rather also development, while development documents are those that use organic production for as part of participation in the restoration envisage 20 per cent of farming in the EU as the development of green jobs (processing, of farms and their conversion to organic being organic by 2020. selling, composting, biogas etc.). type agriculture in dominant family, small Sustainable development, particularly rural Small producers deal with the cultivaand medium-sized estates. development, must be considered as being tion of fruit, vegetables, medicinal herbs,

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Apart from that, special attention should be paid to the development of fruit and vegetable growing on small estates, which is particularly interesting for the preservation of traditional gardens and small arable plots in the hilly and mountainous regions of Serbia. Alongside that, a well-designed programme with additional investments in infrastructure could provide the starting point for the return of young people to villages. • Which obstacles do producers who choose to deal with organic products most commonly encounter? - It should be known that organic farming is not sufficiently “equipped” with essential inputs, such as organic fertilisers, seeds, machinery, and that there are significant gaps in the regulations, all of which make it difficult to start and develop organic agriculture. Organic products must have a secured market, or production on large farms must be harmonised with the needs of consumers and processing, while it is also necessary to have sufficient supporting facilities, such as cold storage units and various processing facilities. The biggest obstacle is certainly the lack of knowhow, especially given that an increasing number of non-agricultural producers, in various occupations, are opting for organic agriculture. Every manufacturer must go through training in organic agriculture and rely, during the course of further production, on lifelong education that follows changes in production. • Organic food isn’t easy to produce and has significantly lower yields than conventional production. How could that be changed? - First we should dispel another misconception – reduced yields in organic farming only occur in the first or possibly the second year of the conversion period. In addition to overcoming the aforementioned problems, it is also essential to work on recycling organic matter, or on compost production, better organisation of organic seed collection, especially when it comes to multiplying and preserving native varieties, resolving the issue of biological materials for protection... This is all a process that is already underway, but if organic production receives its proper

place in the context of Serbia’s agriculture and clear entry into the EU, production costs will fall and it will be more productive and profitable. For the development of organic production, as well as the market, a very important issue is combining the forces of organic producers, especially with small estates. • Is legislation in this domain in Serbia harmonised with the EU or is more work on legislation needed? - I would like to remind you that the first

adoption of the second Law in 2006. The real development of certified organic agriculture with a regulated system followed the adoption of the new law was passed in late 2010. All legal regulations have been harmonised with EU legislation, with the assistance of the FAO programme, the Government of Slovakia and their experts in organic agriculture. Then the first Council of organic farming was also formed. This means that it is only 2011 that can be considered as the real beginning of certified organic agriculture with membership in IFOAM. I believe that the issue of harmonisation is not an obstacle and, according to the stances of the International Organisation of Organic Producers and the EU Commission, many changes are implemented along the way. But the will must exist for all of that. • How do you see the future of organic agriculture in Serbia? - I am an optimist, as testified by my almost 30 years working on organic agriculture. Progress can perhaps best be felt in the shift in the consciousness of producers and consumers regarding “healthy nutrition” that has influenced organic production – about the fact that food production is not simple “peasant” work that many have fled, but rather production with broad knowhow. In short, we are becoming more environmen-

Organic farming will gain special impetus when it is treated not only as food production, but rather also as production with methods that contribute to conserving biodiversity and protecting the environment steps in organic (synonymous with biological, ecological) agriculture were taken in our country at the start of the year 2000. Then we gathered around the Terras association in Subotica and developed the first farms with organic production, and that is also the most intensive development of citizens’ associations with an environmental basis and an example of familiarising producers and consumers with what organic farming is and why it exists. With harsh troubles, those of us gathered around the organic idea succeeded in pushing for adoption of the first Law (2001) on Organic Production, though without a shift in production. This also happened after the

tally aware, which supports the development of organic agriculture. Organic farming will gain special impetus when it is treated not only as food production, but rather also as production with methods that contribute to conserving biodiversity and protecting the environment. Its multifunctional nature provides the opportunity to employ young people and develop green entrepreneurship, and forms part of the development of the green economy. And all of that is heading one way towards economic, ecological and social development – towards a happier life, today and tomorrow. That’s why my vote is always - YES – FOR ORGANIC PRODUCTION! ■


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Innovative Agricultural Machinery And Appliances Machinery designed by the Berko company of Mol has found its way to the markets of 24 countries


he company Berko, based in Mol, has been designing agricultural machinery and appliances for a long time. The use of the SolidWorks 3D CAD package has greatly reduced the number of prototypes, which has resulted in considerable savings and enabled a reduction in product prices. • Your company has a long tradition, over 30 years, in the production of agricultural machinery. What in your opinion is important to survive on the market? - In today's dynamic world, preserving the ability to be competitive is not the easiest task.

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Survival and assuring the means of development allow a competitive product on the market, characterised by consistent quality, competitiveness, dynamic development and innovative solutions. Our company’s machines are present in 24 countries in the world, which demonstrates quality and trust. Constant contact with the end user is the best way to assess their various demands and provide a competitive product to the market. • You participate in a number of fairs at home and abroad. How important is it to follow global trends and innovation in production?


- Attending international fairs is an obvious investment. That does not only mean keeping contacts with foreign partners or creating new contacts, it also means getting to see the dynamics of all kinds of technical, innovative solutions. These can suggest technical solutions to our engineers. For example, our presence at the international agricultural fair in Hannover indicates how far we are moving in the right direction. I can say that every time we visit a fair we do new business, which is a sure sign that the innovative development of our machines has its place on the global market. ■


The Largest Lavender Plantation In Serbia In the vicinity of Bela Palanka, between the Stara and Suva mountains, you can find the third largest lavender plantation in the world. The plants that grow there are of the highest quality. Although lavender is originally a Mediterranean plant, it can also thrive on the territory of Serbia. Ljiljana Petrović from Niš has devoted herself to the organic production of lavender. At the foot of Suva mountain, some 25 kilometres from Niš, she has raised a plantation covering more than 30 hectares. She has planted 600,000 seedlings of Lavandula Vera, the original French lavender that is used as a base for all perfumes and in medicine. She came up with the idea on one of her many journeys to Italy and France. The climate between the Suva and Stara mountains is similar to that of the Mediterranean and maybe even better for growing lavender. Hot winds blow from the Aegean Sea during the day, the soil is poor red soil laden with rock, and throughout the night the climate is typical of the mountains – the air temperature drops, allowing the preservation of valuable etheric oil. Ljiljana has established cooperation with many people, most of them youngsters, like her friends’ children. She has taught them how to grow lavender and is now purchasing purchasing the lavender quantities she needs from them. Work on the plantation starts in March and continues until late autumn. In addition to her full-time staff, she hires fifty or more

day labourers to help out during high season. In the first year of growing, the yield of lavender flower is almost negligible. Full yield and real profitability do not come before the third year, while the average exploitation period of a lavender plant is ten years. One well-developed lavender bush produces 1-1.5 kg of flowers. It is most profitable sell lavender oil on the global market, where it reaches a price of about 90 euros per litre. The etheric oils produced on this and the cooperating plantations are well established on the Belgian market, but Americans, French, and Italians have expressed also their interest.

Export Of Fruit From Fruška Gora For over 30 years the southern slopes of Fruška Gora at Borkovac Lake have been a symbol of passion for quality and freshness. Production of the best quality fruit is maintained thanks to love of nature, a unique combination of geographical conditions and connection between man and nature. Thanks to entrepreneur Zoran Kovačević, his company Donerra d.o.o. unites modern technology, a visionary approach and a team of top experts in fruit production. Today the Donerra production complex covers around 170 hectares and, by applying modern agro-technical measures and controlling the entire production process, it guarantees the top quality and safety of the most delicious varieties of apples, pears, apricots and sweet cherries. Most of the production is exported to Russia, while the plan is to expand this export to the markets of North Africa, India and China. Next year a refrigeration facility is planned with a capacity of 3,500 tonnes. In the next five years the entire area of the orchard will be irrigated and secured with an anti-hail system.


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Lazar Family Dairy Company, Blace The Lazar Company started operating in 1994 as a consumer goods trader employing two staff. In 1998 it expanded its business activity to include milk processing and making dairy products. The reason behind the expansion was our healthy environment and the capacity to use our resources. It was planned to process 1,000 litres of milk a day. The Lazar Dairy started operating in 1999. The company's primary product was, and still is, Blački kačkavalj (Blace hard cheese). However, in response to the daily market needs and, using state-of-the-art technology, the company has so far developed a dozen new products: yoghurt, pasteurised milk, hard cheese, crumbled cheese, feta cheese, cream cheese, peppers filled with cream and butter. In 2003 the Lazar Company acquired D.P. Napredak Blace, a company in receivership. In just 90 days they managed to refurbish their building, with a surface area of 1,500 square metres, and to adapt it to suit dairy production needs. With this, the company upgraded its production processes to meet demand for its products, which is increasing daily. In this new facility about 50,000 litres of milk a day are now processed, and its capacity allows for 80,000 litres. The number of staff has multiplied. Lazar Dairy now employs 120 people and more than 2,500 agricultural households produce milk for the dairy. The dairy buys milk in Toplice and Ras Counties, located in the southern and central part of Serbia respectively. Over the past three years, it has imported more than 500 Simmental milking cows from Austria and distributed them across their largest cooperating agricultural households. Simmental cattle are among the oldest and most commonly used cattle in the world. This project was very successful, as it enhanced the genetic composition of livestock in the area and increased the productivity level and cost-effectiveness of the business. A station for 300 cows was built in Draguša village, 5 km from Blace. This facility, with a surface area of 6,500 square metres on 8 ha of land, will produce supreme quality fresh milk with which the dairy will be able to compete on the EU market. They are HACCP and ISO 9000/2000 certified. They have their own biomass plant and use both fertilisers and manures. They export to Russia.

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Carski Vineyard On Fruška Gora On Fruška Gora there stands a monument to the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius Probus who was born in Sirmium (today's Sremska Mitrovica), on the spot where he planted the first vines 18 centuries ago. Marcus Aurelius Probus brought the grape to the southern slopes of Fruška Gora at the place known as Šumljanska Glavica, and now Milorad Milošević has returned the vineyard and honour to both him and Sirmium. “This is a historic spot, and why should we not tell the whole world, Europe and everyone that it was here that the grape vine began to grow, to develop and to start its journey across Europe?” asks Milorad Milošević. He began by clearing a small grassy slope, but eight years later the vineyard had spread over 25 hectares. He spent his working life in Slovenia,

but invested five million euros in vineyards in his native Srem. Last year 30 tonnes of his grapes ended up in other people’s wineries, but this autumn he will be making wine in his own winery in Veliki Radinci. He also planted vines on four hectares of school grounds, allowing a dual education for students of a Vojvodina programme “Vinar Vinogradar”. These students do practical work and become familiar with the process, from planting to harvesting and finally making the wine. “Everything that Fruška Gora vineyards and the people of Srem can offer”, he says, “will find their place in the Temple of Wine where 250,000 litres will be made. Local and international certificates are already issued and the first bottle is sealed in honour of the Roman founder of Serbian vineyards.”

Apple Orchards In Titel - Ćirić Agro MĐŽ Company Ćirić Agro owns modern apple orchards covering 240 hectares. The entire plantation is covered with hail protection nets, irrigation and fertilisation systems. Priority is given to varieties that are dominant on the world market, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith and Gala. 13,500 tonnes of ULO cold storage capacity was built to be competitive on the world market and to ensure the customer receives the highest quality goods. The cold storage is equipped with a sorting machine with a capacity of 12 tonnes/hour. Another cold storage of 8,400 tonnes is planned. Apple yield is about 70tonnes/ha and 90% of the production goes to Russia. The company's plan is to grow another mixed modern plantation on 160 hectares, where they will cultivate blueberry, cherry, pear and apple. The company has well-developed, intensive vegetable and crop production. Vegetables - lettuce, bell pepper, chili pepper, cucumber and tomato alternate during the year on a protected area of two hectares. Crop production takes place on 2,500 hectares, with modern machinery that enables faster, more efficient and more economically viable work. The machinery contains satellite navigation, wide grip add-on machinery and tools and irrigation systems that cover an area of 700 hectares. The company also has storage capacity in the form of a silo of 12,000 tonnes and a floor warehouse that can take 22,000 tonnes. In order to partly round off the process of seed production, they have built a processing centre to process seeds of grains and soybean.


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Agribusiness 2017  
Agribusiness 2017