Serbia needs new channels, such as the markets of China and Iran, so that we could export our agricultural products efficiently, Minister of Agriculture and Environmental Protection Branislav Nedimovic stated on June 26.
– There's great interest coming from countries with massive populations, which is why it is necessary for Serbia to become aware of its role in the entire process and of the cultures which could bring it a competitive advantage – Nedimovic stated at the presentation of a study of the competitiveness of Serbian agriculture.
He also announced that agrarian policy measures for 2018 would be presented a month or two later.
– So far, the biggest problem has been the agrarian policy, which has not been good – the minister said and pointed to the need to amend the Law on Agricultural Land and to the unfairly neglected sector of vegetable growing.
– The biggest value of our agrarian sector are agriculturists, regional specialization, free land, commercial contracts and quality agricultural products, according to the results of the study of the competitiveness of Serbian agriculture, realized by the consulting company SEEDEV, the German Agency of International Cooperation (GIZ) and the Ministry of Agriculture.
The areas in which Serbia is the most competitive is the production of fruit, mostly red fruit, such as raspberries, strawberries and sour cherries, and it is relatively competitive in producing grains (corn and wheat), as well as in producing industrial plants, such as sugar beet, soybeans and sunflowers.
The founder of SEEDEV, Goran Zivkov, emphasized that export was a good aspect of the local agrarian sector, as very few countries could boast such a big trade surplus, but he added that the problem was that the growth was slowing down and that it hadn't been as intensive in the previous six years due in part to the loss of the CEFTA market.
The leader of the GIZ project “Support to Negotiations with the EU”, Andrej Horvat, said that competitiveness was the ultimate need of any government, so that it would know where it was and where it needed to go.
The idea, as he pointed out, is for Serbia to have better data in negotiating about chapters 11, 12 and 13, which are the focus of the cooperation between the Government of Serbia and the Ministry of Agriculture with GIZ, which has been supporting Serbia in its road to the EU integration since 2012.