The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) will invest around USD 12 million in the strengthening of the food and processing industry in Serbia through the Project for Competitive Economy over the next four years, the director of the project, Aleksandar Pavlovic, announced in Nis yesterday.
He said that the USAID project for Competitive Economy had started on November 1.
– The aim of the project is to strengthen the systemic structures in the state which support companies processing and exporting food products, thereby influencing an increase in the sale and export of those products – Pavlovic said at the Regional Chamber of Commerce in Nis.
According to him, Serbia has been recognized in Europe and the world as a big producer and exporter of agricultural products, whereas, on the other hand, its food industry and exports do not follow those trends.
– The food industry in Serbia is growing, and the sector of fresh fruits and vegetables and frozen products is growing with remarkable intensity in particular. However, the sectors which produce the biggest added value and which are ready to be included in commercial chains are on the level of a statistical error – Pavlovic said.
He stated that the USAID Project for Competitive Economy would deal with access to information and education of businessmen regarding new markets and new processing technologies.
According to him, the food industry in Serbia is very diffused, with plenty of small companies, which are unlikely to find clients in foreign markets.
According to the USAID data, over 3,400 companies in Serbia make food products, and the sector employs more than 80,000 people.