Source: eKapija | Monday, 20.05.2019.| 14:44
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Regional and world companies looking for new markets at Agricultural Fair in Novi Sad

(Photo: Dragana Obradović)
The Agricultural Fair in Novi Sad is the meeting place for companies from the agrarian sector from all corners of the world. This year, companies from 32 countries are exhibiting at the fair, but products and services from 61 states are also being presented. For the first time, the fair has both the Partner Country - Italy and the Friend Country – Tunisia.

Traditionally, the Chamber of Commerce of Republika Srpska also takes part in the fair, in cooperation with the Foreign Trade Chamber of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Within this stand, 17 companies from the food industry are exhibiting, whereas over 50 are presented in the catalog.

– Each year, local enterprises are more and more interested in exhibiting here, as it is a way for them to open new markets and find business partners – Vladimir Blagojevic, the spokesman of the Chamber of Commerce of Republika Srpska, told eKapija.

Vladimir Blagojevic
Vladimir Blagojevic

He added that this was important, as there was a great lack of balance between import and export when it comes to the cooperation with Serbia. In 2018, the export to Serbia grew by slightly over EUR 3 million (BAM 6 million). The value of the export of food products is slightly over EUR 30 million (BAM 60 million), whereas the import from Serbia is slightly over EUR 168 million (BAM 336 million).

– This shows that there’s a lot of room for our exports to be far higher, and one of the reasons is that our citizens see products from Serbia as local products. That’s what we would like to have in Serbia as well. The opportunity in Novi Sad lies in the fact that a lot of people who live here originate in Republika Srpska, so that segment of sentimentality should be made use of – Blagojevic believes.

He adds that face-to-face communication at the fair is another chance, which is often crucial to signing a deal.

– We can also see where we are compared to our competition, and we can also present ourselves to other countries and establish new contacts – says Vladimir Blagojevic.

He also praises the excellent cooperation with the Chamber of Commerce of Vojvodina and the Chamber of Commerce of Serbia, with which they currently have two projects – digitization and dual education.

Javier Alvarez
Javier Alvarez (Photo: Aleksandra Kekić / eKapija)

For the fourth time, Spain took part in the fair. We talked to the economic adviser to the head of the Economic and Trade Department of this country in Belgrade, Javier Alvarez, about how Spanish experiences can help agriculturists in Serbia.

– There are similarities, as well as differences between the agriculture of Spain and Serbia, but what can be implemented here are Spanish experiences when it comes to overcoming climate challenges or the lack of humidity. When it comes to protecting crops, Spain has experiences with plastic greenhouses, biostimulants, as well as insurance. That’s what we can teach agriculturists in Serbia, how to maintain their yields regardless of the weather, as well as how to be competitive when it comes to exports, for example, to the EU – Alvarez believes.

When it comes to the cooperation between the two countries, the statistics show that it is growing, our interviewee adds.

– Food makes up around a fourth of our exports to Serbia and they are growing each year. Also, the export of Serbia to Spain is growing, especially when it comes to grains. When it comes to institutional cooperation, it is growing stronger between cooperatives, and Serbia is interested in our experiences in this field. Our cooperatives export increasingly more and we believe that cooperatives in Serbia can do so as well.

A total of seven companies from Spain are taking part in this year’s fair, and the fields they come from are irrigation, plastic greenhouses, production of seeds, fertilizers and biostimulants.

Mila Mirkovic – middle
Mila Mirkovic – middle (Photo: Aleksandra Kekić / eKapija)

The Embassy of the Netherlands in Serbia also organized a group presentation of Dutch companies.

– Our stand features Dutch companies which operate in Serbia, regardless of whether they are sister companies or companies with offices in our country. There are also some companies from the Netherlands which operate in the region, more precisely, in North Macedonia. We have also organized certain activities at the fair which will feature lecturers from the regional office of the FAO in Budapest, and there will also be participants from the B&H and the Ministry of Environmental Protection of Serbia. They will talk about circular economy and circular agriculture, that is, sustainable development, and how important it is for our producers to start thinking about this topic and for cooperation in the sector to actualize as soon as possible – said Mila Mirkovic, the assistant for agriculture at the Dutch Embassy in Serbia.

As she pointed out, the fair will also feature closed meetings, meant only for the companies which exhibit at the Dutch stand.

– The Dutch exhibit at the Agricultural Fair is slightly different than the presentations of other countries, as it is not state-sponsored, but financed by the companies themselves. The embassy is providing logistics support, coordinating various activities, so we are organizing those closed meetings as part of that – Mirkovic pointed out.

Aleksandra Kekic and Dragana Obradovic

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