- Serbian companies that produce and process fruits, vegetables and organic food have signed, after they took part in trade fairs Fruit Logistica in Berlin and BioFach in Nurnberg, the export contracts worth USD 8m, and they are currently negotiating on export of another USD 8.6m worth of food products - the US Agency for International Development announced on February 26, 2010.
Serbian companies that participated in fresh fruits and vegetables expo Fruit Logistica, which was held in Berlin between February 3 and 5, are the following: Agrocom, Agrar-Komerc, Agrotrade, Agroprom Com, Atos Vinum, Cool Food, association Fruit Land, Igda Impex, Lučić Prigrevica, PIK Južni Banat, Sagal, truck farming association Vojvodina and collective farm Prima- borovnica.
These companies have already signed the contracts on sale of products worth USD 8m, while the negotiations on export of goods worth USD 5.9m are underway. Foreign buyers are offered various types of fruits and vegetables, as well as forest mushrooms. The products that have the biggest share in the agreed export are apples, plums and peaches, while the majority of products will be exported to Russia.
- In order to have more success in foreign markets, Serbian markets have to join their forces because it is the only way for them to produce sufficient quantities for bigger market chains and potential partners - the President of the Group of Associations Srpski Plodovi, Ratko Vukićević, who represented the companies participants in Fruit Logistica on this occasion, told eKapija.
- The primary task is to make a cooperative of small manufacturers and turn them into a big force in that way. For example, the world's biggest potato company Agrico gathers 2,500 farmers who conquered the world by joining the forces. The problem of our appearance in other markets is good packaging. From my experience, it is a quite big problem to make an adequate packaging since there are neither good manufacturers nor big orders for such packaging. A stimulus measure would be to send manufacturers to international trade fairs to see how that is done by those at higher level of development than us - Vukićević told eKapija.
The President of Serbia Organica association, Nada Mišković, said that the negotiations were underway on sale of organic products worth USD 2.7m, which were the result of the participation in organic food expo BioFach (between February 17 and 20) in Nurnberg.
At BioFach, companies Foodland, Zadrugar, Zdravo Organic, ITN, Royal Eco Food, Radoslovi and Mondi presented several kinds of fresh and frozen organic fruits and vegetables, jams, juices...
As she pointed out, the aim of Serbia Organica is to increase the surface of cultivated fields used for organic production to 1m ha within next 5 to 10 years, which would be about 20% of all cultivable surfaces in Serbia.
She added that the creation of the national audit company that would be issuing free certificates to manufacturers within next five years would also contribute to the enlargement of surface for organic production. According to her words, an investment of 300,000 to 500,000 EUR would be necessary for that project.
The Assistant Minister of Agriculture of Serbia, Miloš Milovanović, estimated that the organic agriculture represented the big potential of the country that was not used because organic food in Serbia was grown at only 2,400 ha.
- Agribusiness represents a part of our economy that is constantly registering surplus in foreign-trade exchange since 2005. The surplus in 2009 amounted to USD 640m, while import was reduced by 20% - said Milovanović and pointed out that the new markets for export of our products were Belarus and Turkey, with which Serbia had signed the contract on free trade.
Milovanović added that RSD 300m would be set aside from the budget of Serbia for stimuli for export of agricultural products, three times less than last year's RSD 1bn, but he pointed out that the trend of reduction of stimuli was in accordance with the country's progress on the path towards membership in the European Union and the World Trade Organization.