Source: eKapija | Wednesday, 30.03.2011.| 00:45
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Djurdja Ceramilac, Head of Department of Economic Relations at Canadian Embassy to Belgrade - Pure liquid gold arrives in Serbia

Djurdja Ceramilac
Djurdja Ceramilac

Maple syrup is also called `liquid gold`. It is made of the sweet juice from a maple tree. Another name for cranberries is `swamp apples`. They can be eaten fresh or mixed with maple syrup in a sweet sauce or with ground dried meat in the dish "pemmican". The most famous potato manufacturer in Canada is Mc Cain. There are over 160 types of fish and shells living in cold, clean Canadian waters. Canadian whiskey is only one of 800 brands of alcoholic drinks in that country. These are only some of the information that those who were preparing for the Friday night event at Super Maxi market in Belgrade`s shopping center Delta City had to learn. As part of the successful campaign Discover The Flavors of Canada, consumers were giving answers to various questions in a mini quiz. For each correct answer, Canadian Ambassador to Serbia John Morrison was giving gifts - typical Canadian food products.

Djurdja Ceramilac, the Head of the Department of Economic Relations at the Embassy of Canada to Belgrade, speaks in an interview for eKapija about the promotion of Canadian food in Serbia, cooperation opportunities, as well as about potential investors from Canada, which is famous for the production of healthy food.

eKapija: What is the aim of the campaign Discover The Flavors of Canada? Which products have you presented in Serbia?

- We started the implementation of that project with the promotion and presentation of Canadian agricultural and food products at Belgrade-based Holiday Inn hotel. During this campaign, we presented the most remarkable products of Canada, one of which is definitely maple syrup. It is a specific product obtained in spring by making cuts in a maple tree and collecting liquid. A maple tree leaf is also on the flag of Canada. Another remarkable product of Canada is cranberry and Canada is the world`s second largest manufacturer of that fruit. They grow in swampy areas, which is why they are also called "swamp apples". Aside from being tasteful, cranberry is also very healthy and has the characteristics of a natural antibiotic. We are also promoting Canadian hake and mackerel, as well as sea fruits. One of the world`s largest potato manufacturers is Canadian company Mc Cain. This vegetable is extremely popular in Canada, especially if it is organically grown. There are also Canadian legumes, which we export to over 150 countries. One of the products we promote in Serbia is Canadian whiskey of a special taste, which is affected by the selection and quality of water, corn, barley and rye. Finally, what has drawn the greatest attention is the organic biscuit Voortman. These biscuits are not only a tasteful candy, but also a medicine because they reduce the level of cholesterol. Unfortunately, this biscuit is not available to people in Serbia yet because it`s manufacturer is still in a search for a local distributor.

eKapija: Are the prices of these products high?

- Prices of Canadian products in Serbia are competitive. Large quantities of beans, cranberries, fish, lentils and McCain potato products are export to Serbia every year.

eKapija: Is there a way for Serbia`s food products to enter the market of Canada?

- Canadian market is huge. The country exports as much goods as it imports. A condition for the export of goods to Canada is harmonization and signing of health protocols of the two countries, which has already been done in most of cases. There is an initiative for the export of meat and meat products to Canada and we are now working on the harmonization of regulations. Canadian inspectors will come to Serbia to check production plants and products. It is good that growing number of manufacturers in Serbia are introducing HACCP system, which is the standard that originates from Canada. Canadian market also requires products to be of high quality and produced in accordance with global standards, to be recognizable and, of course, competitive in terms of prices. What is also necessary is to respect delivery deadlines.

eKapija: You have announced participation in the Agricultural Fair in Novi Sad. In which way are you going to present yourselves?

- The first organized appearance of the Embassy of Canada at the Agricultural Fair in Novi Sad took place last year. Before that, companies from Canada were participating only individually. The number of companies that will participate in the Agricultural Fair this year will be much bigger and the focus will be on the manufacturers of facilities and equipment for cattle breeding, as well as on genetic materials in cattle breeding business. We will also present a specific Canadian model of a farm with light, prefabricated structures and top-quality equipment, which provides high-quality living conditions for animals. Milk processing equipment will also be presented this year. There is an alliance in Canada, the world`s largest exporter, and its offer includes "turn key" farms. Prices of Canadian equipment are highly competitive. We are currently in the process of agreeing some bigger deals for the renovation of farms by the model offered by Canadian alliance - Team Canada. The Government of Canada has recognized the need for approval of favorable loans to Serbian companies and farmers. We have launched an initiative, in agreement with the bank Export Development Canada, for opening a credit line for the acquisition of Canadian goods. We will also organize the Day of Canada at the Agricultural Fair and promote goods and services of our exhibitors on that occasion.

eKapija: A contemporary farm has already been built in Dobanovci with Canadian capital?

- The farm in Dobanovci is the most modern farm in Europe. Canadian capital was invested in it`s construction and a genetic material of Holstein dairy cows was imported from Canada. A European expert who conducted an inspection of the farm said he had never seen a better organized farm. We are proud of that.

eKapija: Will there be some Canadian investments in Serbia?

- Our idea is to bring a major investor such as McCain. We would like that company to open production plants in Serbia for markets in the region, Southeast Europe and the Near East. They already have plants in Poland and France and they would surely find it interesting to invest in Serbia, which has unexploited potentials, knowledge and capacities for potato production and processing. We are also interested in exchange technologies and knowledge. We earlier had an idea to produce Canadian organic cereals in Serbia. Organic food is a significant segment of Canada`s agricultural and food industry. We had meetings and talked about that with Serbian companies. Organic cereals made in Serbia could be exported to Europe and the Near East. Serbia`s free trade agreements with Russia, Belarus and Turkey should also be taken advantage of. These are huge potentials. We would like Canada to become one of Serbia`s strategic partners in the sector of agricultural and food industry. Serbia has an excellent base for the development of this sector, quality land, climate, experience and manpower. Canada also has excellent natural resources, vast areas of unpolluted land, plenty of water. It is surrounded by three oceans and has 25% of the world`s freshwater resources, cutting-edge technology, exceptionally high food safety standards, and experts willing to cooperate with the rest of the world.
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