Serbian agriculture in need of aid

| Foreign Markets |

Serbia has been seeking the inclusion to the European Union since 2009. However, if the government in Belgrade is to undergo the accession procedure, a series of changes in the national legislation need to be introduced. Those include laws concerning agriculture.

The importance of Serbian agriculture

At present, Serbian agriculture has a 10% share in the national GDP, and employs about 21% of the workforce in the country. Farmland takes up 57% of the country’s area. More importantly, the sale of agricultural products constitutes 20% of the total value of Serbian exports and yields a profit of 1,200 million USD. This is possible also thanks to the numerous international agreements which have opened up EU markets to the Serbian goods.

Threats for agriculture

Despite good results in the international trade, local agricultural manufacturers from Serbia face a number of problems which need to be tackled before the country could (possibly) join the European Union. According to experts, such issues include the need to increase the sales of processed foodstuffs (most of which are currently imported), and the excessive share of cereals in the total volume of agricultural production (34% in Serbia, as compared to 11% in the EU).

Perspectives of growth

Long-term development programs that include a system of subsidies and grants, which are indispensable for the comprehensive modernization of Serbian farming, are still lacking. However, a meaningful step forward has already been made. The Strategy for Integrated Development of Agriculture and Rural Areas in 2014-2024 has been announced and approved as an official document. It constitutes an excellent starting point for the work on the national program of development of the agricultural sector.

Serbia is not alone in its struggle to reform the national agriculture. Economic changes enjoy the support of the World Bank and the European Union. This aid is not only provided on the institutional level, but also in the EU becoming a key trade partner for Serbia (58% of agricultural goods exported from the country are sold in EU states).