Serbia Newsflash Week 21

Rescheduled international fairs, free mentoring program and berry-powered heating - The last week in Serbian agriculture

A farmer carefully handles strawberries with gloved hands.
©Mila Mirkovic
Strawberry and blackberry farming will now contribute to renewable energy: About 30% of the material at the Arilje biomass heat plant will come from berry production waste

The new date for the International Agriculture Fair in Novi Sad: Week 39

This week was supposed to be the week of the Novi Sad International Fair. Gathered at the Orange Pavilion, Dutch agro businesses would have jointly presented the best the Netherlands has to offer to the market of Serbia and Western Balkan countries.

The organizers communicated to the public the new possible dates of the agriculture exhibition given that all conditions are met. We should mark week 39 in our agendas (September 19th to September 25th). It is to be expected that the national exhibitions will not be as big as planned for the May event and that some of the earlier confirmed exhibitors will not be present in the fall. Additional information about the exhibition can be found here.

Agricultural sector was the least jeopardized during pandemic

Monday, May 18th, the Fair of Novi Sad organized the online conference “Agriculture after Pandemic”. Prominent participants such as the Minister of Agriculture of Serbia, the Provincial Secretary for Agriculture, the Ambassador of the Check Republic in Serbia as the representative of the partner country, representatives of producers groups (agriculture mechanization) and the officials of the Fair took part at the conference. Its webpage can be found here (Serbian language).

The Serbian Minister of Agriculture stated at the conference that during the coronavirus pandemic, the agricultural sector was the one least jeopardized. He added that during the crisis, demand for Serbian agricultural and food products in foreign markets had increased. “The export of wheat and flour in April and May rose by 50% y-o-y. For the first time, Serbia exported lamb and beef to the UAE, and also got permission to export apples to India during the pandemic,” said Minister Nedimovic. According to him, Serbia had to ban maize exports exceeding a certain quota to avoid a shortage of maize necessary for domestic livestock. He also noted that the crisis affected early vegetable farmers the most, as well as small dairies and beekeepers over the age of 70 whose movement was restricted. However, they have received state aid. Minister informed the public that a call was launched for the procurement of equipment for plant production, while the call for the purchase of tractors produced in Serbia has been extended until June 13.

Biggest Balkans Wine Competition to be Held in July in Belgrade

The ninth edition of the largest wine event in the Balkans, the Balkans International Wine Competition (BIWC), will be held in Belgrade from July 15th to July 17th. The decision was announced by the organizers of the contest, and it will take place just outside of Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria for the first time this year. In the past eight years, the competition has acquired the reputation of the most important wine grading event in the Balkans.

After the wines are rated, a tasting session will be organized for importers and distributors from Serbia, the Balkans and the whole world. This event is scheduled for July 17th at the Falkensteiner Hotel in Belgrade. Applications can still be sent via the website of the event.

Evening panorama of the Novi Sad city center, as seen from the Petrovaradin fortress across the River Danube.
©Ivan Aleksic
Novi Sad is the host city of the prestigious annual International Agriculture Fair, where Dutch businesses participate and contribute at the Orange Pavilion. Due to the global ciris, this year's event was moved to September.

HoReCa sector seriously impacted by pandemic

The service industry has been deeply impacted, but it is slowly getting back on its feet. This is the conclusion of a panel discussion by Coca-Cola HBC Serbia. The panel was organized as the start of the dialogue about the HoReCa sector, which employs more than 65,000 people in Serbia and is one of the areas that have been mostly affected by the consequences of the coronavirus epidemic. Four thematic discussions that were organized gathered over 150 businesspeople from the biggest clubs, bars, restaurants and café chains, representatives of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce and the HORES association. Panels led to a string of conclusions about the new, altered reality, after the state of emergency was cancelled.

Biomass Heating Plant will be using waste from berry production

Construction of a biomass-powered heating plant, located in Western Serbia in Arilje, is going to start in June. Around 30% of the waste will come from strawberry and blackberry production, and the rest will come from forest materials from state-owned forest company “Srbijasume”. The savings will be substantial, as at the moment the municipality uses mazut, coal and fuel oil. Of all the renewable sources of energy in Serbia, biomass has the greatest potential to increase the share of energy from renewable sources. The project of the replacement of furnaces and the construction of small biomass heating plants, which are meant for the heating of public facilities, was carried out by the Office for Management of Public Investments in towns and municipalities throughout Serbia. The public procurement is worth €1.5 million, and the contract was signed in April. Local Health Center Uzice-Arilje, should be supplied with the clean heat from the complex of a new berry-woodchip-powered furnace.

Application for free mentoring in processing industry

The Development Agency of Serbia (RAS) extended the deadline for applying for the Program for Providing Standardized Mentoring Services to Processing Industry Sectors. This program is part of a broader program called “The Establishment and Promotion of Mentoring Services for SMEs in the Western Balkans” – Stage 2. It is implemented by the Japan International Cooperation Agency and RAS. The aim is to improve the business environment and contribute to the smooth development of SMEs and entrepreneurs in fields such as: machinery and equipment, the food industry, the wood and furniture industry, and the rubber and plastic industry. Mentoring is a free service. The users will receive comprehensive support totaling 25-50 hours from 70 certified mentors from 17 accredited regional development agencies.

Photo credit: Panorama of Novi Sad by Ivan Aleksic, via Wikimedia.