Serbia Newsflash Week 49

Online fairs, meat export, land usage figures, international trade news, and the victorious Serbian brandy - The week in Serbian agriculture

Interested in opportunities in the Serbian agro-food sectors?
An online session will be organised during the Business Week Central and Eastern Europe on December 8, where experts will talk about their sectoral knowledge and provide country-specific perspectives.

For more information and registration click here!

Photo of glasses of rosé wine
©Karolina Grabowska
As the retail chain Lidl used up most of Serbia's duty-free EU wine import quota, authorities are now allocating quarterly import quotas for a better temporal distribution of the country's wine import from the EU.

Online Belgrade Food Show exceeded expectations

The third Belgrade Food Show, the first one in online format has exceeded the expectations. The conference covered different topics from food the industry: Food production, sales, trademarks but also the situation in the hospitality sector, Covid-19 era shifts in consumers habits in the country and in the Europe. The conference part was attended by 1.172 people which is as man as in the first two events put together. Within the B2B sessions 95 bilateral meetings were organized. In the Expo zone ninety producers from the Western Balkans presented their products. More info here.  

The oldest Agriculture exhibition in the region to be held online

This year, the Novi Sad International Agricultural Fair will be held online between December 14-18 (Accessible through this website). Over 130 local and foreign exhibitors have applied to offer their agricultural products and services. There will be discounts and sales for registered online visitors, and registration is free of charge. Exhibitors and visitors will be able to communicate by video or audio calls, by email, or by chat. In addition, business visitors will be able to arrange real-time meetings with any of the exhibitors (scheduled beforehand). The National Cattle Exhibit will feature 150 heads of bovine animals, horses, sheep, and pigs presented by over 30 Serbian farmers. The same number of companies and individual producers will present their products and services. The congress segment (including conferences and expert panels) will also be held online on the platform. The “Orange stand” will gather dozen Dutch companies. See more in our Week 46 newsflash over here.

Export of young cattle instead of baby beef

Since the beginning of 2020, Serbia exported approximately 3.5 thousand metric tons of baby beef to Turkey. The export to the EU market amounts to a hundred tons, even though the export quota according to the Stabilization and Association Agreement Serbia has with the EU, is seven thousand. The market for baby beef in Italy and Greece has decreased and Serbian meat is not competitive enough regarding price. At the moment, the surplus of young cattle at the Serbian market is between 3 and 4 thousand tons. The state interfered on several occasions with subsidies for storing cattle due to Covid -19 pandemic (See our previous news here and here). Some cattle breeders made use of the state support but all of them are waiting for the trade agreements for the export of cattle to become operational. In 2020, Serbia exported 30% more live animals than in the previous year, approximately 10 thousand heads.

Renting arable land is expensive

In Serbia, according to the Statistical Office, the average rental value of arable land is € 190 per hectare. Renting land in the country is the most expensive in Vojvodina, in the region wedged between the Rivers Danube and Sava. In Stara Pazova, the rent per hectare has reached € 507 at the auction, said Branko Lakić, Head of the Agricultural Land Board. Mr. Lakić added that there has always been a great deal of interest in renting public land in the area, but demand has increased even more since the pandemic outbreak began. In general, it is most expensive to rent the land in districts that have relatively little but well-fertilized land. Chernozem-type arable lands in Vojvodina are known to be among the best arable soils in the world. This explains why one hectare of arable land can be rented on the border of Temerin following Stara Pazova for EUR 490, in Apatin for EUR 421 and in Pančevo for EUR 329. The use of public land is the cheapest in Eastern Serbia, where there is a demand primarily for renting meadows and pastures. However, the fields high with clay are difficult to cultivate. More details about the soil quality can be found in our article here.

Corn plants with ears of corn on the cob.
©Franz W.
Land rent prices in Vojvodina, Serbia's autonomous northern province, are skyrocketing - Which is not surprising since the region is rich in Chernozem-type soil, one of the best arable soil types in the world.

Import of wine from the EU to Serbia

According to the Stabilization and Association Agreement Serbia signed with the EU, the country has a quota of 2.5 million liters of wine that can be bought duty-free. This quota was used by all market players. In June, the majority of this quota was used up by Lidl. The Government of Serbia interfered by adopting a decision defining in more detail the requirements for the distribution of quotas for the import of 2.5 million liters of wine from the EU at the preferential rate. As announced in the Official Gazette, the marketing year in which the quotas are allocated entails the period between January 1 and December 31. The distribution of the wine import quotas will be carried out using a method based on the chronological order of the filing of customs declarations, the so-called first come, first served principle, the decision says. The annual quota is distributed to equal quarterly quotas of 625 thousand liters each, and the unused quantities within a quarter are added to the allowed import quantities for the next quarter. The maximum amount that a business entity can import within each of the first three quarters is 15% of the quarterly quota, that is, 93.75 thousandlitres. If a business entity does not import 15% of the allowed quota in the past period, the missing amount is added to the allowed quota for the next quarter.

Serbian brandy among the ten best brandies worldwide

The Concours Mondial de Bruxelles,  “Spirits Selection” is the international event rewarding spirits from across the globe. For the 21st time in the row, whiskies, cognacs, brandies, rums, vodkas, gins, piscos, grappas, baijius and tequilas, amongst other spirits, were assessed and classified by a panel of internationally renowned experts. This year the Spirit Selection took place in Brussels. Among 1.400 spirits competing for a medal, the Serbian brandy Nirvana Zaric made it to the top ten selected brandies. Here is the whole list.

Hungarian aid in Western Balkan nature protection

The Debrecen-based company BioAgua Pro Kft., together with the Hungarian Natural History Museum, launches a new nature protection capacity building project in five countries of the Western Balkans: Albania, North Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia. The team will use public databases maintained by the museum, as well as data gathered by the Natura 2000 network to enhance the countries’ nature protection systems. The goal of the project is to aid the countries in completing their respective nature protection legal harmonization processes as a part of their EU accession progression.

The project will involve the construction of national biodiversity databases, the assignment of protected areas, and the creation of monitoring protocols. The Hungarian partners hope that through the project they will be able to build local contact networks in order to aid Hungarian companies enter the regional markets.

The team of the Hungarian Natural History Museum has considerable expertise in the research of the natural environment of the Western Balkans. In the past decades, the museum sent more than 150 expeditions to the region and their researchers discovered more than 250 new species in the Western Balkans.