Serbian roses on the rise in the EU market

New competitive call announced for Serbian farmers; macro figures on Serbia's trade with the EU; new advisory board to be established for processing industry; import tax on re-export of dairy - Our weekly briefing on agriculture, food and nature news in Serbia

Roses in a greenhouse.
Beeld: ©Zoltán Szászi
Rose farm at the company Pheno Geno Roses in Serbia

Rose export reached €3 million last year

The foreign trade exchange of Serbia in the sector of flowers and ornamental plants amounted €31.3 million in 2022, the Chamber of Commerce of Serbia (PKS) announced on March 8, the International Women's Day. Imports amounted to €24.7 million and exports to €6.61 million. In total, around 10 tons of flowers and ornamental plants were traded, of which seven tons were imported and three were exported.

Flowers and planting materials were mostly exported to the EU common market, which accounts for 43% of Serbia’s exports, followed by fresh flowers, especially roses, to the countries of the Eurasian Customs Union (Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan), which account for 34% of Serbia's total exports and lastly, to the countries of the CEFTA region.

Last year, compared to 2021, the value of imports increased by 13%. The average import price of flowers was €3.27 per kilogram, while in 2021, it was €3.05/kg. Compared to 2021, the value of exports increased by 23%. In export, the average price of €2.46/kg was achieved, while in presale it was 1.85 EUR. The export of roses from Serbia last year amounted to €3 million, the same as in 2021. The value of imports increased to €3.79 million EUR due to the rise in prices on the global market. Most fresh roses for bouquets were imported from the Netherlands, Kenya and Ethiopia. The most important regions for the production and cultivation of flowers in Serbia are in Vojvodina, northern part of the country and in area around city of Sabac and Sremcica. Surroundings of cities of Ljig, Trstenik, Krusevac and Velika Drenova, are the most important in the production of grafted roses and roses with roots for planting.

Re-export of milk from CEFTA countries possible due to import tax

President of the parliamentary Committee for Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management, Marijan Risticevic, pointed out to the Serbian government the possibility of re-exporting milk and dairy products from the countries covered by the CEFTA free trade agreement in the Balkans, due to the new import tax on milk and dairy products. “As the Chairman of the Committee for Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management, respecting the conclusions of the Committee, I recommend the Serbian government and the Ministry of Agriculture to pay more attention to the possibility of re-exporting milk and dairy products from the countries Serbia has FTAs with and which are not subject to lately introduces levies, especially from the Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA)  market,” said Risticevic. He called on the Serbian government and the Ministry of Agriculture to invite cheese producers and representatives of several associations of milk producers to the meeting scheduled with milk purchasers and processors in order to hear different proposals. Last week, the Serbian government adopted a decision to impose an import tax on dairy products  in order to stop decrease of purchasing milk price and protect Serbian producers.

New public call within the competitive agriculture project

Jelena Tanaskovic, Minister of Agriculture, announced that a new public call will be published in March within the competitive agriculture project of Serbia. The project is being implemented by the line ministry in cooperation with the World Bank. The Minister pointed out that €12 million will be provided for the upcoming call.

Available funds can be awarded to legal entities, entrepreneurs and cooperatives dealing with the purchase, processing, storage and marketing of agricultural products. At the same time, the minister stated that up to 187 thousand farmers have registered and received an E-ID number for the new E-Agrar platform. Minister Tanaskovic explained that all the registers/data bases will be within E-Agrar, thus the state will be able to cross-reference all data and obtain relevant and reliable  statistics reports portal Tanjug.

New advisory service for food, wood and metal processing industry

Serbian Chamber of Commerce (PKS) presented advisory services aimed at the internationalization of operations of companies from Serbia and Bosnia & Herzegovina from the food, wood & metal processing industry, within the  cross-border ENHANCE support project for improving competitiveness and employment.

The project is implemented within the framework of the EU assistance IPA program of  cross-border cooperation Serbia-Bosnia & Herzegovina 2014-2020, and it is implemented by the Chamber of Commerce of the Federation of Bosnia & Herzegovina in cooperation with the Regional Chamber of Commerce of the Zlatibor Administrative District and the Center for Education and Raising Awareness of the Need to Increase Energy Efficiency Energies from Sarajevo.

No alternative to EU market for Serbian economy

Serbia is geographically and industrially linked to the European Union. Any disruption of trade with the EU would be disastrous for the domestic economy, stated Marko Cadez, the President of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce (PKS).

Mr. Cadez also said that there is no alternative to the process of European integration, because the entire region is and will be part of the common European market. Mr. Cadez pointed out that, based on the survey conducted by the PKS among entrepreneurs, 77% of them believe that the introduction of any sanctions would affect the liquidity of businesses, 66% of entrepreneurs estimate that it would affect employment. As he stated, as many as 80% of respondents warn that any worsening of relations with the EU would lead to an increase in interest rates and endanger businesses.

Mr. Cadez reiterated that there are 10 thousand companies operating in Serbia whose majority capital comes from the EU, and on the top of that there are 80% of companies that export and do business with the EU market. He said that 370 thousand jobs were created by European companies, mainly in the processing and food industry and IT sector. "Even Chinese and Turkish investors in Serbia export more than half, some even up to 84%, of their products to the EU, and they are primarily interested in that market," said Mr. Cadez.