Serbia Newsflash, Week 12, 2022

The revoking of the ban on export to North Macedonia, int'l investments and national grants yield results, successes in waste management, cloud-based e-administration for enterprises to be introduced, and a World Bank rural development loan to be rolled out - The week in Serbian agriculture

A green forest and a fenced off orchard next to a packed earth road in the Serbian countryside.
Beeld: ©Valentin Salja
The rural Serbian countryside will receive $100 million for infrastructure management in the form of a World Bank loan to local governments in Serbia. The loan is part of a $300 million financial support package.

Ban on the export of food stuffs to North Macedonia to be revoked soon

At their meeting held this week in Belgrade, the Ministers of Agriculture of Serbia and North Macedonia agreed that the export of wheat, corn, flour, and edible oil to North Macedonia would continue in the coming period, according to previously agreed quantities, Tanjug news agency has learned from the Ministry of Agriculture.

Ministers Branislav Nedimovic and Ljupco Nikolovski discussed the Open Balkans initiative, the importance of which is especially emphasized in the current situation when many markets in the world are closing, specified the Ministry of Agriculture.

After the meeting, Macedonian Minister Nikolovski stated for the Macedonian national broadcaster that he had agreed with Nedimovic that the ban on the export of cereals, flour, and edible oil from Serbia to Macedonia would be revoked in the next seven to ten days. “That means that all agreements will be realized. The ban will be revoked, and the Macedonian PM will send a letter to the PM of Serbia about the agreed quantities, with the goal of revoking the ban that has been in force for the last seven days. This means that Macedonia will have sufficient quantities of these strategic goods until the next harvest and that the citizens should remain calm,” Nikolovski said.

Plant based meal solutions by Nestlé Adriatic S

The company Nestlé Adriatic S marked the completion of the first phase of the construction of a new plant-based food factory in Surcinm in the outskirts of Belgrade.

The new plant of Nestlé PBMS (Plant-Based Meal Solutions),  will produce four types of products - steaks, medallions, breasts, and filets, from soy, gluten, canola oil, yeast extract, flour, vinegar, and water, with added aromas.

Nestlé will invest €65.7 million in the factory, which will be located in the existing distribution center. It will produce 12 thousand tons of food per year. The starting of production is planned for the end of this year. The products from the new plant will be placed on the markets of France, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain and the UK.

Nestlé points out that it will expand the network of local suppliers, with the intention of continuing to support the local economy. In 2012, Nestlé took over the Centroproizvod factory in Surcin and continued the production of the local Serbian brand C and started production from the range of world-famous brands Thomy, Maggi, and Nestlé Professional. The company exports products from Surcin to more than 40 countries around the world.

Grants for house and wine cellar reconstruction in Eastern Serbia

The contest for the awarding of grants for the reconstruction of houses and wine cellars in the villages of Rajac, Rogljevo and Smedovac, which are located in the Municipality of Negotin, Eastern Serbia, opened on March 21.

Priority will be given to facilities built before 1945, to preserve traditional architecture as much as possible, and a total amount of €500 thousand will be distributed to private owners through the “EU for Cultural Heritage and Tourism” project.

The project should considerably contribute to the preservation of the authentic look of these villages. The wine cellars of Rajac, Rogljevo and Smedovac are monumental complexes of remarkable importance, and they are also on the UNESCO World Heritage tentative list.

The main goal of this invitation is to have the houses built before World War II, when the rural architecture was at its peak in these areas, conserved, restored and kept from dilapidation.

The EU support will also contribute to the preservation of the wine cellars. These “stone villages” were built in the 18th and 19th centuries. Many residents continued the family tradition of producing wine, the tasting of which, in the unique environment of stone wine cellars, is a special tourist attraction.

Commercial facilities throw out more than 40 thousand tons of food annually

The commercial sector in Belgrade creates more than 40 thousand tons of edible and inedible food waste a year, according to an analysis on the direct measurement and morphological composition of food waste from commercial facilities, published by the Environment Improvement Center.

If the amount of food waste from the commercial sector is shown in relation to the total population of Belgrade, it can be seen that 26.5 kilograms of edible and inedible food waste per capita is generated per year.

Most of the waste is generated at restaurants and fast-food facilities, which generate more than 21 thousand tons of food waste per year alone. In the composition of that waste, on average, the most dominant category is vegetables, with a share of more than 45%. It is followed by fruit with 19%, and then meat, fish, and eggs with a share of about 14%.

Empty reusable plastic cups laid out in a pile
Beeld: ©EKM-Mittelsachsen
Based on the results of the 26 recyclomat machines placed in Belgrade, citizens would gather more packaging waste if a deposit system was introduced, reports the company operating the recyclomat initiative in the capitol.

Deposit system would increase gathering packaging waste

The citizens of Serbia would collect more packaging waste if a deposit system were to be introduced – This was stated at the presentation of the work results of the first 25 recyclomats in Belgrade.

As it was stated, these recyclomats collected over 2.5 million packaging units in eight months of work, i. e. 105 tons of tetra packs, glass, PET, and aluminum packaging.

Citizens earned a total of more than €109 thousand for the collected waste, which was deposited as credits on public transportation passes (“BusPlus” cards), Globaltel mobile telephony services etc. Violeta Belanovic Kokir, General Manager of Sekopak, the company that organized the recyclomats, pointed out that in the case of introducing a deposit system, there would be more collected packaging waste and that it depends on all participants in the chain.

When the system will be introduced depends first and foremost on the government. Ms. Kokir estimated that the deposit system would definitely motivate the citizens in a certain way to regain the money they gave when buying the product as a deposit - by returning the packaging.

Business Registers Agency to enable use of cloud-based electronic signatures as of March 23

As of March 23, 2022, the Serbian Business Registers Agency will enable the use of cloud-based electronic signatures in its Special Information System for Compiling and Submitting Financial Statements, which are issued by the Office for IT and eGovernment.

This means that in the future, official documents would no longer have to be signed physically. As the agency announced, additionally, in the upcoming period, they will enable the use of cloud-based qualified electronic signature certificates in other applications available on the agency's website.

It will also enable the use of cloud-based qualified electronic signature certificates that are issued by other certification authorities registered in the Register of Qualified Trust Service Providers.

World Bank approved $100 million in loans to Serbia’s local governments

The World Bank (WB) Board of Executive Directors has approved a loan of $100 million for local governments in Serbia to support sustainable infrastructure management, encourage equal growth and enable green transition, the Bank has said on Thursday.

The loan is part of a $300 million financial support for the local Infrastructure and Institutional Development (LIID) project, prepared in cooperation with the French Development Agency (AFD). “This is the first World Bank’s loan directly focusing on local governments in Serbia, for improving the quality of life of citizens,” stated the director of the World Bank office in Serbia, Nikola Pontara.

According to Mr. Pontara, improving and greening outdated local infrastructure can boost economic growth, offering citizens better access to public services, markets and jobs, especially to the most vulnerable, and increasing the attractiveness of cities, smaller towns and underdeveloped rural regions. The LIID project will initially focus on the transport sector, but also will try to improve the greening component of local municipalities.

EBRD looking for a consultant for Green investments in Serbia

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has published the tender to support the digitalization of administrative procedures to accelerate green investments in Serbia. The public invitation pertains to the procurement of consulting services. The EBRD intends to select and contract a consultant for the realization of a two-year project entailing the digitalization of all administrative procedures of importance for improving the business environment for investments in renewable energy sources. The beneficiary of this EBRD project is the Secretariat for Public Policies of the Republic of Serbia, and the total budget of this procurement is €250..