The bad weather has so far destroyed 30% of raspberries, and purchasers are already offering a price of RSD 250 per kg (€2.10), while last year, the price ranged between RSD 65 and RSD 170, the President of the Association of Raspberry Growers of Serbia stated.
He recalled that last summer cold storage owners offered low prices claiming they would not be able to resell the raspberries, but according to export documentation from the customs, they sold them at €2.43 - 2.70 per kg, which is nearly 100% more than the purchasing price. Over the past month and a half, frequent storms involving hail, wind, and heavy rainfall have prevented the growers from nourishing and protecting that fruit orchards.
Seasonal workers needed
The raspberry harvest season will start in seven days, but the number of workers is half of the number needed. Berry pickers are needed throughout central Serbia, especially in western Serbia where the majority of raspberry orchards are located. Food and accommodation will be provided and a salary of approximately €25/day.
Regardless better conditions and prices offered this year, numbers of available seasonal workers are low. The biggest problem of orchard owners is to find professional pickers. A lot of seasonal workers that used to be hired in Serbia left for Western European countries where daily fees and conditions are more favorable. Starting from mid-June, picking season will start in Macva, a region that starts first with raspberry field works. In three weeks’ time Western Serbia will enter full picking season.
Source: Agroberichten Buitenland.