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Serbia: Saving the raspberries

The Platform for Raspberry Development in Serbia from 2022 to 2025 has been announced. Upon the invitation of raspberry producer groups, the raspberry growers from the Raška region, Kolubara district, Čačak, Ivanjica, Osečine, Arilje, Vranje, Vranjska Banja gathered in growers cooperatives and associations, met in Belgrade at the end of September in order to form a working group that would create a "Raspberry Development Platform in Serbia 2022 - 2025".

This should be done with the help of experts in the field of fruit growing, professors Dr. Zoran Keserović from the Faculty of Agriculture in Novi Sad, Milan Prostran, an agroeconomic analyst, and associate from the Ministry of Agriculture, Mrs. Vesna Radojičić. The platform will focus on professionalizing the raspberry industry in Serbia and will be in contact with the Government of Serbia.

According to the participants, the meeting was held at the right moment - at the moment when the new Government was being formed and at the moment when the export of Serbian raspberries to Germany, the biggest importer of Serbian berries, decreased drastically. 

Mr. Nikola Mihailović, President of the Cooperative Union of Serbia, and Mr. Božo Joković, Director of the Agricultural Cooperative "Agro Eko Voće," talked about how to proceed in raspberry production. Topics of berry prices, quality seedlings, new growing technologies, and how to market raspberries so that both producers and exporters are satisfied were discussed. "We had a turbulent decade behind us. The only bright spot was in 2021, when the world demand for raspberries was high, and the price was adequate. Guided by these facts, Serbian producers thought that this year would be successful as well. However,  climate conditions were not favorable this year. From cold spring to heavy showers, prices of inputs increased enormously, raspberries were not selling as in previous year due to the economic situation in the world, and farmers have never had production costs more expensive than this year", said Jonel Subić, PhD from the Institute for Agricultural Economics.

In addition to all these problems in Serbia, there is also the problem of quality preservation of plantations, which Professor Keserović talked about. "We are all aware that raspberries will play a big role in the economic development of Serbia. We must work on technologies adapted to climate change. It is not possible to continue raspberry production with no more than one percent of the plantations under anti-hail nets and three to four percent of plantations with irrigation systems. We have to change that in order to have higher yields and to stop 'looking at the sky'", said Professor Keserović.


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