Conference “Agriculture first” was organized by Agropress at the International Agricultural Fair and has justified not only the expectations of its participants but also the spectators who could watch the announcement of ministers and other speakers live on the YouTube platform, but also to pose questions.
In his address to the participants the minister Branislav Nedimović said that, although this year was extremely dry, agriculture will not going to be “in the red”, i.e. the yield will reach the level from the past several years. In his words, corn yields are at the level of 6 to 6.3 tons per hectare and sunflower had a good yield as well.
When it comes to the subsidies for agriculture, working capital and purchase of machinery, the minister said that last year and this one “the subsidies were generous” and that this will continue and that they have at their disposal also the open competitions by the World Bank, while regarding the funds from IPARD funds they are in “fifth gear”.
Nedimović also said that this year serious checks had been conducted on how the disbursed funds are used and in some cases it was established that half of the money is not used for the intended purpose or the data in the documents had been forged. When talking about the application of the Law on seasonal employment in agriculture, Mr. Nedimović said that in this manner 44 thousand people were employed and there was a growing a number of employees from abroad working in Serbian fields.
“Members of NLB Group Komercijalna and NLB Banka are this year the market leaders in disbursement of agricultural loans with the subsidy from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management, for the fourth consecutive year. In 2021 the bulk of these loans were granted for investments in new agricultural machinery and financing of working capital, raw materials and cattle feed”, said Dejan Janjatović, the Deputy CEO of Komercijalna banka.
He added that the traditionally good result in the disbursement of subsidized loans was the proof that the farmers have already recognized Komercijalna and NLB Banka as the safe partners on the path of development and that with the planned merger of the two most active banks in in lending to this segment they can expect only additional benefits regarding the availability of additional products and services.
Vladimir Čaprić, member of the Executive Board of NLB Bank said that the professionalism and knowledge of all the specific characteristics of agricultural production were the key advantages of NLB Bank and Komercijalna banka in creating the best solutions for each individual farm.
“This year we have together initiated the tenth Organic competition because we wanted to once again stimulate and reward those farmers who have chosen the more difficult, but sustainable path – organic production. We are particularly glad that in this year of jubilee we have received a record number of almost 80 applications and, because of the great interest, we have decided to extend the deadline for sending the projects until the end of September”, he said.
“There are many challenges for the development of agriculture in Serbia, but it is up to us to turn those challenges into opportunities with the assistance of digital technologies and recognizing and activating the potential synergies. It is necessary to continue with strong government incentives to the economy and agriculture and intensify investments into infrastructure. The economy should create winning strategies and concepts that will boost our regional competitiveness, with the readiness of the banking sector to support growth through new credit lines, but we must all together create and actively promote the awareness of sustainability and decrease in emission of pollutants. Unless we all together promote the importance of the sustainability agenda, unfortunately we will not have the conditions for long-term development of our agriculture as good quality soil will be endangered”, said Nenad Miščević, the General Manager of Nectar group, who thanked Komercijalna banka for “using its significant regional position to impose the topics of common interest and openly discuss about them with all the market players”.
President of the Association of Serbian Sheep Breeders Marko Janković announced a significant undertaking with the aim of building the first slaughter house for lambs. The Minister of Agriculture Branislav Nedimović has promised him that they will have support for this undertaking, but added that they, as the owners of the investment, will behave as good stewards and that all members of the Association will also have to make their own contribution.
President of the association Agropress Goran Đaković invited the colleagues journalists to report on the agricultural policy measures responsibly and in a timely manner and not to defend private interests and to always bear in mind that the most important thing is that the farmers, as the end users, are informed in a clear and precise manner, particularly when it comes to the situation in the market and yield estimates. That is the only manner in which it is possible to establish trust.