Marjana Davidović, General Manager At Nestlé Adriatic Hub South (Serbia, Montenegro, North Macedonia)

Support for Regenerative Agriculture

Within the scope of the Nestlé corporation, Serbia became the first country in the region – back in 2021 – to start applying the practices of regenerative agriculture, with the aim of reducing the agriculture sector’s negative impact on the environment

Our vision is to source 20% of key raw materials from regenerative sources by 2025 and by as much as 50% by 2030” ~ they say at this famous Swiss company with a name that’s synonymous with quality.

What is regenerative agriculture and how are the benefits of sustainable agricultural practices reflected?

Trends in agriculture have for many years been oriented towards increasing yields, while there has been a lack of thought about the kind of impact it has on the soil and other natural resources.

As a result, agriculture has become a worse polluter than the energy sector, with harmful gas emissions of as much as 24%. Regenerative agriculture is oriented towards increasing the proportion of organic matter and retaining moisture in the soil, thus protecting biodiversity and preserving the environment. Key practices include cover cropping, the use of organic fertilisers, afforestation, as well as the application of precision agriculture with the use of drones – all of which has a positive impact on reducing emissions of harmful gases that contribute to climate change. The fact that the soil retains large amounts of organic matter also reduces its erosion and loss of moisture. And because it implies less fuel and fertiliser consumption, as well as the engaging of fewer people, the concept also yields positive economic effects.

How do you, as a company, contribute to the building of a sustainable food industry?

The principles of regenerative agriculture have been implemented in our country since the year before last, when the programme included the largest producers of vegetables for our product Začin C, and this year we expanded the network of suppliers to include local sunflower growers.

We provide strong support to local suppliers of raw materials that are essential to our production operations, both through financial investment and through examples of good practice

We provide strong support to local suppliers of raw materials that are essential to our production operations, both through financial investment and through examples of good practice that are applied successfully worldwide. Our vision is to transform Serbia into a hub of regenerative agriculture and to improve our country’s export potential. We are striving for 20% of key raw materials to come from regenerative sources by 2025, and as much as 50% by 2030.

Who are your partners and what are all the products you’ll make using oil from regenerative sources?

After Geneza from Kanjiža and Telek Paprika from Martonoš, which produce dried vegetables by adhering to the principles of regenerative agriculture, recently – thanks to a partnership with Victoriaoil from Šid – this programme has been expanded to also include local growers of sunflowers, which will be processed into oil at the Victoriaoil plants. In the fields of Raca d.o.o. from Kumane, Borac AD from Šurjan and Agroprodukt d.o.o. from Bumbarevo Brdo, we already have cultivated sunflowers that were planted and processed using the strip-till technique, which implies minimal tillage with the aim of preserving the health of the soil by retaining a high proportion of organic matter.

Those quantities are enough to produce around 750 tons of sunflower oil, which can be used to produce around 3.4 million units of Thomy mayonnaise and sauces. This means that, from as early as this November, we will be able to use part of the raw materials obtained according to sustainable principles to make these products, and our future plan is for the entire production of the Thomy portfolio to be based on sunflower oil from regenerative sources.

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