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Agribusiness as an engine of regional development, and opportunities for Serbia to become a hub

Via Education and Efficiency to Greater Profit Margins

Agriculture and the food industry are among the key sectors for the development of the economies of Serbia and the region, as well as being sectors that can make us competitive on the global market. Serbia truly has sufficient abilities to become a regional leader, considering its huge agricultural potential

With an appropriate agricultural policy and development measures, this potential could be utilised in a relatively short period of time and the country could increase both the volume and value of its production several-fold. Last year’s total value of exports of agricultural products amounted to approximately $2.85 billion, though this figure could be three to four times higher if we used all of the available resources optimally.

In order to increase the value of export, it is crucial to work on improving the structure of export or, in other words, to have more final products to export. If domestic raw materials were processed to a higher level and we managed to export more finished and semi-finished products, this would boost our foreign trade balance and reduce unemployment, considering that the processing industry usually employs domestic labour.

If domestic raw materials were processed to a higher level and we managed to export more finished and semifinished products, this would boost our foreign trade balance and reduce unemployment

The experience of Victoria Group – where final products account for 80 per cent of our overall production and where we export 50 per cent of our products – merely validate the fact that we are considered competitive on the European market in the segment of soy and sunflower processing. If other agricultural crops and segments also had such a high share of final products, this would provide a huge contribution to the overall development of the economy.

On the other hand, the lack of adequate incentives – like those made available to agricultural producers in neighbouring countries – has a negative impact on the competitiveness of Serbian agribusiness in the region. This further complicates the situation, since our agricultural producers have to make their production even more productive and profitable because they represent the first link in the supply chain. Hence, it is very important to implement educational programmes for farmers that relate to the financial aspects of agricultural production and adequate implementation of agri-technical measures, with the aim of increasing yields and protecting against the negative impact of unfavourable weather conditions on crops.

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