More than 18.4 billion dinars has been invested in the development of Vojvodina’s agriculture
Intensive branches of agricultural production, small and medium-sized farmsteads and young farmers are in the focus of the agrarian policy of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina, and at the Provincial Secretariat for Agriculture, they note that funds have also been retained for the construction of an automatic hail protection system and activities on IPA projects. The digitalisation of agriculture and the construction of irrigation systems are also continuing.
What measures can farmers from the territory of Vojvodina rely on? Which areas of agricultural production are in focus this year?
– The focus of the agrarian policy of the Provincial Secretariat for Agriculture is on intensive branches of agricultural production, with an emphasis on supporting small and medium-sized farmsteads and young farmers. Due to the Covid-19 epidemic, a rebalance of the provincial budget was conducted, with which the funds of the relevant Secretariat were reduced by about 10 per cent. This did not impact significantly on investments in Vojvodina’s agriculture, because we announced our competition lines at the beginning of the year, which provided space for us to process applications and approve funds to applicants even under the conditions of the state of emergency. We have concluded 1,145 contracts with registered farmsteads, with a total value of investments exceeding 1.57 billion dinars, which is more funds than the previous Provincial Government had foreseen in 2016.
Viewed according to measures, the total value of investments in the procurement of equipment and irrigation systems is over 743 million dinars, with over 126 million dinars, for polytunnels/greenhouses, 162 million dinars for equipping livestock farms, 121 million for the procurement of equipment and elements for protection against natural disasters and raising fruit orchards, grapevines and hops, over 21 million for the construction of new fishponds and the reconstruction of existing ones, 211 million for improving the physical property of farmsteads, about 50 million for bee-keeping, in excess of 14 million for organic production, and about 93 million for equipping wineries and distilleries.
Summarising the results of what was done in the previous period, the Provincial Government – via the relevant Secretariat – invested funds amounting to more than 18.4 billion dinars in the development of agriculture in AP Vojvodina, while we also signed 9,887 contracts
The total value of investments in the registered farmsteads and local self-government units in Vojvodina with which we implement project activities total around 3.2 billion dinars. I would like to stress that we’re also retained funds for the implementation of important projects, such as the construction of an automatic anti-hail system, the Fruška Gora radar centre worth 600 million dinars and activities on IPA projects. Summarising the results of what was done in – via the relevant Secretariat – invested funds amounting to more than 18.4 billion dinars in the development of agriculture in AP Vojvodina, while we also signed 9,887 contracts.
The previous two months, which have been marked by the struggle against the Coronavirus and limited movements due to the state of emergency, showed some weaknesses, but also some potential, such as in online trade and product placements via social networks. Is this the future of our agriculture?
– Digitalisation is the future of agriculture. The Provincial Secretariat for Agriculture has recognised the importance of digitalisation in agriculture and cooperates with the Biosens Institute on the project “Monitoring the use of remote detection in agriculture, water management and forestry”.
The result of this cooperation is the development of the Agrosens digital platform, which enables the monitoring and verification of competition lines, the condition of the soil, analysis of sowing structures, planning of land sampling and the development of a system for reporting on soil fertility. Contracts with the Biosens Institute have been concluded at an annual level in the amount of up to 10 million dinars. The Agrosens Platform of the Biosens Institute is today used by over 13,000 farmers.
How can young people be encouraged to stay in rural areas or, better yet, return to them? Do you have special programmes for those wanting to start working in farming?
– Just 3.1% of farmsteads in Serbia are led by young people aged under 35. We are convinced that young farmers should be leaders in the development of domestic agriculture. Young farmers have been supported by the Start-up programme since 2017. Thanks to this agrarian measure, over 675 million dinars have been used to support the opening of 455 new farmsteads led by young farmers aged from 18 to 40. The generational renewal of farms and encouraging of agribusiness among young farmers will continue to be among our priorities.
Climate change and periods of drought are again being discussed this year, which raise the question of irrigation. How much money has been invested to this end and which areas are in question?
– The entire society must be engaged in easing the impact of climate change. We see how the EU approaches solving this problem, with the Proposal of the first Law on Climate adopted this year. The goal is for the EU to be a climate-neutral region by 2050. A proposed Law on Climate Change has been drafted in Serbia and a strategic approach is being taken in the fight against extremes.
Young farmers have been supported by the Start-up programme since 2017. Thanks to this agrarian measure, over 675 million dinars has been used to support the opening of 455 new farmsteads led by young farmers aged from 18 to 40
In this mandate, with the help of subsidies, over 3.6 billion dinars has been invested in irrigation systems in Vojvodina and new areas of approximately 21,000 hectares have been covered by irrigation systems. The construction of regional irrigation systems and subsystems, financed through the Abu Dhabi Fund, began three years ago. This relates to 30 projects which, when implemented, will enable irrigation on an area of over 105,000 hectares.
There has been a lot of talk about investing in the plan to develop organic agriculture in Vojvodina for the period from 2020 to 2025. What kind of investments does this relate to?
– The Provincial Secretariat for Agriculture uses an incentive policy to support organic producers in the area of the certification of production and the procurement of specialised mechanisation. The value of investments in the development of organic production in Vojvodina during the term of the current Provincial Government totals approximately 40 million dinars.
In addition to this, we supported the drafting of the Action Plan for the Development of Organic Agriculture in Vojvodina for the period until 2025, with which the further development directions of this branch of agriculture are defined, and relevant institutions are working on that, including the Faculty of Agriculture in Novi Sad, the ‘Teras’ Association in Subotica, the Open University and NALED.
Work is underway on the development of the strategy for winemaking in Serbia. How much potential does viticulture have in Vojvodina and are possible investments in wine tourism being considered, given a large number of wineries on this territory?
– Vojvodina has over 5,000 hectares of vineyards, with 158 wine producers registered and 190 wines protected with indicators of geographical origin. The agrarian policy first recognised the wine sector and the importance of winemaking in 2017. Over 300 million dinars have been invested in wineries.
The provincial government donated a wine analyser worth 17 million dinars to the Novi Sad Faculty of Agriculture’s Department of Fruit Growing and Viticulture in Sremski Karlovci, in order for domestic winemakers to be able to quickly and efficiently obtain results of wine production analysis, with the aim of improving quality.
The development strategy of the wine sector also include plans for the development of wine tourism and investments in the field of tourism, while winemakers can utilise National Support Measures, as well as funds available to them from the IPARD programme MERA-7.