Tuesday, 27 February 2018
28th Sitting of the Subcommittee for Monitoring the Agricultural Situation in the Marginal - Most Undeveloped Areas in the Republic of Serbia
At the sitting held on 27 February, the members of the Subcommittee for Monitoring the Agricultural Situation in the Marginal - Most Undeveloped Areas in the Republic of Serbia discussed mini cheese-making factories as sources of additional income for small agricultural producers in marginal areas.
Senad Mahmutovic, State Secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management, said that the Ministry stands ready to work with the Subcommittee to help the development of agriculture in marginal areas. He reminded that though these areas have developed livestock farming, their processing, especially of milk and meat, is lacking. Mahmutovic also said that there have been very few requests for subsidies from these areas. He opined that this could also be a problem when it comes to drawing IPARD funds.
Ljiljana Ivanjac of the Veterinary Directorate briefed the Subcommittee members on the provisions of the Rulebook differentiating between a producer and a small subject. Producers are small households producing small amounts of milk (200 litres a week) which cannot for safety reasons and because of transport produce for a larger market, but only for their own needs, while a small subject is a dairy farm producing 5,000 litres of milk a week and meeting the requirements for production, processing and product placement within safety limits.
The ensuing debate between the Subcommittee members, Ministry representatives and Bratislav Pesic, Professor at the College of Agriculture and Food Technology in Prokuplje, focused on cooperating with the local self-governments to secure the infrastructure needed for potential investments and working with small producers in the field to enable them to compete for incentive packages. The officials also spoke about compiling a map of small producers on the territory of Serbia, the need to brief the Subcommittee on the incentive measures implemented and their effects, about working with the farmers to encourage them to apply for incentives and motivating young people to stay in rural areas and take up agriculture. They also spoke about developing a network of small producers, milk quality and opening a national lab in light of the country’s preparations for EU accession. Branislav Raketic of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management’ Agrarian Policy Sector spoke to the Subcommittee members about protected geographical indication in more detail.
Following the debate the Subcommittee members concluded that it would be good if the Veterinary Directorate found ways to encourage small producers to join into cooperatives and set up mini cheese-making factories or dairies so that those who produce small quantities could still place their products outside of their own household.
The sitting was chaired by Subcommittee Chairman Milija Miletic, and attended by Subcommittee members Nada Lazic, Mladen Lukic and Zarko Bogatinovic.
13.00 - press conference of MPs Sasa Radulovic, Branka Stamenkovic and Vojin Biljic (National Assembly House, 13 Nikola Pasic Square, Central Hall)