Agriculture and food safety is a very important policy area, both for the European Union (EU) and Serbia respectively. Since the outset of the EU, formerly the European Community, the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) has been one of the main policy areas, utilising a large proportion of the budget, currently representing about 40% EU expenditure. The objectives of the CAP have evolved. Today, whilst it continues to support the rural economy and ensure sustainable agricultural production, it also strives to ensure high standards of food safety for consumers and the protection of the environment and accountability demanded by taxpayers. The CAP involves a comprehensive set of instruments and food safety standards, which Serbia needs to establish in readiness for accession to the EU.
Around €100 million of EU assistance have been delivered to the sector in Serbia since 2000, covering agriculture, rural development, food safety, and animal and plant health issues.
The priorities have related to land identification and administrative controls for support payments, information systems, eradication of animal diseases, traceability of animal products, veterinary and plant health controls and management of animal waste. Support will continue in these areas but with an increasing emphasis on helping producers understand the requirements of EU standards, whilst offering them financial assistance to adapt and improve competitiveness.
“A significant increase in support directly provided to rural recipients is planned for the years to come before EU accession, through what is known as the IPARD Programme (Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance in Rural Development). A sum of €175 million from the EU budget will be offered in the form of grants to Serbian rural stakeholders to co-finance appropriate investments up to a maximum public contribution of 70% of eligible expenditure. With a national contribution and the obligatory private co-financing this may lead to a total investment in agriculture of approximately EUR 400 million.”
Support will be offered for:
- Investments in agricultural holdings – grants will be provided for farmers producing milk, meat, fruit and vegetables and other crops;
- Investments relating to the processing and marketing of agricultural products – targeted towards micro, small and medium-sized enterprises processing milk, meat, fruit and vegetables;
- Organic farming – support will be provided to farmers that introduce organic production methods;
- Implementation of Local Development Strategies – under the so-called “Leader” approach, support will be provided for the implementation of local rural strategies by Local Action Groups (specially established public-private partnerships);
- Farm diversification and business development – the measure will facilitate the development of private rural tourism facilities.
For more information:
Delegation of the EU to the Republic of Serbia
Tel: +381 (0)11 30 83 200