Deputy Ambassador of the European Union to the Republic of Serbia, Plamena Halacheva, emphasised the significance of the successful conclusion of the “GROW SEED Inc.” project as evidence of the EU’s steadfast assistance to Serbian farmers in realising their ambitions. This project represents just one of many steps toward modernising and improving agricultural holdings, simultaneously providing farmers access to the latest technologies and promoting energy efficiency on their farms.

“It is crucial to recognise that this support represents only the beginning of Serbia’s journey toward integration into the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). As farmers enjoy the benefits of these initiatives, it becomes apparent that EU accession offers a path to a stable and predictable future for Serbian agriculture,” said Deputy Ambassador Halacheva, adding that it is in the best interest of Serbian farmers to prioritise EU accession, as it promises long-term sustainability and prosperity for the agricultural sector.

The launch of the IPARD III program by the Serbian administration marks the next step in the ongoing collaboration between Serbia and the EU. With a significant allocation of 288 million euros, this program aims to support the development of agriculture in Serbia. Deputy Ambassador Plamena Halacheva called on Serbian farmers to seize the opportunity and submit applications before the deadline on May 24, in order to receive reimbursement of up to 60-75% of their investment through IPARD support.

Milutin Karas, the owner of Grow Seed company, highlighted how this program is a shining example of how domestic potential, with international support, can result in the creation of sustainable innovative solutions. “By adopting a contemporary approach without generating any waste, we are not only setting new standards in agriculture but also actively contributing to environmental preservation. On 2-3 hectares, we have no wastewater, thanks to macro and micro filters located in our smart room. We can especially emphasise the effect our greenhouse has on reducing carbon dioxide emissions,” Karas said.

With the assistance of the IPARD program, “GROW SEED Inc.” has constructed a greenhouse and purchased equipment to maintain specific microclimatic conditions. The investment value exceeds one million euros, with over half a million euros contributed by the European Union, while the national contribution amounted to 175,000.00 euros. Established in 2008 as a joint venture between the Dutch company Grow Group and the Serbian company Planten, “GROW SEED Inc.” is now a leader in producing high-quality vegetable seedlings. With the aim of doubling production and reaching a capacity of 50 million seedlings annually, the company plans to remain a frontrunner in the region in producing quality seedlings and supplying fresh salad throughout the year.

Deputy Ambassador Plamena Halacheva adds, “We all must make maximum efforts to seize these opportunities and better inform citizens, especially agricultural communities, about this extensive EU support. This includes support in the initial steps of preparing applications for funding.”

This initiative represents just a part of broader efforts towards Serbia’s integration into the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy, promising a stable and prosperous future for the Serbian agricultural sector. So far, 15 IPARD public calls have been launched, over 1400 contracts have been signed, and over 100 million euros of IPARD support has been paid to farmers, with the purchase of 600 tractors also supported.