Four-member family Petrovic from Prnjavor near town Sabac, has been growing raspberies for years, agriculture being the only source of income for the family.Jovan, his wife and two sons, colledge students, cultivate maize, soybean, wheat and clover on 3,3 hecteres of their own, and 10 hecteres of leased land. They also raise cattle and pigs, and have about 50 acres of raspberries which became very important source of income for the family in last couple of years.

When storms and rain crashed in 2014 on this fertile Macva area, 11 hectares of land on Petrovic farm was flooded. Fortunatelly, not all was destroyed. However, most of raspberry canes, carefully nurtured and cultivated by Petrovic family, were completly destroyed while remaining canes started drying after the floods, so Jovan gave up of any hope there will be any profit from raspberry sales in current and next season. Even though, he filled in application for support within the „ EU assistance to flood affected areas in Serbia“ and in autumn 2014. FAO delivered to the family 1,800 high-quality, certified raspberry canes variety Tulameen – which yields very large and sweet raspberries produced mostly for the fresh market.

A week ago, family Petrovic finished the first harvest of raspberries from the donation. They yielded 6 tons of raspberries grown on 50 acres and sold it all to local cold storage. Jovan Petrovic says that he is very satisfied with raspberry quality and yield.

„Quality of raspberry canes we received as a donation was really good, and so is the yield we have. Since this is the first season of harvest of these raspberries, I expect even better yield and results in next seasons. I thank from all my heart to all who helped us to restore a part of our production after the floods, we are practically living from it. I believe that EU donation meant a lot to all farmers in this area, no matter what kind of support and assistance package they received“.

In December 2014, fruit producers from Sabac municipality received 457.200 raspberry canes variety Tulameen, Meeker and Polka. Canes imported from England, are certified and exceptional quality. Petrovic family is just one of 254 farming families in the municipality who received raspberry canes’ assistance packages , donated by the EU and delivered by FAO.

During autumn and winter 2014 and 2015, fruit saplings and canes were donated and delivered to 2,002 farms in 30 Serbian municipalities. Total of 2,219,100 plum, cherry, sour cherry, raspberry and blackberry saplings and canes is planted in selected farmers’ orchards throughout Serbia, and total value of fruit saplings and canes from EU donation funds reaches remarkable 1,259,610 euros. Beside fruit saplings and canes, which are few among 23 various assistance packages donated by the EU and delivered by FAO, farmers from the flooded areas received spring and autumn crop season seeds, fertiliyer, animal feed, greenhouses, agricultural equipment, cattle and beehives. So far , in period August 2014 / June 2016, assistance reached 29,448 farming families.

European Union assistance to flood relief in Serbia program, worth 92 million euros, is funded by the European Union under the pre-accession funds IPA 2012 and IPA 2014. The funds will be used for construction of new houses, rehabilitation of public buildings and infrastructure, private houses and roads and recovery of economy and agriculture in municipalities most affected with floods. All activities in the field are implemented by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), organisations HELP and ABS and Danish Refugee Council (DRC), Austrian Development Agency (ADA) and World Bank – in coordination with Government of Serbia Public Investment Management Office. 

The information and views set out in this document are those of the FAO and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of the European Union.