When thinking about developing countries, we do not necessarily think about a country like Serbia. However, the country receives since the collapse of Yugoslavia in 2003 a number of financial aids coming mostly from Germany and reaching today about € 1.22 billion. Moreover, these aids are not without interest, since the country possesses large resources in terms of the production of food products.
Agrifood: a strong sector of the Serbian industry
Serbia is in full process of accession to the European Union since some years already and slowly preparing to take a step forward. Much more than a homogenization of its policy, a membership to the EU also implies an adaptation to the European market, whose Serbia always ignored regulations, although the country is mostly trading with EU. Among his best partners, Germany ranks first with 11 % of the exchanges and thus is particularly concerned with the development of the country. It is not without interest that Germany provides financial support to Serbia , as the country sees great potential in view of the agri-food sector development.
Indeed, the food industry happens to be very effective in Serbia since a third of the population works in the agriculture. The country also benefits from a supportive climate and great soil quality which show many development opportunities. The branch represents over 10% of the global gross domestic product, however, the development of this sector faces problems of infrastructure, lacks of modernity and is not able to increase its productivity. It is here that Germany has a role to play as biological food is since some years a booming market in German, therefore, Serbia is the perfect candidate for a development along the lines of organic farming.
Support or land tenancy?
The establishment of a more ecological agriculture is a great opportunity for Germany, but will not be that simple. In fact, less than 1 % of the Serbian food is organically produced, and no label or any recognition system for organic products existed before money was invested in the sector. Recently, a development plan is led by the GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit), a german organism focused on international cooperation to develop new cultivated parcels according to the standards of the bio industry. Furthermore, six quality control centers have been set up so that food products meet the requirements of the European market, requirements which until then had been totally ignored by the Serbian farmers. Regional initiatives were also implemented, such as the establishment of parcels for the production of paprika on the Serbian territory (in the Vojvodina region), from the Swabia region (region part of the German federal state of Baden-Württemberg) which invested up to € 100,000.
Thanks to these new measures, Serbia is in the process of becoming one of the most competitive countries in the production of organic food (good soil quality, lower prices). However, it is still necessary that the country modernizes its infrastructure so that the food industry can break free from the German influence, which uses Serbia as a “Schrebergarten” (small gardens on the suburbs that German rent for the year to cultivate their own vegetables).