Out of the entire food production in the country, only 1% is organic.
More and more people are involved in organic production in Serbia. In 2006, there were 137 manufacturers, while last year that number has exceeded 2,000 units. However, this interest is not shared by Serbian consumers, and for that reason all Serbian organic production is sold abroad, especially in Germany, the USA, the Netherland, Belgium, Austria and Poland.
The products that are among the most requested are blueberries, frozen raspberries, fresh apples and concentrated apples, dried fruits, mashed cherries, quince and cranberries. “Most of these products are sold abroad. It will take a while before the prices go down and before the Serbian consumers would also be able to buy these products. In any case, there are some positive indications in the supermarkets”, says Veljko Jovanović, member of the Centre for organic production of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce.
The surface of cultivated fields used for organic production is 15 000 ha, and it is rapidly increasing comparing to the last year’s surface of 9000 ha. From 2012 the export of organic products is constantly growing, but if you have in mind that the conventional potatoes cost 70 dinars per kilo and the biological ones 250, it is very clear why there is such a small domestic request for it”, adds Jovanović who also says that a price differs because it depends on the cost of the certificates and on production process that involves greater use of manual skills.
“Organic products are healthier and I always try to buy them for my children. In the case of conventional cucumbers, for example, when growing the steam absorbs around 6 and a half liters of water with pesticides that anyway finishes in the vegetables”, tells Jovanović.
The fact is that nowadays the organic products in Serbia are 40-50% more expensive than the conventional ones. “Encouraged by some supermarket chains, the share of organic products in the category of fruit and vegetables soared to 4-5%”, adds Jovanović. Ivana Simić, Secretary General of Serbia Organica National Association, from her point of view, confirms that almost entire organic production of fresh fruit, dried fruits and modified fruit goes abroad. In the last couple of years there has been recorded an increase in the offered products, as a response to an increased demand for healthy food made by consumers, but in that way many products from abroad came on the market and with the much higher prices than those from the country of origin.
Among the EU countries, the one with the most developed organic production is Austria, while the most radical strategic choice has been made by Denmark that has decided to transform all agricultural production into organic in the next 25 years. Germany has the greatest number of consumers. The European statistics show that on average organic farms are bigger than the traditional ones. The first legislative action in the EU dates back to 1991, but only in 2001, with the outbreak of mad cow disease, there has been a strong incentive towards a rapid growth of organic production.
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