The German meat company, Toennies has once again postponed its arrival to Serbia by one year.
This time, the reason is the swine fever. This is not the first time that the German giant has given up on the announced investment. As a result of Toennies’ reluctance, certain municipalities in Vojvodina have therefore leased the land meant for Toennies to Serbian farmers this year as well.
“The Investments Commission has postponed the investment approval, issued to Toennies, for another year”, the Ministry of Agriculture said.
“The reason for this is the outbreak of swine fever in Europe. This means that a number of pigs and pork products that would need to be transported here cannot be transported as there’s a ban in effect. In the meantime, the land, intended for the German investor, will be leased until the investment starts being implemented”, the Ministry adds.
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The local government in Zrenjanin says that it will allocate around 2,500 hectares of state-owned arable land to farmers in this Banat municipality, as Toennies, which has the right of first refusal for a period of 30 years, has given up on the investment without an official explanation, same as last year. The town of Zrenjanin has not provided an explanation or said when the German company would start renting the land.
On the other hand, farmers from Banat County have welcome the decision for the state land to be leased to local farmers and point out that they are the ones who know best how to work the land and that Toennies never seriously intended to start producing in Serbia.
Serbian agricultural economist Milan Prostran points out that the investment by Toennies is quite uncertain. The memorandum with this company was signed in 2015, but the company hasn’t made any progress in its investments here since.
“Also, the details of the project and the company’s intentions have still not been revealed. There have been speculations that they need 15,000 hectares and that they will be processing meat here. Now, no-one knows anything anymore. The Government of Serbia has had so many of such negotiations, that we cannot be sure anymore if the investment will take place at all”, Prostran explains.
According to Prostran, Serbia is a land of corn and pork producers. It is debatable whether the country actually needs Toennies, as domestic livestock farmers can handle everything themselves. Still, he believes, the market is free, as is the flow of the capital. Prostran, however, doubts that the German company will invest in Serbia.