Serbian Minister of Regional Development, Milan Krkobabic said that Serbia occupies the third place in the world in terms of plum production, with the annual production standing at half a million tons.
Serbia is ranked third in the world, behind China, which produces six million tons a year, and India, which produces 700,000 tons plums annually – Krkobabic specified.
Krkobabic has reminded that there are 42 million plum trees in Serbia, but in comparison with the period from 120 years ago, the volume of plum processing has decreased five to six times, and today it is mostly used for production of rakija.
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“Serbia’s first export product to the USA in the late 19th century was prunes. At that time, 30,000 tons of prunes were exported to the United States, and our export now does not exceed five to six thousand tons,” Krkobabic has said while visiting the Municipality Blace.
He added that the Serbian government and the line ministry were willing to work together with the local self-government and existing cooperatives, in order to form a unified cooperative in Blace that will enable processing of plum that grows in the Blace region, instead of the fruit being used for production of rakija.
“We can establish such facility next year, if members of cooperative and people from the local self-government take it seriously and engage in the project,” Krkobabic has pointed out.
He has reminded that there is an ongoing competition for allocation of incentive funds to cooperatives and added that RSD825 million were set aside this year for the above project, which is four times more funds than the year before.
He reminded that the competition for allocation of incentives for co-operatives is underway and added that 825 million dinars were allocated for this purpose in 2018, which is four times more funds than last year. “The interest for forming cooperatives is high. I believe that we will be able to satisfy the demands of 60 to 70 cooperatives,” said Krkobabic.
According to him, the cooperatives formed until 2017, are entitled to up to 15 million dinars worth of incentives, while simple new cooperatives are entitled to 7.5 million dinars. More complex ones can count on the amount of 60 million dinars.
“We will give priority to the least developed regions, but we will respect all branches of agriculture – fruit growing, crop growing and livestock farming,” said Krkobabic at the Drainac Cultural Center in Blace where he met with plum producers from that region, representatives of the cooperatives and municipal agricultural services. He informed them about financial incentives for cooperatives, and then visited the agricultural cooperative Blace, which received over 12 million dinars from the state budget for the construction of a refrigerator and procurement of machinery.
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