The Serbian food processing industry has recorded a drop of up to 7.3 per cent, making it a problem for the national economy.
The meat industry has reported a drop in production following stable growth for the past 18 months. The meat industry recorded growth of 4-5 per cent last year and in the first two quarters of 2019 but reported a 7 per cent decline in August.
Economy experts said that the drop was caused by the 100 per cent tax on Serbian goods imposed by the Kosovo authorities, low export prices, an outbreak of the swine flu and the fact that some companies have been banned from exporting to Russia.
Industrial production in Serbia rose 1.6 per cent in September and the processing industry reported a rise of 1.7 per cent, but the food industry’s bad results have halved the growth of the processing industry, economy experts say.
“The decline of the food industry has halved the growth of the manufacturing industry,” explains economist Stojan Stamenkovic.
“While the volume of produced goods exported increased by 15%, the prices increased between 7 and 8%. In August and September, a new factor also emerged – the decline in the meat industry output. Last year, it recorded grown between 4 and 5% and so it was in the first half of the year. In August, however, the meat industry suddenly fell by 7%. In September the decline was even greater. The question remains whether it was the swine fever that stopped exports to Russia or something else,” Stamenkovic wonders.
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Experts explain that the result is due to several factors. The number of oxen and pigs decreases by 2-3% each year and has fallen by 30% in the last decade. Although two years ago, Serbia had three million pigs, this number has now fallen to 2.7 million.
“Fluctuating prices are a problem in pig breeding,” explains Nenad Budimovic, secretary of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce’s Livestock Breeding Association.
“At the beginning of the process, the price of the pig is between 150 and 180 dinars per kilogramme while the pig is big enough to be sold, the price per kilogramme drops from 120 to 130 dinars. No-one can cover the price difference. On the other hand, instead of 10,000 pigs, the State decided this year to provide subsidies that would cover only 5,000 pigs. Diseases remain another problem. Neighbouring countries have stopped importing pork products from Serbia because they have to comply with a recommendation from the European Commission. We need to keep an eye on our partners, as CEFTA is our only market for pig products,” Budimovic warns.
Furthermore, an agreement with Turkey on beef exports has not produced the expected results. Serbian farmers have not yet been able to sell their beef to Turkey.
(Vecernje Novosti, 12.11.2019)
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