The raspberry harvest is in full swing, but along with it, there is still picking and care. Farmers say that the offer of refrigerated trucks from 160 to 240 dinars per kilogram does not cover production costs. While the exporters claim that they can’t sell it for much more, customers at markets and supermarkets rub their eyes at the astronomical figure of about 1,200 dinars for a kilogram of raspberries. The state says: The situation will be resolved by stricter quality control, import and payment of raspberries.
There is almost no season in which farmers and cold storage companies did not call on the state for help, to resolve the conflict and to provide aid.
Last year, cold stores asked 500 dinars for raspberries. The market said it was too much, so the new season was entered with a stock of unsold goods.
An additional problem is the price of 200 dinars for a new breed raspberry.
Božidar Joković from the Arilje-based cooperative “Naša malina” points out that a price of less than three euros will not be able to cover the costs of harvesting and all other depreciation this year. “According to the latest censuses, there are around 5,500 tons of refrigerated fruit in storage, just as much as was imported last year from competing countries,” says Joković.
What has the state done so far?
The state cannot regulate the price, but the market can. The government decided to offer two billion dinars for loans through Poštanska štedionica, from which small and medium-sized refrigerators will pay last year’s debt to manufacturers. “We cleared old debts, we have increased controls on the ground, we take great care of what is sold with what, whether it is Serbian or another, if it is sold, it cannot be sold as Serbian. We are here to take care of the environment, and the price will come on its own when we remove everything from the side, which may disturb the conditions of this market”, says Minister of Agriculture Jelena Tanasković.
Proposals of the Committee on Agriculture
The proposal is to allocate five per cent of the total budget for agriculture to intervention measures.
Daily wages for pickers are 4,000 dinars, without meals, so raspberry growers warn that because of this, many will leave raspberries in the field and harvest only as much as family members can achieve. And in the family of Milovan Jakovljević, raspberries have been harvested for 35 years. He presents the proposal of the parliamentary committee for agriculture, of which he is a member. “Exactly for moments like this when the state needs to react, and 100 dinars per kilogram is needed to encourage production, that is, to provide a subsidy. Fifty thousand tons at 100 dinars is five billion, just as much as the government decided last year for sunflower producers”, said Jakovljević.
More than agriculture
Malina is not just a story about agriculture, economy and GDP. It is often political.
However, there are also those who realized in time that it is best to trust in everything and in their own minds. Branko Milovanović started growing organic raspberries eight years ago. “It has a good price, especially this year. The price is 350 dinars for controlled production, and 180 dinars for commercial production, and nothing is more difficult,” says Branko Milovanović, a raspberry grower from the village of Lopatanj near Osečina.
How much does raspberry production cost?
Even professors cannot agree on how much it costs to produce raspberries. The Department of Agribusiness of the Faculty of Agriculture in Zemun came out with a calculation of 130 dinars per kilogram, while the Department of Fruit Growing says that it costs no less than 195 dinars. Competition on the international market is getting fiercer, but everyone agrees that the tastiest and most fragrant raspberries grow in Serbia.
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