KEY INDICATORS 2012¹
•Organic agricultural area: 6 340 hectares
•Organic operators: 71
•Retail sales: No data
HISTORY OF ORGANIC FARMING
• Mid 1980s: Organic agriculture startsthrough the initiative of individual small farmers.
• 1990: The NGO Terra's is founded by a network of producers, farmers, advisors and academics involved in organic production.
• 2000: The first national law on organic agricultural production (Official Gazette 28/2000) is adopted by the federal parliament.
• 2005: The Ministry of Agriculture (MAFWM) establishes the Department for Organic Production. Terra's and the Green Network of Vojvodina organise the first international organic products festival the Biofest, in Subotica.
• 2009: The National Association for organic production, Serbia Organica, is founded.
PRODUCTION BASE: LAND USE AND KEY CROPS
Of the total organic agricultural area of 6 340 hectares, 84.6% consists of arable and permanent crops, while 15.3% is permanent grassland and grazing areas. The most common arable crops account for 47% of the agricultural land (including 2 522 hectares of cereals). This is followed by fruit production (26%, including 1 415 hectares of apples, raspberries and plums), forage crops (12%), plamts for industrial uses (10%, 541 hectares), vegetables (2%, 113 hectares) and medicinal and aromatic plants (0.5% of the organic agricultural area).
The supply of organic products on the local market, from both domestic production and imports, has been expanding in previous years. However, it is still limited in terms of the range and quantities of products available. Moreover, the expansion of the domestic market is hindered by the insufficient purchasing power of consumers. Organic products can be found in specialised shops, in green markets in the big cities (Belgrade, Novi Sad, Subotica) and in several supermarket chains. With the exception of organic milk, there is a lack of organic products from livestock farming.
Market channels: Primarily specialised shops, green markets and supermarkets
Exports and imports: Data on exports and imports are not publically available. Each authorised control body is obliged to submit export and import data to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management. However, data on export values are incomplete because some of the exporters consider these to be confidential.
STANDARDS, LEGISLATION, ORGANIC LOGO
Production in Serbia is regulated by the Law on Organic Production (Official Gazette No. 30/10) and the Rulebook on the control and certification of organic production and organic production methods (Official Gazette No. 48/11).
There is a national organic logo.
The Law on Subsidies for Agriculture and Rural Development (Official Gazette No. 10/13) is the basic legal document which includes and defines subsidies for organic production (direct payments and subsidies for rural development measures). The rulebook regulating the subsidies for organic production (Official Gazette No. 38/13) includes subsidies for organic plant and livestock production, premiums for organic milk and subsidies for fuel.
The rulebook regulating subsidies for through the introduction of safety and quality certification of food, ofo rganic products and of products with designated geographic origin, foresees the partial coverage of control and certification costs.
National action plan: A new plan for the Development of Organic Production 2013 to 2017 is expected to be launched following the adoption of the Strategy for Agriculture and Rural Development 2014 to 2020.
Other policy support: At the local level, some municipalities provide support for organic farming.
RESEARCH & ADVICE
The Institute for Field and Vegetable crops in Novi Sad, the Institute for Vegetable production in Smederevska Palanka, and the Institute for Food Technology in Novi Sad all conduct research in the area of organic production. The Faculties of Agriculture of the Universities of Belgrade and Novi Sad, and the Faculty of Biofarming in Bačka Topola have introduced masters courses and PhD programmes in organic agriclture.
Advice is provided by the associations and through several agricultural extension services.
CHALLENGES & OUTLOOK
The most important challenges facing the Serbian organic sector include the need to increase the area under organic production as well as the quantity of organic products. It is important also to develop the domestic market and establish well-stocked local points of sale. At the same time, there is a need for an operational and harmonised control and certification system, in line with EU legislation.
• Department for Organic Production: www.dnrl.minpolj.gov.rs
For other relevant websites, see the section on key sector institutions.
Wirtten by Jelena Milič, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management, jelena.milic [at] minpolj.gov.rs
¹Data: Department for Organic Production