Belgrade, 23 October 2019 – Further development of trade cooperation between Serbia and the Russian Federation in the sector of agriculture and food processing industry, as well as technological innovations in these sectors were the topics of the two-day agribusiness conference which was held in Belgrade with the participations of these two countries.
In opening the Conference, the Minister of Agriculture, Water Management and Forestry, Branislav Nedimović, stated that the value of Serbian exports of agricultural products to Russia is USD 280 million and that during the last year this amount was increased by eight percent. He added that the recently signed agreement on phytosanitary requirements will contribute to liberalising the requirements for export to Russia.
"We will now liberalise the requirements and amend the prevailing decree and, on the other hand, we are part of the uniform electronic system for dispatching of consignments and all exports that are subject to phytosanitary control in Serbia will be equivalent to being controlled by our Russian colleagues – that is the effect of the phytosanitary agreement", explained Nedimović.
The Director of the Trade Representation of the Russian Federation to Serbia, Andrei Hripunov, stated that it is good that the volume of trade is increasing and that trade between Serbia and Russia is developing, and proposed to increase the level of cooperation by establishing joint enterprises which would engage in export to third markets.
"We are aware that Serbia has, apart from Russia, free trade and zero customs with the EU, Turkey, and some other countries, meaning that the market to which we could export is much greater than 180 million people and we must make use of this", said Hripunov.
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Deputy Resident Representative to Serbia, Anas Qarman, stated that UNDP is supporting young people who wish to apply innovation in agriculture in order to enable them to stay in rural areas.
"In this way further development of rural areas would prevent negative migrations to urban centres and would contribute to economic development in Serbia. Participation in international agricultural fairs by 50 Serbian companies was supported in order to extend their trade networks and resulted in closing export agreements during last year of almost EURO 46 million", said Qarman.
The project " Aid for Trade: Support to Productive Capacities in the Agro-industrial Sector in Serbia", which is implemented jointly by the Government of the Russian Federation and the UNDP, provided support to agribusiness companies to improve their operations and improve their access to new markets, particularly of Russia and the Community of Independent States (CIS).
In cooperation with the national partner, the Ministry of Agriculture, Water Management and Forestry, UNDP conducted three groups of measures with project beneficiaries. These are: participation in major international food and beverages fairs, support to improve the operations of small and medium agrobusiness enterprises, and their better positioning in local and regional markets, and support to individual producers through training, to find markets for their products and build links with big actors in the supply chains.
The Conference also presented the e-platform www.buyserbian.com, which was developed with the support of the UNDP by the Chamber of Commerce of Serbia. The purpose of the platform is to assist exporters, particularly those exporting to Russia, but this concept is applicable also to other markets. By presenting their offer on this platform, Serbian exporters become accessible to foreign partners.