As a major economic contributor to food, incomes, public goods and services in rural areas, agriculture infrastructure in Serbia plays a large role in the livelihood of its people. With over two-thirds of Serbia’s land being agricultural, farming is an important aspect of economic success. The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management (MAFWM) is continually trying to find ways to improve the agriculture sector in terms of efficiency and competitiveness.
Agriculture made up 11.9 percent of Serbia’s GDP in 2016, the large figure due mostly to better weather conditions. Crops were able to grow to an abundance and support the rural area residents. Currently, there are 680,000 people employed in agriculture, which makes up 21 percent of Serbia’s labor force. With such a high percentage of people working in agriculture, the sector became of more importance to infrastructure in Serbia.
The Rural Development Program for Serbia is designed to increase food-safety and competitiveness of the agri-food sector. With the $200 million investment from the European Commission, the program will take six years and the investments will be distributed as grants. These grants will be given to:
- Farmers producing milk, meat, fruits and vegetables and other crops
- Micro-, small- and medium-sized milk, meat, fruits and vegetable processing farms
- Organic production
- Development of private rural tourism facilities
By having an agriculture sector that focuses on competitiveness, there then exists a way to find balance between farm viability, environmental protection and the social development of rural areas. In order to improve competitiveness, Serbia is:
- Reducing production costs
- Increasing economic size of holdings
- Promoting innovation and orientation towards the specific market
- Trying to create better measurements for agricultural investments pertaining to physical investments and human capital investments
- Emphasize the importance of selling quality products
From 2016 to 2017, the Serbian Parliament increased its agriculture budget by 8 percent. This increase in investment will help in positively changing the social and economic conditions in rural areas. These rural areas will benefit greatly from assistance and cause the agriculture infrastructure in Serbia to be able to produce more crops. The continuing emphasis put on agriculture in Serbia creates a positive outlook on the development of better communities.
– Brianna Summ