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Serbia prepares rulebook for "lenten" foods: Mini Schengen, eAgrar left to new agriculture minister

"Serbia and its food industry companies cannot drop out of the 'Champions League' and trade figures speak for themselves"

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Pita savijača, pita, hrana

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One of the industries in Serbia that will benefit the most from the establishment of a "mini Schengen" area is food production, because all barriers concerning veterinary and phytosanitary certificates are being removed and we are getting a new space in that market however big it will be, says Minister of Agriculture Branislav Nedimovic.

During a formal session of the NALED Alliance for Food and Agriculture, Nedimovic stated that in addition to Serbia, North Macedonia, Albania, and the area controlled by Pristina, Bosnia and Herzegovina could easily join "mini Schengen".

"We need space to expand," said Nedimovic and added that "Serbia and its food industry companies cannot drop out of the 'Champions League' and exchange figures with all areas that we trade or strive to trade with speak for themselves.

"Now we are slowly going into a new zone where we are entering a surplus with other players. That speaks to the strength of the food industry in Serbia," the minister said.

According to him, the next government of Serbia must adopt a completely new approach to the food industry when it comes to attracting new investments, and he suggested to his successor at the head of the agriculture department to focus on food safety, "mini Schengen" and eAgrar.

He said that ministries of economy and agriculture have jointly prepared a proposal for the new government not to tie incentives for the food industry to job creation, but exclusively to new technologies and equipment, and that the focus should be on attracting new investments to that sector.

Nedimovic said that he met today with the representatives of a Hungarian company that wants to invest around 20 million euros in the food industry sector, but only ten people will work there.

He added that the first results in the development of eAgrar are expected next year, and that  implementation of a World Bank project, which includes eAgrar, will begin as soon as a new government is formed.

Konferencija za štampu

Photo: Tanjug/Dragan Kujundzic

"It's a broad platform that will tie together all possible bases," said Nedimovic and explained that eAgrar will enable easier registration of farms and submission of requests for subsidies.

He expects that from January 1, 2022 everyone will be able to register and work in this way.

He announced that a rulebook defining what can be declared as "lenten" food would be published soon, and that the issue of regulating the sale of industrial hemp products would be left to the next government.

Members of the Alliance for Food and Agriculture elected a new management today. For the next two years that body of NALED will be led by director of Mlekoprodukt Andrej Beslac, while vice presidents will be Andrea Radonjic from Coca-Cola, Tamara Penjic from Carnex and Ljiljana Radosavljevic from Pepsico.

The session of the association today heard about priorities in its further work, mentioning the eAgrar platform, as well as work on changing regulations in order to facilitate food donation in this context. They also stated that the new government should solve the process of harmonization domestic regulations in the field of food safety and quality with European legislation in order to facilitate trade with the EU.

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(Telegraf Biznis)

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