From the beginning of the year till the end of May, almost 100,000 tons of fresh and frozen fruit were exported from Serbia. This year’s raspberry yield in Serbia is estimated at almost 95 thousand tons. Due to last year’s supplies, the purchase price of raspberries does not exceed 100 dinars per kilogram. More from Tamara Prodanović
The fact that raspberry growers are not satisfied with the offered purchase price this year either is not surprising at all. Serbia has entered the new season with raspberry supplies amounting to 13,000 tons. In the first purchase phase, the price of EUR 1.22 was demanded, which has changed to EUR 1.44 now, with an additional request for export subsidies of 20 eurocents per kilogram. Peaceful protest rallies and even road blockades, as in the previous years, have been announced should the state not meet raspberry growers’ demands. A solution to this problem, according to the president of the Serbian Agrarian Economists’ Association, Miladin Ševarlić, lies in a better coordination of all the participants in this chain, its modernization and the improvement of efficacy.
The raspberry is not a basic agricultural and food product that falls within the state intervention regime when it comes to prices and commodity reserves, but, after maize, it has the second largest export-related significance. Raspberry production engages a large part of population capable of work, especially in hilly and mountainous regions, which have been financially devastated. What the state can do is to introduce highly productive varieties, enlarge raspberry plantations and introduce irrigation systems. Instead of promoting semi-industrial and frozen raspberries, one should consider exporting products of a higher processing phase, such as fruit juices, kompots and preserves. The good news is that some 90% of this year’s yield will be travelling from Serbia to EU member-states, due to the poor yield in Chile and Poland, which was by 40% lower than last year.
Raspberry plantation owners believe that today it pays to grow any fruit. This year, a yield of sour cherries exceeding 15 wagons and costing 100 dinars per kilogram at least is expected. Frost has affected the yield of sour cherries in many European countries, such as Poland, which is a top cherry producer and exporter. Plantation owners assess the cherry yield as good despite bad conditions, with a good price and quality, especially in the Morava river basin and the central region of Sumadija.
At this moment, Serbian fruit is exported to the Russian market most. A total of 35,000 tons of apples has been placed on the Russian market, so this season starts with no apple supplies. Part of fresh strawberry and cherry quantities, amounting to 1,400 tons, has been exported and so has a considerable quantity of other frozen berries.