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Challenges in Serbian agriculture: Reliance on foreign seeds and the struggle for sustainability

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The first crop to be sown in the spring planting season in the fields will be sugar beets. Agroanalyst Čedomir Keco confirms that for the entire area under this crop, which has been cultivated on about 30,000 hectares in recent years, we buy seeds from abroad. The situation is not good for other crops either.

“So, for this planting, we will have to either import or use foreign seeds on half of the planned sowing areas, in the case of sunflower 80 percent, and sugar beets 100 percent,” says Keco.

The Novi Sad-based company “Hemoslavija” has been supplying our farmers with agricultural materials for over three decades. Owner Rajko Nenadov says that they sell less and less domestic seeds from year to year.

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“We used to sell sunflower seeds less, now we sell soybeans less, and twenty years ago we worked with 95 percent domestic corn seeds, today it’s less than 10 percent,” explains Nenadov.

Vladimir Miklič is involved in seed production at the Institute of Field and Vegetable Crops. He says that it is becoming more expensive for them to produce seeds.

“It has become quite expensive to produce in Serbia, especially in the last two or three years. The price has risen as a result of the war in Ukraine, the increase in the price of commodities, chemical agents, labor costs, fertilizers, inputs… Many do not want to engage in seed production,” Miklič explains.

The situation in the sector could be somewhat improved by the fact that this year the state will subsidize farmers for the purchase of certified seeds. Most of that money will end up in the accounts of foreign seed companies since their seeds sell more in our country.

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