EBRD allocates 15 million euros for the construction of irrigation systems in Serbia

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The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) announced today that it has provided loans of 15 million euros to finance the construction of modern irrigation infrastructure in Vojvodina, which will make agriculture in this region more resistant to weather factors.
The loan will enable the introduction of efficient irrigation technology from the accumulation lakes Borkovac and Pavlovac on Fruška gora, as well as the supply of water from the Sava.
The new infrastructure will provide additional irrigation in the peak of the dry season and enough water for about 3,500 hectares of land in the municipalities of Ruma and Sremska Mitrovica, which is mostly covered with orchards and vineyards.
This is the second loan that the EBRD approves to Serbia for the improvement of agricultural infrastructure, after the loan of 15 million euros from 2019 for the project of building irrigation systems in Svilajnac and Negotin, which should be realized during 2022.
The director of the EBRD agribusiness sector for the region of Southeast Europe, Miljan Zdrale, said that the construction of infrastructure that is resistant to weather factors will enable farmers in Vojvodina to better plan their production and with more security, in order to achieve higher crop yields and income.
As part of the project, the EBRD will help the Serbian Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management develop a training program on irrigation technology for local farmers, focusing on women farmers, in order to increase their employment potential and create new business opportunities for them.
The investment also includes the preparation of the first irrigation strategy in Serbia, which aims to provide sustainable, efficient irrigation, based on the demand for improved and climate-smart agriculture.
The national strategy, prepared for a ten-year period, will be complemented by a five-year action plan and priority investments in irrigation for the period up to 2030. The strategy will be prepared together with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
The adoption of the Irrigation Strategy and the Action Plan is expected by the middle of 2022.
With nine percent of gross domestic product (GDP) and a 17 percent share of employment, the agricultural and food industries play a vital role in the Serbian economy.
However, the sector suffers from underinvestment and outdated technology, while water supply systems are often vulnerable to the effects of climate change, such as drought, floods or extremely harsh winters, the EBRD said in a statement.
The EBRD is the leading institutional investor in Serbia, investing more than 6.9 billion euros in 296 projects.
The bank’s focus in Serbia is on developing the private sector, improving public utilities and facilitating the country’s transition to a green economy, Danas reports.