It is necessary to improve the quality of raspberry production in Serbia

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This year’s yield of raspberries is estimated at between 80,000 and 90,000 tons. The year was marked by the highest purchase price so far, which, depending on the area of cultivation, ranged between 3.5 and 4 euros per kilogram. The value of exports has increased, but raspberries are facing great challenges, including a noticeable decline in production and smaller business volumes, it was pointed out at the meeting of the Group of Producers of Fresh and Frozen Fruits and Vegetables at the Serbian Chamber of Commerce.
The decline in raspberry production is a consequence of unfavorable weather conditions, general condition of raspberry plantations, quality of planting material, shortage of professional staff and lack of seasonal labor force, but also ways of applying agro-technical measures and uncontrolled application of plant protection products.
During 2021 and 2020, as raspberry processors and exporters explain, the world has a significant deficit of both raspberries and other berries, which was primarily due to the huge demand caused by the coronavirus pandemic and significantly reduced yields in other countries that deal with this production.
“In ten months of the current year, raspberries were exported from Serbia in the amount of 290 million euros, unlike in 2020, when the value of exports amounted to 215 million euros in the same period,” states PKS.
The leading export markets for Serbian raspberries are still Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Belgium and the United States, where this year the price is significantly higher than in European countries.
It was especially pointed out at the meeting that this year’s growth of prices towards customers abroad led to a smaller volume of business, and even to the loss of regular customers, which may negatively affect demand next year, because some customers opted for other fruits.
“The companies that participated in the meeting, and at the same time are the largest exporters of raspberries from Serbia, are united in the view that it is necessary to first determine the real areas under raspberry plantations as well as the quantities produced annually. This year pointed out that special attention should be paid to the way of planning production in the next year in order to prepare in time for possible situations that may arise from current shortages and high prices of fertilizers, rising energy prices, labor and other inputs not only in primary agricultural production but and in the processing, packaging, but also the transport of goods,” states the Chamber of Commerce.
What certainly characterized this year’s season of raspberry harvesting and purchase, in addition to the price, is that a large number of unregistered purchase points were noticed, which endangered and made business more difficult through illegal purchase.
“It was pointed out that buyers must pay special attention to pesticide residues in fruits, in order to avoid potential problems in exports. In order to prevent a situation similar to the one that Serbia had with the norovirus in recent years, a completely different approach to the topic of the list of permitted plant protection products is necessary, as well as their use and treatment of fruits,” said PKS.
As it was announced, the participants in the meeting agree that, considering the annual inflow realized by the export of raspberries from Serbia, special efforts should be made to preserve both the raw material base and the partnership with subcontractors.
In the next period, permanent work is needed to improve the production and marketing of raspberries, which should be the task of every participant in this business in order to create the best possible business environment for all, businessmen said, N1 reports.