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Unlocking Serbia’s seed potential: Challenges and opportunities ahead

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Serbia holds significant untapped potential in the production of certified seeds, but its utilization lags behind many European counterparts due to farmers‘ preference for cheaper alternatives, reports the monthly magazine “Biznis i finansije”.

Despite the rising demand in tourism, the Serbian government has yet to allocate subsidies for declared seed producers. This leaves the market’s value hard to pinpoint, given its diverse range from field crops to vegetables and flowers. However, it’s estimated to hover around $120 million annually.

While Serbia’s seed exports, particularly corn and sunflower varieties, command attention on global markets, domestic utilization falls short of its potential. Svetlana Balešević Tubić, General Secretary of the Seed Association of Serbia, attributes this to regulatory shortcomings, market conditions, and organizational issues within the sector.

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Producing certified seeds demands substantial investments in expertise, given the evolving climate patterns and the need for disease-resistant hybrids. Balešević Tubić emphasizes the importance of a collaborative approach across the entire production chain, from genetics to processing.

Tomislav Sivčev, Director of Vojvodina agrar DCB, highlights the meticulous process involved in seed production. From field monitoring to processing, rigorous quality control measures ensure that only certified seeds reach the market, offering farmers greater reliability compared to cheaper alternatives.

Despite the profitability of certified seed production, challenges persist. Žužana Pajdl, Director of Pionir from Srbobran, underscores the need for incentives to offset risks. Currently, there’s a lack of state support, which limits profitability and necessitates diversification into other revenue streams.

Đorđe Arsenijević, Director of Seme Semena from Pećinac, echoes this sentiment, emphasizing the uncertain nature of seed production without adequate government backing. He suggests that subsidies akin to those in the European Union would bolster profitability and encourage further investment in this vital agricultural sector.

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In conclusion, while Serbia boasts significant potential in seed production, unlocking it requires addressing regulatory hurdles and providing meaningful support to producers. Only then can the country fully capitalize on this lucrative market and enhance its position on the global stage.

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