Serbia must increase the agricultural budget

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Serbia must increase its budget for agriculture, which had significantly less yield due to the drought, especially in the production of corn, soybeans and sugar beets, writes the author of the portal 021 Živan Lazić.

According to him, the energy crisis and the war in Ukraine are leaving their mark on the world market, the demand for weapons and energy products, as well as for food, has increased sharply.

In addition, drought has affected almost the entire world causing agriculture to suffer.

“In Serbia, corn suffered the most, instead of the usual 7.5 million tons, with over 950 thousand hectares, it produced only 3.8 million tons, which will hardly be enough for domestic needs, and from the export, which these years amounted to more than three million tons, this time there will be nothing”, says Lazić.

Livestock fodder, oilseed rape, but also basic vegetable plants, potatoes and beans, fared badly.

“The hiccups in agricultural production led to a big jump in livestock feed prices, so the Serbian livestock industry, which has been in a deep crisis for a long time, further sank and found itself very close to the bottom”, reminds Lazić.

Serbia is an agricultural area where the only income for about 570,000 families comes from agriculture. For a country of its size, Serbia is also a large exporter of food, agriculture is the local economic activity that has continuously recorded a surplus in foreign exchange; last year it amounted to 1.65 billion euros.

As he adds, the severe drought will definitely have a significant impact on this year’s results, soil preparation, autumn sowing are difficult, and fuel and fertilizer are at a record high, forcing farmers to reduce cultivation.

“At the same time, on the world market, conditions have never been more favorable for food exporters, the drought has reduced balances everywhere, the war has not only halved agricultural activity in Ukraine, a world-wide major exporter of agricultural products, but also encouraged purchases for reserves”, the author states. portal 021.

Food prices are extremely high, for a number of staple crops and record highs, but inputs used in agriculture have also become more expensive.

This autumn, the farmer will have to invest up to 30 percent more money in order to establish production.

“According to custom, the Serbian peasant does not have sufficient accumulation in order to provide enough money from his own income for new sowing, especially not in a year in which the drought decimated the yield of basic crops, and relying on banks is too expensive”, notes Lazić.

As he notes, in such occasions, the state enters the scene, which is the practice even in the most developed agrarian countries.

“Our government reacted restrainedly – it only postponed the payment of loan installments from previous years to the peasants, for a maximum of 12 months, and it should have done much more, Lazić believes.

It is necessary to do what is the practice in the European Union, and as he adds, the abolition of the state excise tax on diesel fuel for farmers is imposed.

“This type of levy does not exist anywhere on the Old Continent and it directly hinders the Serbian peasant from being competitive with the paor from European countries, which he normally faces on the market”, reminds Lazić.

In his opinion, it is important for Serbia to increase the agricultural budget, which has been hovering between 2.85 and 3.9 percent of the total state budget for years, even though there is a legal provision according to which it should be five percent, as it was only once, for the mandate former Minister of Agriculture Ivana Dulić Marković .

If support to agriculture were determined according to export results, the amount of the agricultural budget would amount to between eight and ten percent of the total. Increasing the agricultural budget is imposed as a priority, almost as much as concern for energy security, notes Lazić.

The reason is a dry year that damaged agriculture as much as natural disasters.

Prices are record high, the current period should be used for food and agriculture.

It is the right time to support agriculture with a larger agricultural budget, and the farmer will return the investment in the best way – by increasing the surplus in agricultural exchange, which, with help, could quickly exceed two or even three billion euros, claims Lazić, Nova Ekonomija writes.