The number of domestic food producers in Serbia is growing, and around 6,000 of them have an “organic” certificate issued by the Ministry of Agriculture.
“Only those who have an organic certificate can call themselves organic producers,” says Veljko Jovanović , adviser to the president of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce, and emphasizes that the certificate is extremely important to producers because it provides them with better opportunities for placement on the market.
“The word organic is often and flatly used and is equated with unsprayed and untreated. An organic product is organic according to the method of production and according to the current regulations, according to the list of permitted means with which it is treated – preparations that do not affect biodiversity and soil quality, ” Jovanović said.
In Serbia, there are six certification houses that are authorized by the Ministry of Agriculture to issue certificates and with which producers can conclude a contract, Jovanović explains, and after the conversion period, which includes various checks and analyses, they receive a certificate and the certification house conducts regular inspections.
“For example, raspberry jam, the fruit must be organic, but the processing itself must also be certified. If sugar is added, it must be organic, and a maximum of five percent of the non-certified product, the additive can be found in the finished product,” he states . Jovanovic.
Some manufacturers have produced certificates of organic origin and production method for their products, while others point out that the only obstacle is that certification requires additional financial expenditure.
Customers are divided, and some point out that the certificate is important to them, others still, as they say, “take their word for it”, and there are also experienced ones who say that “healthy food is recognized”.
The majority of those asked say that regardless of whether the domestic product has an organic certificate or not, they prefer to buy food “from the village” rather than that in supermarkets.
Small producers of domestic food mostly point out that the business started completely by accident, from “a few jars or bottles” for friends and acquaintances, while there are also those who decided to leave the city and start farming.
“We were tenants in Belgrade, and in 2016 we bought a household in the vicinity of Valjevo, with the aim of starting our own production. We made the bigger one at the beginning of the pandemic, and soon 1,000 jars of plum jam were delivered to Belgrade, within a few days.” ,said Nevena Arntić from Osladić near Valjevo.
He adds that this year its products were also found in Chicago, Canada, Paris and Vienna, and that they plan to expand the offer and production.
“About 15 days ago, we received a subsidy of 70 percent from the city of Valjevo for the purchase of a fruit and vegetable grinder, which will help us a lot in expanding and improving our business,” said Antićeva.
The number of domestic food producers in Serbia is growing, and about 6,000 of them have an “organic” certificate issued by the Ministry of Agriculture, Poljoprivreda Info writes.