Deputy Prime Minister for European Integration and Minister of Science and Technological Development Bozidar Djelic said on Wednesday that Serbia must make sure to raise profits from export of agricultural products to between $7 billion and $8 billion from last year’s $1.9 billion. Speaking at a seminar at Sava Centre held on the occasion of European project “Focus on the Balkans” on eating habits in the countries of the Western Balkans, Djelic said that agriculture is a great chance for Serbia since it has a trade surplus with EU countries.
He noted that nutrition in Serbia has improved over the past few years, but it is still far from optimum because citizens still spend too much money on food, while the structure of the diet is not so good due to high prices and unaffordability of high-quality food. The Serbian government must pay importance to the question of proper nutrition, but also to food an biomass as a source of energy, materials and economic category, which is a great chance not only for Serbia, but for the entire region, the Deputy Prime Minister underlined.
Djelic announced that during the new cycle of scientific projects for the next four years the number of researchers in agriculture and food technology will be increased by 30%, adding that they are to receive the necessary infrastructure investments. He said that it is good that a large number of Serbian researches are included in the “Focus on the Balkans” project which contemplates the issue of healthy food and opportunities for organic food, which is proof that Serbia is becoming part of the European research space. Director of Ipsos Strategic Marketing Srdjan Bogosavljevic voiced his hope that the “Focus on the Balkans” project will help to better understand consumers in the Western Balkan region, develop food science, stabilize and harmonize terminology and acquire accurate data.
Deputy Head of the EU Delegation to Serbia Adriano Martins underlined that the promotion of rights and the protection of consumers are among the key EU values. The three-year project, launched in 2008, was financed by the European Commission with €3 million and the research was conducted in six Western Balkan countries (Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, FYR Macedonia, Montenegro and Bosnia-Herzegovina).