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What is the bioeconomy and what opportunities does it offer to the domestic economy?

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In the domestic public, concepts related to the bioeconomy are occasionally introduced – so at the beginning of the summer, the Minister of Science, Technological Development and Innovation, Jelena Begović, announced that Serbia will develop the bioeconomy and create a kind of “biohub” in Europe, the Minister of Health, Danica Grujičić, said this spring that the Torlak Institute has the potential to become a “bioproduction center”, while Prime Minister Ana Brnabić, within the promotion of the BIO4 campus project, emphasized on several occasions that Serbia wants to be an active participant in the bioeconomy market.

The consulting firm McKinsey estimated that revenues from the field of bioeconomy could reach two to four trillion dollars globally by the next decade, but also pointed out that such projections are subject to great uncertainties, given the rapid technological changes taking place in this field.

“Bioeconomics is a discipline that deals with the sustainable and innovative use of biomass and biological knowledge for the provision of food, animal feed, industrial products, bioenergy and ecological and other services,” Dejan Molnar, a professor at the Faculty of Economics in Belgrade, explains.

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Its main function, as he points out, is to provide a sufficient amount of food of adequate quality and renewable resources for the growing population and, at the same time, to ensure the sustainable use of natural resources. Through the introduction of innovative and resource-efficient production processes, the bioeconomy helps to replace or reduce the use of limited fossil resources, thus contributing to the mitigation of climate change.

Among European countries, Germany has gone the furthest in implementing the concept, but also in monitoring the results in the field of bioeconomy, which during the last statistical survey three years ago employed about 4.4 million people or almost 10 percent of the German workforce.

In the Pilot report on monitoring, it is also stated that in 2017 alone, the gross value of the bioeconomy amounted to between 165 and 265 billion euros, or about six percent of Germany’s GDP. Serbia’s place on the global “bioeconomy map” will be discussed at the first National Conference “Circular (bio)economy – theoretical and practical aspects”, which starts on Thursday, September 21st.

The conference is organized by the Faculty of Economics of the University of Belgrade in cooperation with the Association of Belgrade Economists (DEB) and the Foundation for the Development of Economic Science (FREN) with the support of the Ministry of Science, Technological Development and Innovation, and Professor Molnar, who is also the director of FREN, points out for that the participants of the conference – professors, researchers, but also experts from practice – will try to point out the importance and future directions of development, as well as the possibilities of applying the bioeconomy concept in Serbia.

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