Serbian farmers are on the brink of economic collapse as the state has abused the national system of subsidies, and due to enormous disparities in the prices of agricultural products and production costs, a retired professor of the Faculty of Agriculture, Miladin Sevarlic, warned on Feb. 12.
As the farmers, dissatisfied with the government’s response to their demands, have continued negotiations with it, the professor explained that their organizations were fragmented and had little influence on the Ministry of Agriculture and its policies, except for beekeepers, already joining a network of their European counterparts.
"Not even the previous regime implemented the Law on Incentives in Agriculture and Rural Development insofar as it failed to allocate five percent of total tax revenues to the agriculture budget, let alone the current authorities. As a consequence, from 2013 to 2023 farmers were deprived of more than EUR1.2 billion. The EU IPARD funds are donations, and cannot be considered part of a state agrarian budget, except for the 25 percent that Serbia is obliged to add to those funds," Sevarlic told BETA.
According to Professor Sevarlic, the year 2023 was the only year when a five-percent agricultural budget allocation was made, but the Ministry of Agriculture did not specify what portion of that amount was used to cover the debts from previous years, and how much exactly was paid out to subsidize local farmers that year. He added that the treatment the Serbian farmers received was not nearly as favorable as that granted to foreign investors, who could count on as much as 100,000 euros per a job position.