ABB Growers BV has its office and blueberry production in Serbia. They started harvesting the blueberries from their plantations around June 10th and they also started purchasing blueberries throughout the country. The first quantities were purchased last week and were shipped to The Netherlands. In the premises of the Dutch principal, blueberries are sorted, packed and shipped to retailers in the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Scandinavia and other EU member states.
Mr Marko Maksimovic, manager of the Serbian branch of ABB Growers, is very satisfied with the quality of berries this year. They are on a higher level quality-wise than in previous years. Serbian producers invested in their blueberry orchards and understood the importance of putting the quality over the quantity. This season, the company estimates to export around 700 tons of blueberries from Serbia to the Netherlands. The first batch had a price of 800 RDS/kg (cca €6.8/kg) on a local wholesale market but as the season progresses the price goes down. At the moment ABB Growers are paying €5.3/kg to local growers for first class quality berries.
Emergency situation in eight districts in Serbia due to floods
The large amount of precipitation in Serbia has created problems in the western part of the country. Due to the overflow of the rivers, floods occurred in several places and eight municipalities declared a state of emergency. Over 700 households were flooded and many more were endangered in central, south-western and western Serbia. Mountain streams burst after intense rainfalls on June 23rd. Swollen rivers destroyed bridges and local infrastructure, while floods stopped traffic in some towns. Pastures, fields with arable crops, greenhouses and orchards in western Serbia were severely hit by floods. The President of the Association of Serbian Raspberry and Blackberry Growers stated that swollen rivers destroying over 1.000 ha of raspberry fields, 2.000-3.000 ha of potato fields, maize, and farmers’ gardens, as well as pastures. The damage in the Moravica valley in western Serbia will affect all of Serbia because raspberries got destroyed and their export last year generated foreign exchange inflow of cca EUR 230 mn, was stated by the President of Association.
The Minister of Agriculture said that aid will be provided for those who suffered significant damages due to heavy rainfall. The flooding decreased during Wednesday, June 24th but it is clear that in the future it will be necessary to invest in water management facilities.
Unprecedented June hailstorms
The Hydrometerological Institute of Serbia (HMZS) issued a statement on the usage of a record amount of anti-hail missiles in the first half of June. They stated that the damage from the hail is minimal. Extremely unstable weather conditions this year caused frequent occurrences of storm-hail clouds. "We are only a third of the way through the hailstorm season, and a record 4684 missiles have already been used, which is unprecedented,” stated HMZS . 1,395 more missiles were spent than the total consumption in 2015. In three consecutive days in the first half of June, 2,759 rockets were fired, which has not been recorded before. The value of fired rockets, in one month and 25 days of this year's anti-hail season, reached €1.5 million. It was added by HMZS officials that the damage caused by hail to the agricultural areas and crops is minimal.
Serbian mushroom exports 75% higher than imports
Investing in the production of mushrooms in Serbia can be profitable. The profitability would be even higher if producers would unite, was stated at a conference organized by the National Team for the Revival of Serbian Villages. According to rough estimates offered by mushroom expert Ivanka Milenkovic, the annual production of mushrooms in the protected area in Serbia is 3.500-4.000 tons, whereas according to the Serbian Institute for Nature Conservation, 9,200 tons of mushrooms were collected from nature in Serbia in 2018. Over the last five years, an average of €5.2 million per year was earned from the export of mushrooms, mostly to Italy, Germany, Switzerland, and Austria. On the other hand, Serbia imports around 20 tons of mushrooms worth €70,000 every year. The Chair of the National Team for the Revival of Serbian Villages pointed to the optimistic fact that Serbian mushroom exports are 75% higher than imports. According to Ivanka Milenkovic, it is realistic to expect profit from investments in mushroom production in around three years.