Serbia: Impact of COVID-19 on the agro sectors

Positive impact on fruit and vegetables sales

When looking back at the effects of Corona pandemic on the agriculture sector in Serbia, the impact is different on different sub-sectors. While the Corona pandemic pushed certain sectors to the verge of extinction, to others it resulted in an increase of sales.

Positive impact on fruit and vegetables sales
In the first half of this year agricultural exports recorded an increase of 10.3% compared to the same period in 2019. Data from the Statistics Office of Serbia show an increase of exports of cereals of 9.8% and an increase of export of pome and stone fruits of 19.8%. In August 2020, frozen raspberries were the fifth most exported product from Serbia. In the same month the export value was 22.2 mil EUR. Serbian companies whose core business is sales of fresh fruits and vegetables are consentaneous that Covid-19 positively impacted consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables and they recorded an increase in their business operations by 20%. The main export markets for these fresh items are the Russian Federation, the Czech Republic; Poland; Croatia and Italy.

Smaller fruit and vegetable producers and processors (different types of marmalades and traditional spreads) were mostly oriented towards domestic market and on-line sales. At the very beginning of this health crisis, in March 2020, individual vegetable producers (lettuce and other early spring veggies) were hit hard by closure of green markets and imposed lock downs. 

Long term contracts with supermarket chains were definitely a blessing to producers of perishable goods at those times. Difficult times proved to be inspirational for alternative thinking and it resulted in a modernization of this conservative sector. Fruit and vegetable producers with the help of the Government officials and the society as a whole, turned to on-line sales.

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