The Serbian berry producers and exporters, Pureberry, are optimistic about the opportunities in Europe. According to the sales manager Aleksandra Cvetkovic, their blueberries, strawberries and raspberries are in demand in European countries of the Netherlands, Germany, France, Austria as well as in Scandinavian countries and the United Kingdom.
“Due to the demand, our aim is to expand production from the current 30 planted hectares to the full 55 hectares. We are in phase two of our three phases of expansion. We have a new pack house and cooling facility under construction. Our investment in the traceability innovations and cold chain infrastructures gives the product a longer shelf life and ensures our dedication to sustainability through reducing post-harvest loss to a minimum. We export 95% of our quantity to importers in our key markets,” states Cvetkovic.
Her colleague Milos Zivkovic, who is the agronomist of Pureberry, says they do have challenges but work hard together as a team to solve it all. “We pick our fruit and it goes straight to the cold stores. In 2022 we harvested 550 tons of blueberries. During this coming season we aim to reach 850 tons. Our biggest challenge is to obtain new machines, while also ensuring the service agents are in the country. Last season we had to get service specialists from Poland out, which takes time. The team jumped in and really solved all the problems. Our production costs are also lower than in the rest of Europe, while our Serbian weather and climate really enhances the quality of our berries. Our climate is mild, we have less pests and a lower disease burden. However, every summer it is getting warmer, but not as bad as in the rest of Europe. Some years we even had snow in April. So our actual challenge is striking the balance between investment in new technologies, rising costs of production and climate changes.”
The Pureberry team in Belgrade
Cvetkovic explains that Pureberry belongs to a Serbian owner who control all the investments and operations of its subsidiaries in Serbia. “We are part of the mother company Pureberry Fruits Rouges in France. We also have a transport company in our group called Pure Logistics. They make sure our fruit reaches the markets and clients in a reliable and timely manner.”
Pureberry grows most of its berries in a village called Jamena near the Serbian and Croatian border and in Gokcanica, surrounded by rich forest landscapes of the Dinaric Mountains of south-western Serbia.
Zivkovic says they aim to expand with 150 000 plants of blueberries. “We try to reach the export markets with new varieties. It is expensive to expand berry production in Serbia. We try to reduce the use of pesticides. That is why we are currently busy with trials on bio pesticides. Our season starts around 10 May and stretches to around mid-October.”
Tel: +381 69 369 0515