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Serbian fruit processors look to the future with confidence:

"After the difficult pandemic years, we are back on the right track"

The processing of locally produced fruit has a long tradition in the Republic of Serbia. Flora d.o.o., based in the central Serbian region of Ivanjica, has been one of the leading processors and exporters for 30 years now. The family company's fruit products, above all plum jam and fruit spreads, not only find good sales markets at home and in other European countries, but also in the USA, Australia and India, explains company founder and managing director Slobodan Jovanovic, together with his wife Biljana Jovanovic, during an interview on site.

The heart of the company site in the renowned Ivanjica growing region is the ultra-modern hot processing plant, which is used to produce fruit spreads (around 2,000 tonnes per year) with a wide variety of recipes. Thick jam with around 56 Brix (around 800 tonnes per year) is also exported as a raw product for the confectionery sector, for example, in barrels and by the tonne in truckloads. "Before coronavirus, we also supplied numerous non-European markets such as the Middle East, Australia, the USA and India. Unfortunately, the pandemic coupled with the war in Ukraine was also a major setback for us. Nevertheless, we have been back on track for a good year now and have already been able to tap into some old and new markets."

The local variety Cacaks Fruchtbare (Rodna) is predominantly used for the plum jam. Due to late frost, early blossoming and hail, the total fruit yield in Serbia this year is up to 30 per cent below the previous year's level.

Challenges in the procurement of goods
According to Jovanovic, the consequences of climate change are also making themselves felt in fruit processing, especially in terms of procurement. "The weather fluctuations are causing us great concern. The Ivanjica region offers the best conditions for growing berries, both because of the good soil and the optimal microclimate, with cold nights and warm days. It is not for nothing that our fruit usually has quite high Brix values. This is now changing as we are sometimes confronted with tropical climate conditions. Another factor is the increase in costs: both our raspberries and our blackberries, for example, cannot be harvested by machine.

Although certain markets such as France, Great Britain and Scandinavia pay attractive prices, they are also comparatively more demanding in many facets of quality determination such as organoleptic properties, structure, colour, appearance, etc. So far, however, we have largely managed to pass on the additional costs," concludes Jovanovic.

Slobodan, Biljana and Mladomir Jovanovic

For more information:
Slobodan Jovanovic
Flora d.o.o.
SańĎavac bb
32250 Ivanjica
Tel: +381 32 660015
[email protected]

Co-operation partner:
Anevo Trading GmbH
D-91058 Erlangen
Anneliese Vollweiler
Phone: +49 (0)170 5817970

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