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South-East Europe Forum:

'South-Eastern Europe needs to cooperate to reach full market potential'

The first ever South-East Europe Forum kicked off on Tuesday in Belgrade, Serbia, followed by a Delegate tour on Wednesday. 

Please click here to view photos of South-East Europe Forum.

As many in the fruit and vegetable industry are likely aware, South Eastern Europe is seeing a lot of growth in the past few years, with a potential supply base, and many market opportunities. It is also strategically positioned as a gateway to the east from Europe.

The event was opened by Branislav Nedimovic, the Minister of Agriculture and environmental protection for Serbia, who stressed that the government is dedicated to adding value to the market and help create new opportunities. However, speakers at the event stressed that creating a stronger market position is not just up to the government, the industry needs to band together to become stronger. One important way that many felt they could become stronger is by forming cooperatives, in order to successfully fill the requests of the new and demanding markets they are trying to enter.

The different themes discussion topics touched on by speakers during the event were, 'Setting the scene:current landscapes and 2020', 'Emerging potential: new sources of fresh produce in South-East Europe', 'Driving productivity: practical methods for securing growth', in addition to a presentation about Delhaize and the Serbian market. These topics will be further expanded on by Freshplaza in coming editions.

The second day of the event gave delegates the opportunity to tour Delta Agrar, one of the largest apple orchards in Serbia. Visitors were able to get insight into the entire process, from the orchard, to sorting, storage, packaging and distribution.

Click here to view the tour.

After lunch, delegates were taken to Tempo, part of the Delhaize Group, where they were met by Ivan Beloica who was available to answer any questions they had. It was often a great opportunity to see what is offered in supermarkets in Serbia and witness some of the newest trends on the shelves.

After being able to see their cherry tomatoes in the packaging, the tour concluded with a visit to the facilities of Serbian tomato grower Aleksander Jankovic from Sagar. Despite it being the end of the tomato season, they were able to view a few of the remaining plants from this season and learn more in detail about the growing process.