EU and FAO extending help to agriculture sector in eastern Serbia

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Agricultural producers in seven municipalties of eastern Serbia will receive help in the coming months from the European Union – working in partnership with FAO – as part of the EU’s overall flood recovery programme for the country. A day-long workshop taking place here today will review the first phase of the programme’s assistance to agriculture and describe next steps.

Eastern Serbia is home to some of the country’s least developed areas, and many farms there suffered damage from landslides and silting following the 2014 spring floods.

Support valued at 1.5 million euros for eastern Serbia, from 2014 Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA) funds, will take the form of spring crop seeds, fertilizer, fruit seedlings, and greenhouses. Targeted municipalities are Majdanpek, Kladovo, Zajecar, Negotin, Svrljig, Boljevac, and Knjazevac.

As a result of careful procurement planning and favourable exchange rates, FAO achieved savings with the funds initiallly awarded to it by the EU for flood recovery work in Serbia, from 2012 IPA funds. This enables help to be extended in 2016 to four additional municipalities (Vladimirci, Mionica, Despotovac and Bogatic), as well as additional assistance for six municipalities in western and central Central Serbia (Ljig, Gornji Milanovac, Lučani , Smederevo, Petrovac na Mlavi and Cuprija).

EU-FAO assistance to agricultural producers in 2016 will reach farmers in 17 municipalities, with more than 8,000 producers expected to receive assistance packages. Deliveries will begin in March, with spring crop and fertilizer assistance packages.

Current activities of FAO in the implementation of “EU Assistance for Flood Relief in Serbia” programme have yielded the following result: 26,387 small, agricultural households in 30 Serbian municipalities received assistance packages and it is estimated that over 108,000 people participated in EU assistance programme (family members of direct beneficiaries included).

This result will also be presented on today’s conference which will bring together up to 120 people – representatives of local governments, the Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection, the Delegation of the European Union in Serbia, and other international organization. The goal is to present current activities and future plans for EU-FAO support to flood-affected agricultural households, allow local governments involved in the programme to exchange experiences, and elaborate best practices for future work.

Scheduled speakers include: Minister of Agriculture and Environmental Protection Snezana Bogosavljević Boskovic, Head of the EU Delegation to Serbia Michael Davenport, Head of Public Investment Management Office Marko Blagojevic, and FAO Field Programme Officer Gerold Boedeker.

European Union assistance to flood relief in Serbia program, worth million euros, is funded by the European Union under the pre-accession funds IPA 2012 and 2014. The funds will be used for construction of new houses, rehabilitation of public buildings and infrastructure, private houses and roads and recovery of economy and agriculture in municipalities most affected with floods. All activities in the field are implemented by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), organisations HELP and ABS and Danish Refugee Council (DRC), Austrian Development Agency (ADA) and World Bank – in coordination with Government of Serbia Public Investments Management Office.

17 February 2016, Belgrade, Serbia