Organization and structure of the organic sector
All parts of the organic chain are present but not connected; therefore the sector is completely unorganized, which causes a lack of coordination and cooperation among different projects, activities, and stakeholders. The donors are not interested in supporting organization of the organic sector. The farmers’ associations that exist are focused on production and are not strong enough to organize or promote the organic sector. The main actors are therefore companies that do not have an interest in organizing the sector.
Supporting structures: Research, education, extension
Only one scientific project, financed by the Ministry of Science, was implemented in 20002003 by the Agriculture Faculty. The main outputs were the organic conference held in 2003 and a book printed in 2005. There are no serious field research projects.
Organic production is not part of the educational system. The Ministry is a partner in the regional organic project implemented by IAM Bari. Its main outputs are a number of experts who visited the Institute in Bari and the development of an integrated protection program for fruits and vegetables. Different foreign projects are focusing on farmer education. Most of them just present organic principles. The Ministry is supporting the education of farmers, and in 2006 three short-term educational projects were approved by the Ministry.
Local stakeholders have a low knowledge of organic agriculture. The extension service is based on old methods and is not functional. There is a plan for reconstruction of the extension service. At the moment, all persons, companies, institutes, faculties, and NGOs that can prove that they have passed good training for organic agriculture can be advisors and are on the Ministry’s list of advisors.
annex 2: caSe StudieS
In the early development of organic production in Serbia the main actors were companies, traders and investors; they made organic take off and increase.
The negative consequences of this are that that the organic sector is not organized, the domestic market does not yet exist, and the level of organic knowledge is low. Organic production is the privilege of economically strong companies, and the benefits of organic are not available for small farmers.
The development of the domestic market is weak because of lack of organization of the production, lack of promotion, and weak exposure in the media. Other obstacles are the absence of standards and successful certification organizations, and the lack of advisory service.
It is necessary to increase local stakeholders’ organizational capacities related to the marketing approach.
The main task in the near future is to merge all local actors into one cooperative chain and to create institutional conditions for the further development of organic agriculture.
A common organic label, transparent work on certification (a list of allowed inputs), transparent companies and certifiers, and strong promotion would favor domestic market development.
Government initiatives to support organic agriculture need involvement of stakeholders to be successful.
An action plan for organic agriculture would benefit its development.
(Author: Senad Hopic)
Organic Case Studies in Serbia
Early Development of Organic in Serbia
Early Market Development for Organic in Serbia
Regulatory Framework for Organic in Serbia
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