Conference and Workshop Report



Conference and Workshop Report
“Empower the powerless - looking for opportunities to support
small-scale farmers in Serbia”
10-11th of March 2016, Belgrade, Serbia
Introduction and Foreword
CEEweb for Biodiversity, as a network of NGOs working on biodiversity policies in Central and
Eastern European countries for the past 20 years, has been involved in regional projects on
agriculture and rural development for more than a decade. Apart from revising the
implementation of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and its environmental impact in the
region, CEEweb also carried out projects with its non-EU members, which have to a great extent
been targeted at making small-scale family farmers and their related farming systems viable. The
latest of these projects aimed to transfer know-how and good practices from the Visegrad
countries to the small-scale farmers of Serbia.
Funded by the International Visegrad Fund, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of
Korea and the European Commission, the project comprised a number of conferences, training
events and fieldtrips. It was carried out in close partnership with CEEweb´s Serbian members
and partners, the Young Researchers of Serbia and EkoCentar, as well as with partners from the
Visegrad countries: Juniperia from Czech Republic, Daphne from Slovakia and Naturalist Club
from Poland.
The latest of the project activities was a conference and workshop event at the Guarnerius
Art Center and Belgrade, Serbia, on the 10th and 11th of March 2016. The aim of the
conference was to stimulate dialogue among different stakeholders on challenges and
opportunities for small-scale family farms in Serbia and to present the overall project
results, outcomes and good practice examples from Visegrad and neighbouring EU
countries. The conference gathered 71 participants from individual small-scale family
farmers to industry representatives, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), donors
and state authorities. A full list of participants can be found in Annex 1 of this report. The
conference was structured around six main parts: an introduction by the organisers,
keynote speeches by representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental
Protection and the Serbian Chamber of Commerce, a presentation of the findings from
the overall project, presentations of good practices from the Visegrad and neighbouring
EU countries and a panel discussion. The workshop centred around two parallel group
discussions on: legislation; donors; education and information; and partnership and
We are extremely grateful to our donors: the International Visegrad Fund, the Ministry
of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea and the European Commission, who sponsored
the event. A warm thank you must go to the presenters and panel speakers for sharing
their invaluable knowledge and experience at the event, and to all participants.
Day 1 – 10th of March
The first day of the conference was dedicated to presenting results of the project,
showcasing experiences from other countries, sharing donor’s opinions and activities and
discussing about needs and potentials of small-scale family farms in Serbia.
Session I Welcome by the organisers
Welcome speeches were given by Tanja
Petrovic – executive director of Young
Researchers of Serbia, Dejan Zagorac –
president of EkoCentar and Agnes
Zolyomi – secretary general of CEEweb
for Biodiversity.
Figure 1. Participants during the welcoming session
Speakers emphasized the importance of
cooperation among different sectors, the
values of knowledge transfer and the
willingness of civil society to stimulate
dialogue and to look for further
cooperation opportunities.
Session II Keynote speech
The keynote speakers for the second session of the conference were Mr. Dragan Mirkovic
from the Serbian Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection and Mr. Nenad
Budimovic from the Serbian Chamber of Commerce (link to presentation).
Key note speeches were highly stimulating and interesting for the audience and were
followed by a number of questions from the Serbian small-scale family farmers. Of special
interest was the speech of Mr. Mirkovic as he informed participants about a number of
activities that the Ministry is currently carrying out in order to support small-scale family
farms in Serbia.
Mrs. SUN Ju Yearn from the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in Serbia also participated
in the conference. Mrs. SUN Ju Yearn did not officially address the conference but she
has actively talked with the participants and congratulated organisers for the event.
Figure 2. Mr. Mirkovic of the Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection (left)
and Mr. Budimovic of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce (right) holding their keynote
speeches and answering questions during the first day of the conference
After the key note speeches, small-scale farmers who brought local food products for
exhibition during lunch briefly presented. The following family farms and associations of
farmers and producers were present: goat milk and cheese production farm “Carpe diem”;
bee keepers and producers of Tilia honey from Fruska Gora region; association
“Leksovacki ajvar”; organic family farm Dolovac; goat farm from Jazak; cabbage family
farm from Futog; association “Futoski kupus”; women association “Ruza” from Lebane –
production of ajvar, marmalade, tomatoes sauce and other typical products.
During the lunch break all participants at the conference had the opportunity to taste local
products and talk to producers. Farmers saw added value in the opportunity to present
their own products at the conference and they appreciated the experience exchange and
opinions from foreign experts.
Session III Findings from the International Visegrad Fund project
“Empower the powerless”
Tijana Ljubenovic from Young Researchers of Serbia (see presentation) and Dejan
Zagorac from EkoCentar presented on the project activities and results. They summarized
the result of each project activity, from the launching conference in Szeged to the training
sessions in Serbia and the fieldtrip in Slovakia and the Czech Republic. “Empower the
powerless” has provided valuable know-how for small-scale family farmers. Not only that
they were trained on how to become viable and competitive, but they also had the chance
to witness first-hand success stories and learnt from other farmers about their experience.
The two presenters stressed the importance of continuing the activities now that the
project is over and the fact that this event was a great opportunity to decide on a way
Session IV Making small-scale farming financially feasible. Case studies
from Visegrad and neighbouring EU states.
This session was evaluated as very useful for participants since all the cases presented are
stimulating and educative for Serbian farmers and organizations. The following cases
were presented:
Making small-scale farming financially feasible in Târnava Mare, Romania. Nat
Page, Fundaţia ADEPT (link to presentation)
Sustaining small-scale farming through community supported agriculture
schemes, Hungary. Peter Kajner, Szovet-Alliance for the Living Tisza (link to
Income diversification through rural ecotourism for small-scale family farmers,
Bulgaria. Mihaela Kircheva, Bulgarian Association for Alternative Tourism (link
to presentation)
Measuring, monitoring and adapting to the demands of the small-scale farming
sector, Czech Republic. Martin Strelec, JUNIPERIA (link to presentation)
Session V Financing small-scale farming in Serbia: donor’s perspectives
The aim of donors’ session was to see what are the ongoing and future possibilities for
small-scale farms in Serbia. Two speakers were presenting ongoing projects:
Nikola Djuric from the Federal German Enterprise – GIZ (link to presentation)
Branislav Milic, Rural and Regional Development Support to Serbia - NIRAS, a
project funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation – SDC
(link to presentation)
At the same time, some important funding opportunity for Serbian farmers in the form of
the Instrument of Pre-Accession in Agriculture and Rural Development
(IPARD) programme, was presented and explained on the beginning of the conference by
Mr. Mirkovic from the Serbian Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection. Mr.
Mirkovic also explained the possibility for NGOs and famer associations to get involved
in decision making processes related to planning and programming funding.
This section was particularly useful because a lot of misunderstandings about funding
were explained, small-scale farmers were accurately informed where and how to talk with
projects managers. Likewise, details were given on how donors are programming big
projects and how strict project activities and budget expenditures are. Mr. Djuric from
GIZ welcomed shared experience from Visegrad and EU countries and said that some of
the cases presented may be shared in ongoing GIZ project in Serbia.
Session VI What does Serbia need to boost small-scale farming?
discussion very motivating
speeches were given by
Mr. Slobodan Simic –
manager of spatial nature
reserve Zasavica, Mr.
presentation) and Mr.
Srdjan Nedeljkovic from
Nedeljkovic family farm.
Some of the conclusions of
the panel discussion are
that priorities for boosting
Figure 3. Panel discussion was the last session of the first day small-scale family farms
should be: diversification
of activities on farms; change in the way of farmers think (long-term, integrated thinking,
based on association and cooperation); programmes to foster change in demography
dynamics (less migration to the urban centres); better education; plans designed at family
farm level and supported by the government.
The panel discussion was the last session of the first conference day. The second day of
the conference was more interactive as participants were working in two parallel groups,
discussing different aspects of “Challenges and solutions for boosting small-scale farming
in Serbia”.
Day 2 – 11th of March
The second day of the event
was dedicated to running two
workshops, in which smallscale farmers and other
stakeholders to discuss on the
challenges and opportunities
for the small-scale farming
sector in Serbia. The main
topics brought into discussion
in this regard were: donors;
information; legislation;
Figure 4. Participants discussing in groups during the
workshop sessions
Some of the questions discussed were: Who can be the potential donors for small-scale
family farms? What are the most appropriate ways of funding small farms (projects,
subsidies, direct donations, credits)? What are the problems in fundraising and how to
solve them?
Education and information
Some of the questions discussed were: what kind of capacity building programmes are
needed? Who and in which form should provide capacity building? What are the most
efficient resources of information for small-scale family farmers? Do you have a website
and/or are you active on social media, etc.? Do you regularly visit some websites, social
media pages, etc.? In which way should institutions provide information (e.g. Ministry of
Agriculture and Environmental Protection)?
Conclusions: potential donors are municipalities (agricultural funds), provincial and state
institutions (Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection, Ministry of Tourism,
Ministry of Culture), international funds (IPARD, EU, NGOs, development agencies).
Although there are over 25,000 associations in Serbia there are numerous problems: lack
of interest for cooperation, lack of trust among farmers, insufficient education of farmers,
need of trainings etc. One solution would be to establish farmer associations and to make
farmers understand joint interests.
There are educational events organized every year (e.g. winter schools) but more training
is needed. Municipal agricultural services are recognized as the most appropriate
information providers. Methods for information exchange should be chosen depending
on the region, in most villages internet is not used. Discontinuity in networking is seen as
a problem.
Some of the questions discussed were: What are the problems in law implementation? Do
farmers participate in the decision making processes (public consultations related to law,
strategies etc)? What should be changed? Do EU policies have a significant and positive
impact on Serbian legislation?
Partnership and cooperation
Some of the questions discussed were: Which institutions/organisations can be good
partners? What are the preferred forms of partnership (official, unofficial, long-lasting,
ad hoc)?
Figure 5. Partnership and cooperation was a topic of much
debate during the workshop
There are number of
laws are implemented in a
way that prioritize big
(agricultural centres, big
farms). Every year new
rulebooks are produced
and they are often not in
regulations. This brings
discontinuity and a lot of
problems in planning
among farmers.
Legislation is either too
strict (e.g. when establishing wine production) or too paperwork demanding, with unclear
procedures. The roots of problems are in lack of communication and contact between
administration and farmers. Decision making is mostly done in Belgrade and local
governments have limited possibility to influence the process. The Ministries should
make more consultations with farmer associations and NGOs.
EU policies do not bring a lot of benefits because EU directives are not efficiently
transposed into the Serbian legislation and implementation is weak. The most important
cooperation should be with the Ministry of Agriculture and other ministries. There is a
good cooperation with universities, with some municipalities, with the chamber of
commerce etc. Legislation should be modified in a way that small-scale family farms
become legal entities. At the moment they are forced to do lot activities and provide
services on the black market and often even state institutions do not have answers on how
the small-scale farms should operate.
The workshop ended with a wrap-up/conclusion session and an overall evaluation of the
event to be used for further planning.
List of Participants
Aleksandar Stepanić
Bojan Milovanović
Poljoprivredno gazdinstvo i Mlekara Carpe Diem
GM Optimist
Branka Gagić
Bratislav Poprašić
Dejan Zagorac
Dijana Dijanović
Đorđe Mrkić
Dragoslava Đokić
Dušan R. Ivanović
Emina Milenović
Gordana Brun
Gorica Jovanović
Gospava Marković
Ivan Stanojević
Ivan Zafirović
Jelena Bjegović
Privredna komora Srbije
Udruženje “Kruševački ekološki centar”
Eko centar
Regionalna privredna komora Zaječar
Društvo pčelara”Jovan Živanović” Novi Sad
Udruženje poslovnih žena Timočke krajine
Ekološko društvo Dragačevo
Seosko- turisticko domacinstvo
Udruženje "Škola za opstanak"
Seosko turisticko domacinstvo Jovanovic
Poljoprivredno gazdinstvo Ćulum
Grupa Kobra
JP Direkcija za izgradnju i uređenje Pančeva
Eko centar
Jelena Marić
Jeroen Arends
Ljiljana Paušić Mojić
Marija Luković Sredić
Mihajlo Stanković
Milan Badivuk
Milenko Dolovac
Milka Gvozdenović
Miodrag Čupić
Nenad Budimović
Nevena Stošić
Ognjen Delić
Olgica Nestorović
Pavle Pavlovic
Predrag Mišić
Radomir Biočanin
Akademik prof. dr
Poljoprivredno gazdinstvo i Mlekara Carpe Diem
farma koza i mlekara Jazak
Poljoprivredno turističko domaćinstvo Gostoljublje
Pokret gorana Sremska Mitrovica
Regionalna privredna komora Zaječar
PG Dolovac
Mladi istraživači Srbije
Društvo pčelara”Jovan Živanović” Novi Sad
Privredna komora Srbije
Udruženje žena RUŽA Lebane
Udruženje pčelara “Lipa”
Udruženje “Zeleni Kopaonik”
Ekoloski pokret Ibar Kraljevo
Udruženja domaćina Tršić
Udruženje „Kruševački ekološki centar”, Državni univerzitet u
Novom Pazaru
Slavica Stevanetić
Slobodan Dimitrijević
Slobodan Simić
Slobodanka Pavlović
Snežana Ognjenović
Srđan Nedeljković
Stela Strsoglavec
Stevan Novaković
SUN Ju Yearn
Tanja Petrović
Tatjana Beuk Pirušić
Tijana Ljubenović
Vesna Jogrić
Željko Sredić
Zoran Milenović
Stevica Marković
Privredna komora Srbije
Grupa Kobra
Pokret gorana Sremska Mitrovica
Udruženje žena RUŽA Lebane
Organska bašta
Poljoprivredno gazdinstvo Nedeljković
Educa Humana
Udruženja domaćina Tršić
Ambasada Republike Koreje u Srbiji
Mladi istraživači Srbije
Privredna komora Srbije
Mladi istraživači Srbije
Turističko domaćinstvo "Seoska kuća"
Udruženje Vesnik Kosjerić
Seosko- turisticko domacinstvo
Leskovački ajvar
Biagio Carrano
Slow Food Belgrade
Snezana Milisavljevic
Zlatibor Regional Development Agency
Danijela Jandric
Zlatibor Regional Development Agency
Goran Puača
Udruženje Futoški kupus
Agnes Zolyomi
CEEweb for Biodiversity
Eva Lukonits
CEEweb for Biodiversity
Angela Lomba
Cordula Mertens
Mihaela Mihai
University of Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences, Cluj
Gjoko Zoroski
Ecologists Movement of Macedonia
Valentin Mihai
University of Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences, Cluj
Juljia Petrosiute
Lithuanian Fund for Nature
Silvia Lotman
Estonian Fund for Nature
Gerassimos Arapis
University of Agriculture, Athens
Natasa Bokan
University of Zagreb
Nat Page
Fundatia ADEPT
Martin Strelec
Peter Kajner
Alliance for Tisza
Mihaela Kircheva
Bulgarian Association for Alternative Tourism
The event was financially supported by the International Visegrad Fund,
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of
the Republic of Korea and the European Commission.