Why Food in Serbia Can Not Be Cheaper

Minister Dusan Petrovic
Why food in Serbia can not be cheaper

Registered farms and small businesses are provided the cheapest loans to five million dinars for three years, with a constant interest rate of eight percent, says Minister Dusan Petrovic.

Agriculture currently has a much better chance to earn more than it had before 14-15 months. Serbia has a great opportunity. In our country, two million people engaged in agriculture, 700,000. families. Half only doing that, and half with some other activity. When two million people producing food in a country such as Serbia, any agricultural policy always has a component of social policy.

Large dust is picked up in recent days about a loan of wheat from state stockpiles “Srbijagas”. Do you think is normal that the state makes such arrangements?

Stockpiles have the practice to borrow goods with which they operate, which has economic justification for the disposal of the goods – wheat, corn, petroleum products, and more – they pay the storage area. Stockpiles have very little of its storage capacity, especially when it comes to grains. So stockpiles from its inception to the present day, including work by making a certain amount, in the case of wheat, and lend a certain period after the expiration of those goods they be returned. I also know what it is that commodity reserves for such work always obtain the law by any collateral, primarily bank guarantee. So, I think that the state interest is not compromised.

There lies the possibility of manipulation, the goods when he borrowed a higher price when the lower back. Second, not everyone can to borrow, which creates a basis for the suspicion of corruption.

For the three and a half months I met with some problematic issues in this area. Like all government institutions where the founder, the work of Commodity Reserves everyone is completely on insight. However, there is a certain confidential information about one part of the business, but it is of course controlled by the government.

When it comes to work with Fertilizer Plant, no it was not unnatural situation because the Department reserves make it possible to give the fertilizer a little more favorable conditions for agricultural producers. Of course, they should not say – anyone who violated the law should respond, but it did not work the Ministry of Agriculture.

It sounds good, but it is known that the level of corruption in Serbia is very high and it was a so-called systemic corruption. Is it possible, regardless of what you have here three and a half months, that is not only in agriculture?

Corruption is a matter of the prosecution and the court. As for this ministry, I can say that we would in any case where there are indications that there has been corruption authorities to submit all the documentation you are looking for. But we are not dealing with corruption, knows who is responsible for it, and the best is when everyone is doing their job, not when everyone is doing someone else’s job.

Why wasn’t this year tenders for fertilizer? You know that there were many complaints, because Victoria has taken the lion’s share of cake?

This year it was decided that a slightly different way the distribution of the agricultural budget, or to put much more emphasis on loans to agricultural producers. We have opened a space that, in addition to registered farms, can take credit and agricultural entrepreneurs and small businesses. These are loans in dinars, up to five million in three years, with a constant interest rate of eight percent. These are the cheapest loans in the market that exists today in Serbia.

Many small businesses have complained and argued that tenders are actually creating a monopoly and raise the price of fertilizer above the market.

This is completely untrue. I can go into the details of processes and procedures which were carried out, it simply has not topical, but I saw that someone challenged the legality of those procedures. Also, I think that the price of fertilizer was lower than that of the measure was not carried out and would like to see the arguments for the opposite view.

Do you think it would remit to the pension fund should be the criteria for getting subsidies?

It is not possible to be in a different way to carry out this measure, the amount of money that is available in the budget. If they were all registered farms is a possibility to receive a subsidy of 14,000 dinars to five acres of land, not to pay the Pension Fund, the cost would amount to 14 billion dinars, and the entire agricultural budget is 20 billion.

But why subsidies must be 140 euros, let it be lower but to be for all.

It was not possible in the midst of so much change in agricultural policy. We had big problems to step in the direction we are taking. Creating space for subsidized loans of 2.7 billion made it a storm because it was necessary to make some kind of redistribution of funds for subsidies.

The measure, 14,000 dinars per hectare last year cost over 12 billion budget. The idea of ​​agricultural credit, in fact, to triple its agricultural budget. He is 20 billion, with $ 2.7 billion of loans we generate banking capital, which can reach as much as 40 billion.

We shall see, of course, how will it look in the economy. Started a few days ago and first results are encouraging. Enter into such a dramatic change in agricultural policy in the middle of the year, more dramatic than the ones we have conducted, is simply not possible and it was not sustainable. You saw what was the reaction of farmers and to such changes.

Source: NoviMagazin

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