Back in the Serbian capital for its fifth edition, Agro Belgrade has become a leading exhibition for the south-east Europe region, as production in Serbia and the surrounding countries continues to expand.
“Serbia is already a significant exporter in many categories,” said Vladimir Zivanovic, director of Agro Belgrade. “It was the world’s largest exporter of frozen raspberries and blackberries in 2022. We also have some of the biggest producers of apples in south-east Europe, with a volume of 500,000 tonnes grown in modern production orchards, and blueberries are coming up strongly.
“Serbia is the leading regional producers of gherkins, with thousands of farmers organised in cooperatives to deliver premium quality products to European markets. North Macedonia, Albania and Serbia are among the biggest producers of sweet peppers, cabbages, tomatoes and potatoes in this part of Europe. Serbia is the fourth largest producer of plums in the world and the largest producer of quince in Europe. In recent years, Serbian growers have cultivated over 3,000ha in modern blueberry orchards.”
What’s still lacking, according to Zivanovic, is better market integration. “The region is still relatively unintegrated with the market logistics of the EU,” he said. “Historically, countries in this region were largely tied to local markets or exports for one single market such as Russia. It’s time to show the quality of our products to customers from the EU and the UK in a more organised manner, so we invite them to participate in our B2B Zone, which will be held at the fair on 26 January. Firms and producers often lack familiarity with market trends, standards, financing methods, and other essential topics, so we are trying to convey as much knowledge to growers as possible during the three-day conference programme.”
Zivanovic identifies Serbia’s well preserved soil and sunny, temperate climate as key to the quality of the country’s fresh produce. “Serbian produce is renowned globally for its sweetness, juiciness and distinctive flavours,” he said. “The fruit and vegetables sector is characterised by proficient entrepreneurs with state-of-the-art orchards and processing facilities, successfully supplying world markets. The best way to meet them in just three days is Agro Belgrade.”
The fair and conference have been taking place annually since 2020. Every year, the event gathers approximately 500 exhibitors and more than 25,000 visitors.