WASHINGTON, December 3, 2019 – Serbian farmers on small and medium-sized farms will improve their competitiveness with support from a US$ 50 million loan approved today by the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors. This financing will support the government’s efforts to improve agri-food market linkages of targeted beneficiaries.
Through productive investments for eligible small and medium scale producers and strengthening public information systems of the agricultural sector, the project aims at increasing sector competitiveness, while providing economic opportunities in rural areas, as the country moves closer to EU membership.
“Agriculture plays an important role in the economy of Serbia,” says Stephen Ndegwa, World Bank Country Manager in Serbia. “As Serbia seeks to modernize its agriculture sector and to align with the EU acquis, the effectiveness of public spending and service delivery is becoming a critical policy issue. This project aims at helping the Government of Serbia in redirecting resources from subsidies towards rural development investments and targeting the small and medium producers of Serbia, especially in the South and Southeast of the country.”
The project will promote the use of agricultural advisory and business development services for producers on small and medium farms who are interested in and eligible for matching rural development to support them in improving efficiency, market entry, easier access to commercial loans, and greater resilience to risks.
The project will also support the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management to streamline its open data capabilities through the upgrade and modernization of existing information systems and their integration into an open data platform that will benefit agricultural producers in Serbia and provide access to agroclimatic and market information.