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Spring planting gets under way in Serbia, with help from the EU, FAO

Just in time for spring sowing season, FAO delivered over 67 tonnes of maize, alfalfa and red clover seed to more than 4 500 farmers in 17 municipalities in eastern, central and western Serbia. Farmers received seeds and fertilizer during March and April and immediately got down to business – sowing crops without having to worry about how to finance the planting.

Crop production is the main agricultural activity for the majority of small farm households. Serbian farmers grow cereal and fodder crops, which are a very important source of animal feed and income.

Seeds were procured by FAO using European Union funds allocated for support to municipalities that suffered damages in the 2014 floods. The European Union assistance to flood relief in Serbia program, worth 92 million euros, is funded by the EU under the pre-accession funds IPA 2012 and IPA 2014, of which 9,5 million is allocated for support of small, family owned farms that suffered flood damage.

Options
This spring, vulnerable households could opt for sowing packages consisting of maize, alfalfa or clover seed. All seed packages came with 400 kilos of NPK mineral fertilizer. By mid-April, 1 802 tonnes of fertilizer had reached the farms.

Most households (3 299) chose maize seed and fertilizer. With each farm household receiving 2 sowing units (50 000 maize seeds), close to 43 tonnes of maize seed were distributed.

Other farms (950) received alfalfa seed and fertilizer. With each farm receiving 20 kilos of alfalfa seed, a total of 19 tonnes were delivered.

A total of 257 farmers received red clover seed and fertilizer – 20 kilos each, more than 5 tonnes in all.

Logistics
More than 80 truck-trailers were used to transport the seeds and fertilizer from local vendors to distribution points in the municipalities. In cooperation with local governments, the goods were distributed to beneficiaries in time for spring sowing on more than 4 500 hectares of land.

Since the programme’s beginning in August 2014, more than 30 800 small farms in Serbia have benefitted from the European Union and FAO assistance, with FAO procuring and distributing 2 769 tonnes of seed and more than 7 500 tonnes of fertilizer, 1 800 tonnes of animal feed, 856 greenhouses, 1 450 head of livestock and more than 2 million fruit seedlings, as well as 956 beehives and 460 pieces of farm equipment. By the end of the programme, it is expected that a total of 34 556 small farm households (about 140 000 people) in 41 municipalities will have been reached.

European Union assistance to flood relief in Serbia program, worth 92 million euros, is funded by the European Union under the pre-accession funds IPA 2012 and 2014. The funds will be used for construction of new houses, rehabilitation of public buildings and infrastructure, private houses and roads and recovery of economy and agriculture in municipalities most affected with floods. All activities in the field are implemented by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), organisations HELP and ABS and Danish Refugee Council (DRC), Austrian Development Agency (ADA) and World Bank – in coordination with Government of Serbia Public Investments Management Office.

12 May 2016, Belgrade, Serbia

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