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Serbian agriculture learning to adapt to climate change

Adapting to climate change and reducing the risk of disaster are topics of intense interest for anyone involved in agriculture in Serbia. In cooperation with the European Union, Serbia’s Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection and local self-governments, FAO ran two training workshops on these issues earlier this month.

Participants in the two- and three-day workshops – held in Nis and Banja Koviljaca – came from agriculture extension offices, the Ministry, and local self-governments. All told, there were 50 participants from 42 municipalities in central, western and eastern Serbia.

The goals of the workshops were to become familiar with the key terms and concepts related to climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction, to improve awareness of climate change and disaster impacts on agriculture in Serbia, and to gain knowledge of the institutional requirements and available agricultural practices in the country. Participants also reflected on strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to introducing these measures at the municipal level.

“Agriculture is one of the key economic sectors in the country and rural livelihoods are affected by the impact of natural hazards,” said FAO climate change specialist Olga Buto, who lectured at the workshops. “Preparedness and climate change adaptation measures are necessary to make farmers more resilient to extreme climate events.”

In Serbia, drought, extreme rainfall and floods like those in 2014 influence agriculture on a large scale. Among other topics, workshop participants discussed and tested tools for community-based climate change adaptation, planning and implementation.

At both workshops, Željko Radošević, State Secretary with the Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection, provided opening remarks on behalf of the national government. . FAO climate change officer Nina Koeksalan delivered the training.

The workshops were the latest step in implementation of the EU programme of support to agriculture in Serbia within the “EU assistance for Flood Relief in Serbia” programme. To date, the EU has allocated Euro 9.5 million to support vulnerable agricultural households that suffered damage in the 2014 floods. More than 34,000 farmers have received agricultural support packages (seeds, fertilizer, animal feed, greenhouses, and seedlings). The programme of assistance is implemented in cooperation with Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection, Public Investment Management Office and local self-governments.

23 May 2016, Belgrade, Serbia

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 IPA 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), organizations HELP and ABS and Danish Refugee Council (DRC), Austrian Development Agency (ADA) and World Bank – in coordination with Government of Serbia Public Investment Management Office.

The information and views set out in this document are those of the FAO and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of the European Union.

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