Global Partnership Initiative for Plant Breeding Capacity Building

Plant breeding programs in Serbia

Serbia is at the crossroads between Central-Southern and eastern Europe, between the Balkan peninsula and the Pannonian Plain. The break-up of the former YugoslaviaSerbia_Map negatively impacted Serbian agriculture in the early 1990s and continued to have adverse effects throughout the decade (1990-2000). Serbia therefore has an economy based mostly on various services, which account for about 63% of the GDP, while the agricultural sector accounts only for 12.3%. The most widely grown field crop in Serbia is maize, followed by wheat, sunflower, soybean, sugar beet, and vegetable and forage crops.

 Plant breeding started in Serbia over 70 years ago when the first state-owned institutes and faculties were founded. The long tradition of this activity in the country is evidenced by the large number of plant varieties and hybrids that have been developed and released. Plant breeding in Serbia is today carried out mostly by stand-alone, government-owned institutes and by institutes that are part (subdivisions) of the various faculties of agriculture and universities in the country.

 Wheat, maize and soybean are the main crops covered by Serbian plant breeding activities. Their breeding programs are well-designed and mostly geared towards increased plant productivity, quality, adaptability, resistance to biotic and abiotic factors, and (in the case of maize and sunflower) resistance to certain specific herbicide groups. An important part of these programs is the development of plant varieties and hybrids for special purposes.

 The number of researchers involved in Serbian plant breeding programs seems to be adequate and sufficient to meet agricultural needs and requirements at the national level. However, this is not the case for the financial status. The funds provided to the institutes by the government are not sufficient to support intensive, top quality plant breeding programs. Because of this, the institutes have been forced to supplement their budgets by selling their proprietary seeds and services.


Research and education institutes with activities in plant breeding

Public Institutes


Institute of Field and Vegetable Crops of Novi Sad (IFVC)

Website available in English, Serbian or Russian

IFVC in Novi Sad is the largest plant breeding organization not only in Serbia but in the entire Balkan region as well. The IFVC was founded in 1938 by the then Yugoslav government. Today, the majority owner of the IFVC is the Serbian government, specifically the Ministry of Science and Technological Development, although more than 95% of the Institute’s annual income comes not from government funding but from actual earnings on the market (seed sales, etc.). The most IFVC resources, both human and financial, are devoted to maize, sunflower, wheat, soybean, and sugar beet. Resources for the other crop species are more modest. Biotechnology activities are carried out for some species.


Maize Research Institute (MRI)
Website available in English or Serbian

MRI was founded in the 1940s and belongs to the Serbian government (the Ministry of Science and Technological Development). The MRI has the necessary equipment and personnel to carry out the testing of maize grain quality and does a lot of work on developing technologies for obtaining high-quality final products out of maize grain.



Fruit Research Institute
Website available in English or Serbian

FRI in Čačak was founded in 1948 and has since become an important and well-known national research organization in the field of fruit growing. The FRI belongs to the Serbian government, specifically the Ministry of Science and Technological Development, but it earns over 70% of its annual income independently, through the sale of planting material and expert services and through royalties. The Institute has been working on the use of new biotechnology methods in fruit breeding from the very start. The FRI breeding program covers a great number of fruit species, most importantly plum and, as of more recently, raspberry.


Institute for Fruit and Vine Growing (IFVG) of the Faculty of Agriculture (University of Novi Sad)
Website available in Russian or Serbian

The Institute was founded in 1948 as an independent research institution. In 1975, it was integrated into the Faculty of Agriculture of the University of Novi Sad. Each researcher in IFVG does not only breeding and educational work, but also research in the field of biotechnology as well. The IFVG does the most breeding work on vine crops, followed by walnut, apple, pear, apricot, sweet cherry, sour cherry, and hazelnut. The IFVG breeding program focuses the most on germplasm enhancement (40%), while line development and line evaluation receive approximately the same amount of attention (30%).


Serbian Association of Plant Breeders & Seed Producers
Website available in English or Serbian

The Association has as its goal to organize and coordinate activities of its members with the aim of furthering their scientific and technical work in the fields of breeding, production and marketing of seeds and seedlings of crops. The Association considers and provides expert opinion on important issues of joint interest that are important for the development of education, research, organizing market conditions and legislation in the fields of plant breeding, seed production and sales. In addition, the Association initiates and develops solutions for the most important current problems in plant breeding, seed production and sales.


Small Grains Center (SGC)
No Website Available

At 90 years of age, the SGC in Kragujevac is the oldest research institution in the field of agriculture in Serbia. Unfortunately, it has never reached the status of a leading research organization on the national level. Breeding programmes in SGC focus on wheat and barley. The Center started conducting biotechnology research in 1985.


Information by Dr Borislav Kobiljski and Dragan Škorić (2008). - Information based on the Serbia's full report from the PBBC survey. Last revised 17-06-2010, GIPB.