Wednesday, 5 July 2017
14th Sitting of the Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management Committee
At the sitting held on 5 July, the members of the Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management Committee reviewed the Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection Activity Information concerning agriculture for the first quarter of 2017, as well as the current agriculture, forestry and water management problems.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection Activity Information concerning agriculture for the first quarter of 2017 was presented by Nenad Katanic on the behalf of the Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection and Zarko Radat, head of the Directorate for Agrarian Payments.
Nenad Katanic presented the Ministry’s legislative activity in the first quarter - the adoption of one national strategy, two stimulation ordinances, four conclusions, 19 rulebooks and more than 90 different orders.
The head of the Directorate for Agrarian Payments Zarko Radat informed the Committee members about the payment of subsidies in the first quarter of 2017 and the current situation. Radat said that the Directorate accepted all the requests for breeding stock it could pay, and managed to pay all investment applications left over from 2016. In the first quarter the Directorate worked on the preparation of new measures, said Radat focusing on the Rulebook for the subsidized procurement of new tractors for which the Directorate had received 2,310 applications. In the first quarter the Directorate also prepared for the accreditation to use IPARD funds in the period 2014 – 2020. As regards the state-of-play, the Directorate had adopted most of the new rulebooks and accepted all applications which are currently being processed and resolved. So far, the Directorate had paid out 10 million RSD on 40,000 applications, and the deficit of funds for the subsidized procurement of tractors was resolved by re-allocation, said Radat.
In the ensuing discussion, the Committee members had questions concerning food control, lack of agricultural inspectors, payment of subsidies in the first quarter of 2017, poor water supply, use of water supply loans in Vojvodina, reasons why Serbia is not ready to open Chapter 12 due to lacking standards, possible purchase of ice breakers to preclude borrowing them in winter, forestry reports, reports on the elimination of swine plague and the Minister’s plans on the matter, the submission of reports to the Committee first and then to the European Commission, short-term sowing loans and who they are intended for, cooperatives, stimulation packages for young farmers, stimulation packages for organic production, databases on state-owned land and the lease of land, why the IPARD accreditation is late, etc.
The Committee members adopted a Conclusion stating that the Committee had received the Information, reviewed and adopted it, but is unable to adopt a Report to submit to the National Assembly due to the election of a new Government. The Conclusion also states that the Committee awaits the relevant Ministry’s report for the second quarter of 2017.
Discussing current agriculture, forestry and water management problems, the MPs focused on the problems in the relation between raspberry producers and buyers. The Committee Chairman proposed requesting from the Customs Directorate information on the import of raspberries from the neighbouring countries according to the CEFTA agreement and asking whether the import of cheaper raspberries undermines the price of the domestic product, as well as contacting the Commission for Protection of Competition. The Committee members also spoke about raspberry cultivars, large raspberry fields in Vojvodina, and the increase of volume at the expense of quality. They discussed subsidized production per region best suited for certain cultivars and anti-hail protection which will once again be the purview of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management.
Following the discussion the Committee concluded the following: the Committee should ask the Commission for Protection of Competition for an opinion on possible irregularities in the buy-out of raspberries and whether there was a market upset; the Government and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management should consider subsidies for several months of ice-storage of raspberries so that the raspberry farmers could wait for better market prices and improve the requirements for storage subsidies in certain parts of Serbia.
The sitting was chaired by Committee Chairman Marijan Risticevic.
The sitting was attended by the following Committee members and deputy members: Radovan Jancic, Dr Zarko Bogatinovic, Zvonimir Djokic, Arpad Fremond, Veroljub Matic, Marjana Maras, Nada Lazic, Milorad Mircic, Vladimir Djuric, Marko Gavrilovic, Tijana Davidovac, Dalibor Radicevic, Dragan Jovanovic, Prof. Dr Miladin Sevarlic and Miroslav Aleksic.
Committees related to this activity
9.00 - sitting of the Committee on the Economy, Regional Development, Trade, Tourism and Energy (National Assembly House, 13 Nikola Pasic Square, hall 2)
9.00 - sitting of the Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management Committee (National Assembly House, 13 Nikola Pasic Square, hall 4)
10.00 - sitting of the Committee on Finance, State Budget and Control of Public Spending (National Assembly House, 13 Nikola Pasic Square, Small Hall)
13.00 - sitting of the Committee on Constitutional and Legislative Issues (National Assembly House, 13 Nikola Pasic Square, hall 1)