Monday, 21 December 2015

43rd Sitting of the Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management Committee

At the sitting held on 21 December, the members of the Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management Committee deliberated on the Bill amending and modifying the Law on Agricultural Land, in principle.

Acting Assistant Minister of Agriculture and Environmental Protection Mladen Mladenovic provided the rationale on the Bill, saying that the groundwork for the drafting of the Bill was provided by the Agricultural Land Directorate due to the problems noted in the implementation of the existing Law, and adding that the Bill was drafted with the broadest consensus of all the relevant factors.

The three key reasons for the adoption of the Bill are usurpation of agricultural land and the high percentage of unfarmed state-owned agricultural land, increased investments and the strengthening of small agricultural producers, said Mladenovic. He added that the Bill defines heretofore undefined terms and is expected to, among other things, result in a decrease in the usurpation of unfarmed agricultural land.

In the debate on the Bill the MPs broached the subject of sale of state-owned land, criticised the time the Committee was convened, insisted that the Minister should attend the Committee sittings, and some urged that the Bill be withdrawn from procedure. They also discussed objections to some of the provisions of the Bill and announced amendments to improve them. They commended the provisions concerning livestock breeding, introduction of crop rotation and the 30-year lease of land, less possibility for corruption, etc.

After the debate the Committee members adopted the Bill amending and modifying the Law on Agricultural Land, in principle, by majority vote.

The Committee then proceeded to review the current situation concerning import levies. The representatives of the milk producers’ associations thanked the Committee for its support during the cattle production problems and the trade war between Europe and Russia, when the price of dairy products suffered under surpluses and import levies had to be introduced. This protective measure will expire by the end of the year and the associations are appealing to the authorities to extend and expand it for the purpose of maintaining cattle production.

Following a debate the Committee unanimously accepted a number of conclusions.

The sitting was attended by Committee members and deputy members Djordje Stojsic, Dejan Nekartijevic, Milan Kovacevic, Miodrag Nikolic, Arpad Fremond, Milan Latkovic, Zarko Bogatinovic, Velimir Stanojevic, Zoran Antic, Goran Ciric and Milija Miletic.

The sitting was chaired by Committee Chairman Marijan Risticevic.

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