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

Just in time for spring sowing season, FAO delivered over 67 t of maize, alfalfa & red clover seed to more than 4500 farmers in 17 municipalities in Serbia

Belgrade -  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 transported the seeds and fertilizer from local vendors to distribution points in the  municipalities. In  cooperation  with  local  governments,  the  seeds  and fertilizer were distributed to beneficiaries in time for spring sowing on more than 4,500 hectares of land.  

From the beginning of the program of support to flood affected areas, in August 2014 up to now, 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 tons of animal feed, 856 greenhouses, 1,450 livestock and more than 2,000,000 fruit seedlings, as well as 956 beehives and 460 farming equipment.  By the end of the program, it is expected that a total of 34 556 small farm households (about 140 000 people) in 41 municipalities will have been reached.

Written by
Author
Lea Plantek
Communication Specialist, Europe and Central Asia
FAO
Lea Plantek
UN entities involved in this initiative
FAO
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations