Serbia - Policy support to HNV farming
The dominant form of agriculture policy support is production subsidies to intensive agriculture. The scope of support and budgets are changing frequently which makes it difficult for planning even for the biggest producers. In Serbia, as in most of the other SEE countries, there is no targeted national support for HNV farming. However, two indirect measures are also applied here and had an important role for the maintenance of traditional practices in the HNV farming areas.
Support to autochthonous breeds of farm animals is provided in the period 2004-2010. There is a headage payment to a wide range of domestic breeds - hens, goats, sheep, pigs, donkeys, ponies, buffalos and cattle, for above a minimum number of adult animals. Its basic requirement is that both farmers and animals have to be registered in the respective official registers. Despite the very limited budget of around 150 000 Euro annually, the number of animals increased steadily for the 7-year period of implementation. The main problem was that the budget was fluctuating annually, and in 2011, there was no budget for it.
Support is also provided to organic agriculture, including organic grasslands in rotation and livestock since 2005. In 2009, there were above 2 000 ha of grasslands in conversion. Organic management of pastures is not directly supported. Farmers have to be registered and have a contact with an approved controlling body. They have to continue the organic management three years after the support is received. The beneficiaries are excluded from the other governmental subsidies (including the one for conservation of endangered local breeds).
A pilot measure for the maintenance of highland pastures and grazing practices is introduced with GEF/World Bank funding in the region of Western Balkan Nature Park. A grant for grasslands management was offered to animal owners to a maximum amount of 5 000 euro. The key condition was that the owners’ flocks had to spend minimum 90 days on the pasture. Eligible costs included shepherd salary, transport costs, costs for food, clothes and shoes for shepherds as well as camp equipment and milk equipment costs. As a result of the pilot scheme around 400 LU of cattle, horses, sheep and goats grazed at 5 different locations on a total 2250 ha of upland grasslands.