COLLECTION OF WILD PLANT AND ANIMAL SPECIES AS A FACTOR OF RURAL DEVELOPMENT: CASE STUDY OF REPUBLIC OF SERBIA


Abstract

Available socio-economic indicators define Serbia as mostly agrarian country, in which to agricultural production is assigned role of developmental priority in near future. From many factors of agricultural production, more active relation of domestic producers to all lines of organic agriculture may affects on increase of Republic agriculture competitiveness, compared to close surroundings, as on more qualitative development of rural areas. Suitable climate and geographical conditions, unpolluted environment, expressed biodiversity and constant demand growth for organic produced products, definitely are on the side of this production organizers.              

In this paperwork, authors are trying to present all actualities within organic agriculture, particularly focused on the segment of wild plant and animal species collection, during the period 2005-2009.

Key words: organic production, rural development, Republic of Serbia. 

1.  Introduction

Agricultural production and industry related with agriculture are some of the most important branches of Serbian economy. Although in a crisis 2009 come to fall of total GDP for some 3.5% in compare to previous year (in 2009. is accomplished GDP in amount of 31 billions EUR), production results of primary agriculture were realized in desired frame. According official estimations it participated with around 12% in GDP creation (around 20% if in focus is complete agro-complex). Also, encourages growth of traditionally positive foreign trade surplus of agriculture and processing industry (in 2009 approximately 700 millions of USA dollars), accomplished primarily by the export on the EU countries market (preferential status) and market of Western Balkan countries (CEFTA), which together in export structure participate with over than 90%. Assigned status of development economic priority, effected on expected increase of Agrarian budget in current year (from 16 billions RSD during 2009, it jumps up to projected 25.6 billions RSD in 2010, what assumes around 3% of total Republic budget. Having in focus obvious natural advantages of Serbia, despite affection on usual lines of agricultural production, relevant Ministry should take more energetic actions in promotion and development of organic agriculture, what will affect, as on strengthening of competitiveness of national agriculture (compared to close surroundings), as well on more qualitative development of rural areas.

2.  Material and method

Basic data were taken from Institute for nature conservation of Serbia, Belgrade, available documentation of IAE, Belgrade, as from other world and national published and electronic data resources. Research is based on available data. Method applied was desktop study. Researched period was 2005-2009.

3.  Results and discussions

Natural potential of Serbian agriculture is reflected in: 5.1 million ha of agricultural land, from which approximately 4.2 million ha is arable; 2.8 million ha under forest complexes; still unpolluted environmental elements (soil, water, air); expressed diversity of flora and fauna[1] (4,182 species of vascular plants, where around 700 plant spices are with proved medicinal characteristics); suitable physical, geographical and climate position, etc.

Also, it has to be noticed that rural areas settle more than 3.3 million inhabitants. From that number, 817,052 residents (according census from 2002.) is declared as agricultural (11% of total population). Inside shown labor contingent, 529,236 inhabitants are active, while exist more of them who are dealing with agriculture as a complementary activity, or those one who in transitional and crisis years, after companies leaving (quitting), over passed from industry to agriculture. Estimations are that momentarily Serbia has over than 750,000 agricultural husbandries (31% from total number of households), where only 418,000 of them are registered, or less than 80,000 had the right to receive subsidies during the 2009 (according the valid criterion, that at least one member per household pays all prescribed contributions – taxes).

Undoubtedly is fact that in industrially developed world parts, it could be felt, during last few decades,  negative impacts of economic activities on state of environmental elements, indirectly on total agricultural production too (reaction of nature). This is particularly expressed through parameter of GHGs emission (Greenhouse gases), which level is primarily predetermined by: economic structure and production dynamics within dominant sectors of economy; valid legislation; level of ecological awareness; level of total expenditures in environmental protection and preservation; etc.

   Table 1Emissions of greenhouse gases in EU countries (year 2005)

Country

Emissions of carbon dioxide (million t)

Emissions of carbon monoxide (million t)

Emissions of methane (million t)

Emissions of sulfur oxides (million t of SO2 equivalent)

Emissions of nitrogen oxides (million t of NO2 equivalent)

EU-27

4,269.0

31.89

19.94

8.28

11.29

Belgium

123.3

0.88

0.37

0.15

0.29

Bulgaria

54.8

0.74

0.49

0.90

0.23

Czech Republic

125.9

0.51

0.52

0.22

0.28

Denmark

50.4

0.61

0.27

0.02

0.19

Germany

872.9

4.03

2.27

0.56

1.44

Estonia

18.0

0.16

0.09

0.08

0.03

Ireland

47.3

0.23

0.62

0.07

0.12

Greece

111.7

0.64

0.40

0.53

0.32

Spain

368.3

2.38

1.77

1.36

1.53

France

412.5

5.68

2.68

0.47

1.21

Italy

493.4

4.21

1.91

0.50

1.17

Cyprus

7.8

0.04

0.05

0.04

0.02

Latvia

7.6

0.34

0.09

0.00

0.04

Lithuania

14.2

0.19

0.16

0.04

0.06

Luxembourg

11.9

0.04

0.02

0.00

0.01

Hungary

61.8

0.59

0.37

0.13

0.20

Malta

3.0

*

0.02

0.02

0.01

Netherlands

175.9

0.60

0.80

0.06

0.34

Austria

79.7

0.72

0.34

0.03

0.23

Poland

326.5

3.33

1.82

1.22

0.81

Portugal

67.9

0.65

0.53

0.21

0.28

Romania

110.5

1.41

1.23

0.73

0.31

Slovenia

16.7

0.08

0.10

0.04

0.06

Slovakia

39.9

0.30

0.20

0.09

0.10

Finland

57.0

0.52

0.21

0.07

0.18

Sweden

52.6

0.60

0.27

0.04

0.20

United Kingdom

557.6

2.42

2.36

0.71

1.63

Source: Mirela Matei et al. (2009.): The interdependence between agriculture and climate change – a European perspective, 113th Seminar of EAAE, December 2009, IAE, Belgrade, Serbia.

Leading by current and possible pollution consequences (at first place global climate changes), on world level starts more active relation toward solving of noticed problems. For example in EU, during 2007 are adopted Energy and climate change package (with purpose to cut GHGs emissions by at least 20% by 2020, compared with 1990) and Energy Policy for Europe (in order to improve the use of energy and increase the share of renewable energy up to 20%), Matei et al., 2009.

Second Report about state of environment in Republic of Serbia from 2007, somewhat confirmed findings of previous one from 2002., that Serbia still has many areas which are not burdened with heavy metals, pesticides, or mineral fertilizers, so they are suitable for all lines of agricultural production (especially organic production). Updated document registered main polluters, and gave possible directions for future better environment protection, balanced with contemporary legislation.

Observing economy effects on environment, it is underlined that energetic sector of national economy is major environment polluter, caused by dominant usage of lignite and technologically old-fashioned equipment (estimations are that 65.5% electric energy comes from power plants, which use low calories lignite). Those power plants make huge quantum of ash, which is laying away on dumps (around 170 million t of ash, which covered area of 1,800 ha). Also, big losses are accomplished during the energy transmission and distribution (system of heating plants makes losses from more than 20%, while losses in electric energy transmission are 3.2%, and in distribution around 7%). Like others polluters are mentioned coal and copper mining pits, industry concentrated in larger cities, agriculture, traffic (approximately 2.4 million mostly used vehicles), and others.

As is concluded in Strategy of environment development in Republic of Serbia, relation of economic activity and environment in Republic, from 50′-ties to end of XX century, did not deviate from general patterns, expressing all characteristics of these patterns, on the way peculiar to southeast European countries and countries in transition.[2]

Interesting observation is that state of environment in Serbia is very heterogeneous, so it is consist of many extremely green, or black regional points. As is underlined, with estimation created during 2003, it is accomplished emission of harmful gases in amount of around: 45.6 million t of carbon dioxide; 0.5 million t of sulfur oxides; 0.16 million t of nitrogen oxides; 0.09 million t of ammonia; 0.06 million t of powder substances; and 350 t of lead (consequence of dominant usage of lead gasoline in traffic).

Number of laws, related to environment and human health protection, were bringing during 2009. In extensive legislation that covers all fields of agriculture and environment protection, shall be allocated next laws and documents, by which Republic government directly or indirectly joined management of sustainable development of society, economy and environment, with acceptance of relevant international standards: Strategy of sustainable development of Republic of Serbia 2008-2017; Law of agriculture and rural development[3]; Law of agricultural land[4]; Law of environment protection[5]; Law of organic production and organic products[6], (in procedure is proposal of new law, which will come into effect at beginning of 2011); Law of agreement confirmation of donation from global fund for environment protection „Project of agricultural in transition reform“ and Law of agreement confirmation about loan „Additional project financing – rehabilitation of systems for irrigation and drainage“, between Serbia and IBRD[7]; Law of live stock breeding, Law of public warehouse in agriculture and Law of food safety[8]; Green package (set of 16 laws, which should significantly improve solving of environmental problems. Among them are standing out Law of waste management, Law of packaging materials, Law of chemical maters and biocides products, Law of Rotterdam convention ratification, Law of air protection, Law of nature protection, etc); Law of Aarhus convention ratification; Law of Stockholm convention ratification; Strategy of clean production implementation; draft of EMAS Program (Eco Management and Audit Scheme) in Serbia; etc.

Generally, natural conditions in Serbia serve to intensive agricultural production. Looking back on influence of agriculture, from the aspect of pollution, on soil resources condition, momentarily we have paradox that to its solid preservation mostly contributed bad economic situation in which were producers for last few years. Videlicet, high input price reduced usage of mineral fertilizers, pesticides and other chemical substances on minimum. Quantum of spread fertilizers is fallen down from 115 kg/ha in 1991, on 36 kg/ha in 2002, what significantly reduce problem of water flows eutrophication too. Current problems of soil pollution and eutrophication are mostly connecting to waste water from animal farms.

It is concluded that organic agriculture development, as intensive production line, would contributed to life quality improvement of local communities, additional engagement of unemployed working active population. Production of organic food will make for optimal use of natural resources and environment protection, as for improvement of rural population status. In favor of this comes fact, that according the estimations around one million ha of arable land in Serbia is uncultivated, suppose in certain level of conversion, what is ideal base for this production establishment. Their development will encourage local population to stay in less developed regions.

Despite high price of organic produced food, present trends bring to increase of its demand. People more and more take attitude that health is priceless. By utilization of appeared free space on world market, through organic production, Serbia would appreciably improve its foreign trade surplus from agriculture, as well as its competitive advantage in compare with neighbor countries.

In Serbia momentarily is 218 certified producers of organic products, with total production area of around 5,000 ha (Table 2). Most important organic products are berry fruit (strawberry, blackberry, raspberry, blueberry, plums, sour cherry, etc, in frozen, processed and dried condition) and fungi. Besides these products, in small portion is produced organic vegetable, while in cereals production is slightly better situation (wheat, maize, burley and oat).

   Table 2. – Areas under organic production (EU and Serbia) in 2008.

Countries

Areas under organic crops (ha)

Number of registered producers in organic production (provisional value)

Serbia

5,000@ (provisional value)

218@

Belgium

27,376

1,662

Bulgaria

4,236

311

Czech Republic

232,939

2,435

Denmark

139,021

3,658

Deutschland

*

29,244

Estonia

71,848

1,292

Ireland

*

1,410

Greece

266,745

25,098

Spain

691,196 (provisional value)

23,372

France

502,234

20,880

Italy

812,139

49,654

Cyprus

*

*

Latvia

141,524

4,218

Lithuania

89,890

2,842

Luxemburg

*

*

Hungary

108,578

2,055

Source: http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/portal/page/portal/agriculture/data/database

@: data from Report on organic agriculture in Serbia –

http://gain.fas.usda.gov/Recent%20GAIN%20Publications/Organic%20Agriculture%20in%20Serbia_Belgrade_Serbia_6-8-2009.pdf     Note: * unavailable data

Most of organic food producers are with small production surface (less than 1 ha). They usually sell their products on national market. Big producers (with larger land complex and huge quantum of organic output) are in minority. They usually lunched their products on foreign markets. Besides them, few companies are dealing with collection of medicinal and aromatic plants (mostly for export) from total surface of around 1 million ha.

The biggest part of organically produced food (more than 90%) is exporting on foreign markets (UK, USA, Germany, Belgium, Austria and Switzerland. Usually are exported raw products, while processed products are selling on national market. Although organic production represents a promising alternative for the future of European agriculture, but organic farming is in still infancy in Serbia.

According to invaluable natural potentials (biodiversity and unpolluted environment), seasonality in agriculture, material underdevelopment of rural areas, lack of suitable credits (organic production needs relatively high start investments), difficult influence on potential risks and towards present trends of duties diversification on farms, development of collecting activity (organic wild plants – medicinal and aromatic plants, forest fruits, fungi, etc) could be excellent solution for increase of husbandries income (estimations are that is better acceptance of production, collecting and processing of these products, as additional than as main resource of incomes).

Field of collecting activity is regulated by next legislation: Law of environment protection, Law of nature protection[9] and Regulation on putting under control usage and trading of wild flora and fauna[10] (revision of this Regulation is expected soon).

Institute for nature conservation of Serbia is authorized for issuing of licenses to legal entities, for collecting of approved quantum of wild flora, fauna and fungi. Companies’ requests with required quantum are summoned until 31st January. After cumulative comparison of requested quantum and approved contingent for each specified wild species, individual collecting permissions are given for current year, with previously paid fee in amount of 10% of total approved quantum value. From year to year, depending of field situation (endanger level) collecting of some species could be limited or totally forbidden. Next table represents quantum of selected wild flora and fauna species, which collection were allowed during the period 2005/09 (Table 3).     

Table 3. – Quantum of collected wild flora and fauna species in period 2005/09 (in t)

Species

Wild flora and fauna – collecting quantum according given licence

2005.

2006.

2007.

2008.

2009.

Ramsons (herba), Allium ursinum L.

25.3

224.6

300.1

238.7

220.2

 Strawberry (fructus), Fragaria vresca L

50.0

*

*

*

105.7

Common Ivy (folium), Hedera helix L

10.0

88.3

112.5

176.1

266.9

St Jonh’s wort (herba), Hypericum perforatum L

69.6

94.6

98.1

100.6

115.8

Common Juniper (fructus), Juniperus communis L

1,007.5

305.5

402.6

840.1

495.6

Dog Rose (fructus), Rosa canina L

1,007.0

1,117.1

1,695.1

1,494.2

678.3

Blackberry (fructus), Rubus fructicosus L

53.0

49.5

112.3

130.4

125.2

Elder (flos), Sambucus nigra L

501.5

391.3

376.0

*

199.2

Blueberry (fructus), Vaccinium myrtillus L

1,000.0

1,580.4

2,023.5

89.0

1,707.9

Porcini (fungi), Boletus edulis Bull Fr

*

2,471.0

3,211.4

2,466.8

4,843.8

Chanterelle (fungi), Cantharellus cibarius L Fr

*

1,130.7

1,201.0

906.9

1,078.9

Saffron milk cap (fungi), Lactarius deliciosus L

*

72.0

119.5

240.5

124.0

Garden snail (snail), Helix aspersa

*

175.0

195.6

180.0

175.0

Forest snail (snail), Helix leucorum

*

150.0

190.0

190.0

165.0

Burgundy snail (snail), Helix pomatia

*

725.0

786.0

790.0

725.0

Source: Quantum of wild flora, fauna and fungi collected in specified years, reports for 2005-2009, Institute for nature conservation of Serbia, Belgrade.

Establishment and development of entrepreneurship in field of production, collecting, processing and trading of medicinal plants and forest fruits could be presented with next organizational forms:

1)      small family plantations of medicinal and aromatic plants, which could establish their production programs in controlled space (green houses), or on fields;

2)      small family companies for purchase and processing of medicinal and aromatic plants (they need good management skills);

3)      collection of wild plant and animal species (for average husbandry in Serbia the most reliable form of activity, because it does not require huge start investments, could be done seasonally, parallel with other farm duties, and it could be done by all family members, from kids to pensioners;

4)      export of medicinal and aromatic plants, forest fruits, fungi and wild animals.

4.   Conclusions

Besides perfect natural conditions for organic production, still negligible number of farms is dealing with this production. Reason of this it could be seek in indifference or uninformed of producers about significance and advantages of organic food production, difficult and expensive certification, lack of investment funds, etc.

Having in mind all basic principles of multifunctional agriculture, production, collection and processing of medicinal and aromatic plants, and forest fruits (their demand on world market is still raising) could be important development basis as for husbandries, as well for specified micro regions and complete country, from the point of economic and ecologic effects. Establishment of offered organizational forms of this activity should be followed by modernization of existing regulative, with constant monitoring, financial, promotional and professional support of competent state institutions.

5.  Acknowledgements

Paper work is part of project no. 159004D – Accession of Serbian economy into EU – planning and financing of regional and rural development and companies’ development policies and project no. 149087 – Multifunctional agriculture and rural development in the function of accession of Republic of Serbia into EU, financed by the Ministry of Science and Environmental Protection of Republic of Serbia.

6.  References

  1. Bojana Bekić, Marko Jeločnik, Lana Ivanović (2008.): Production of organic food in Republic of Serbia on the principles of sustainable development, International conference: Dezvoltarea economica performanta si complexa a spatiului rural si regional, 19-20. September, Editura ASE, Bucharest, Romania;
  2. Imre Fertő, Csaba Forgács (2009.): The choice between conventional and organic farming – a Hungarian example, 113th Seminar of EAAE, December 2009, IAE, Belgrade, Serbia;
  3. MAP – Macroeconomic Analysis and Prognosis, Publication IEN, Belgrade, December 2009.;
  4. Marko Jeločnik, Lana Ivanović, Nada Mijajlović (2006.): Influence of medicinal plants and forest fruits on rural population income increas, International Seminar: Multifunctional agriculture and rural development (I), 7-8. December, Mali Zvornik, Serbia;
  5. Mirela Matei, Adrian Stancu, Predrag Vuković (2009.): The interdependence between agriculture and climate change – a European perspective, 113th Seminar of EAAE, December 2009, IAE, Belgrade, Serbia;
  6. Pregled stanja životne sredine – Republika Srbija, Ekonomska komisija za Evropu, Komisija za programsku politiku u oblasti zaštite životne sredine, UN, New York, Geneva, 2007.
  7. Quantum of wild flora, fauna and fungi collected in specified years, reports for 2005-2009, Institute for nature conservation of Serbia, Belgrade.
  8.  Radmilo Pešić (2007.): Ekonomska aktivnost i stanje životne sredine u Srbiji, projekat: Strategija održivog razvoja Srbije, http://www.odrzivi-razvoj.sr.gov.yu/lat/dokumenta.php
  9. http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/portal/page/portal/agriculture/data/database
    1. http://gain.fas.usda.gov/Recent%20GAIN%20Publications/Organic%20Agriculture%20in%20Serbia_Belgrade_Serbia_6-8-2009.pdf
    2. http://www.nin.co.rs/2000-08/31/14258.html 

[1] Serbian flora is constituted from 4,182 vascular plant species, around 1,400 species of algae, 560 species of moss, 516 species of lichens and 650 species of fungi. All at all, with approximately 7,300 plant species in total, Serbia belongs to   group of richest country by present flora. Number of vascular plants in Republic is around 1.7% of total world flora. Although, presented portion looks like small, it could be underlined that present territory is less than 0.035% of total world land surface, (http://www.nin.co.rs/2000-08/31/14258.html).

[2] Radmilo Pešić (2007.): Ekonomska aktivnost i stanje životne sredine u Srbiji, projekat: Strategija održivog razvoja Srbije.

[3] Official gazette of Republic of Serbia, no. 41/2009.

[4] Official gazette of Republic of Serbia, no. 62/2006.

[5] Official gazette of Republic of Serbia, no. 135/04.

[6] Official gazette of Republic of Serbia, no. 62/06.

[7] Official gazette of Republic of Serbia, no. 83/08.

[8] Official gazette of Republic of Serbia, no. 41/09.

[9] Official gazette of Republic of Serbia, no. 36/09

[10] Official gazette of Republic of Serbia, no. 31/05, 45/05, correction no. 22/07, 38/08

Autori: MARKO JELOČNIK, LANA IVANOVIĆ, BOJANA BEKIĆ

Ostavite odgovor

Popunite detalje ispod ili pritisnite na ikonicu da biste se prijavili:

WordPress.com logo

Komentarišet koristeći svoj WordPress.com nalog. Odjavite se / Promeni )

Slika na Tviteru

Komentarišet koristeći svoj Twitter nalog. Odjavite se / Promeni )

Fejsbukova fotografija

Komentarišet koristeći svoj Facebook nalog. Odjavite se / Promeni )

Google+ photo

Komentarišet koristeći svoj Google+ nalog. Odjavite se / Promeni )

Povezivanje sa %s