Access to the European poultry market could effectively double Serbian poultry production, a local poultry association estimated.
Poultry production in Serbia is thriving, especially by the gauge of the local livestock industry, Ivan Stanojlović, chairman of the Serbian association of poultry farmers, told local channel AgroTV. While the African swine fever virus has wreaked havoc on the pig industry, and cattle breeding has been in trouble for decades, poultry farmers are doing exceptionally well.
Poultry breeders currently almost fully meet the demand on the domestic market. To get a new impetus for development, the sector needs to unravel its export potential, according to Stanojlović.
“The biggest issue is that we, as an industry, currently have not been authorised to export chicken meat, day-old chicks or eggs to the European Union,” Stanojlović said, adding that the members association are putting a lot of effort into get the green light to sell poultry products to the European customers, including by liaising with the Serbian Agricultural Ministry.
“I believe that technologically, we are already ready for Europe, and considering our food products are more affordable, we can also be competitive pricewise,” Stanojlovic claimed.
The opening of the European market for Serbian poultry farmers would nearly double Serbian poultry production, Stanojlović estimated. The state will benefit as well, earning money from additional taxes and having more labour employed at new poultry farms.
In 2022, poultry production in Serbia totalled 116,000 tonnes, 4% up compared with the previous year and 7.3% above the 5-year average, the Serbian Agricultural Ministry estimated.
Last year was difficult for the Serbian poultry industry, but in recent months, things have gradually stabilised, Stanojlovic said, explaining that production costs have started falling, and the industry hopes that operations will remain sustainable for the time being.
Although extensive negotiations on this issue have been ongoing for several years, Serbia has yet to be included in the EU’s positive list of eligible countries to export poultry meat.
In 2021, the Serbian association of poultry farmers announced that Serbia received technical approval to export chicken meat to the EU, as all preparations were completed. However, the actual deliveries were not expected to begin soon, as there were some “obstacles on the way” and the country still needs to bring its legislative framework in line with the European veterinary regulations.