Agribusiness firms in south-eastern Europe must cooperate to succeed

By Olga Rosca
@olgarosca


  • “Consumer Rules Summit” in Belgrade highlights opportunities in the agribusiness sector
  • Cooperation along the value chain indispensable to meet new challenges
  • New models needed to transform production, distribution and consumption systems

The agribusiness sector in south-eastern Europe can successfully address the challenges of the future by increased cooperation within the sector and greater regional integration, a high-level industry conference organised by the EBRD has found.

Participants at the “Consumer Rules Summit” in Belgrade said intensive cooperation among all actors along the value chain was indispensable as agribusiness faced up to urgent issues such as changing consumer demand, digital transformation and climate change.

Attending the conference were more than 120 representatives from companies active across the whole agribusiness chain from the European Union, south-eastern Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Turkey.

They included Aleksandar Kostić, Vice President of MK Group (Serbia), Andrej Jovanović, President of Moji Brendovi (Serbia), Emil Tedeschi, President of Atlantic Group (Croatia) and Svetozar Janevski, President of Tikves (North Macedonia).

The EBRD is a leading investor in the agribusiness sector across its regions and has committed €3 billion in over 160 agribusiness projects in south-eastern Europe.

The conference agreed that for the region to become more competitive, new business models were needed that allowed for the transformation of production, distribution and consumption systems.

Natalya Zhukova, EBRD Director, Agribusiness, said: “We are here to promote new foreign direct investment and to support agribusinesses, including export-oriented small businesses, to enter high-end new markets such as the EU by producing high-quality products. We see integration – within the region and the rest of Europe – not only as a powerful instrument for expanding trade in goods and services, but also as a way to encourage the exchange of new ideas and innovation.”

Miljan Ždrale, Head of EBRD Agribusiness for Central and Eastern Europe, added: “Globally, the sector is going through unprecedented changes caused by different factors: demographic movements, instability of trade regimes, digitalisation, climate change and increased consumer demand. Many businesses around the world understand today that sustainability and innovation is a must for their operations and within their supply chains. We at the EBRD are ready to support this – with financing, technical expertise and policy reforms.”