The European Union (EU) will partner with the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to help small-scale farmers in Serbia recover from the devastating floods of the spring of 2014. An EU grant of EUR 8 million (US$10.7 million), aimed at restoring the livelihoods of the most vulnerable farming families, was announced at a recent ceremony.
In flood-affected areas, the impact on agriculture was estimated at EUR228 million (US$306 million). Poultry, pigs, cattle and sheep were drowned or left without shelter. Fields planted with wheat, maize and other food and feed crops were washed out. Storage buildings and other farm infrastructure were damaged or destroyed.
With EU funding, FAO's emergency response will support around 15,000 households in 24 municipalities with crop and livestock packages - including animal restocking - designed to help farmers re-establish production.
Agriculture inputs include seed, animal feed, fertilizer, building materials and other inputs to be procured on the local market to the maximum extent possible.
The EU-funded assistance is expected to roll out immediately, beginning with identification of the most vulnerable small-scale households. Beneficiary selection will be carried out in consultation with the farming communities, local governments and Serbia's Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection.
"FAO is committed to the people of Serbia and to the EU for timely and efficient delivery of this assistance," said Vladimir Rakhmanin, FAO assistant director-general and regional representative for Europe and Central Asia. "The important thing is to enable people to get back to farming and recover their livelihoods as soon as possible."
Assistance will be provided to farming households in Bajina Bašta, Čačak, Jagodina, Koceljeva, Kosjerić, Kragujevac, Kraljevo, Krupanj, Lazarevac, Ljubovija, Loznica, Mali Zvornik, Obrenovac, Osečina, Paraćin, Šabac, Šid, Smederevska Palanka, Svilajnac, Trstenik, Ub, Valjevo, Varvarin and Velika Plana.
This EU grant is part of a larger EU flood-recovery package for Serbia. In addition, FAO has allocated US$645,000 from its own budget and is implementing projects funded by other donors. It will continue dialogue with other potential donors to raise additional funds to assist small-scale farming families.
All flood-response activities for agriculture are integrated into an overarching emergency and rehabilitation program, managed by the Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection with assistance from FAO.