BELGRADE – On green markets and in stores throughout Serbia is offered vegetables and fruits from all over the world. With vegetables that can produce itself, Serbia purchases abroad milk, meat, grain for which the country pays tens of millions of dollars.

Last year Serbia imported beans for 12 million dollars, potatoes for 9, tomato for 16, and the cucumbers as much as 3.5 million dollars.

The Serbian Chamber of Commerce says that vegetables are imported in the part of the year when there is none of it on the market. Traders are free to sell goods on domestic market in accordance with their business policy.

“Our products cost more than imported ones,” said for “Novosti” Milada Lukesevic, advisor of the Association for crop production in the Chamber of Commerce. “Prices of imported products are, among other things, competitive because foreign producers are regressed by the state,” she said.

Beans are grown in Serbia on 17,737 hectares, adds Lukesevic, average annual production over the last five years is around 30,000 tons. The latest data on a larger production say that we have produced more than 70,000 tons annualy.

The fact that we allocate more and more money to import food, confirms that Serbia continues bad practices and import even those foods that we can produce at competitive prices.

“We should not give foreign currency for these, but also for many other agricultural products, because we have resources to produce them for our needs and even for export, but under the condition that we are competitive in price,” said Petar Bogosavljevic, president of the Movement for Consumer Protection in Serbia. “The question is how the retail prices of domestic production are higher than imported goods, which is burdened with tariffs, import duties and transportation. We caused dependence on imports, it is not imposed from the outside,” Bogosavljevic said.

“How is it possible that it is cheaper for us to import beans from Kyrgyzstan, potatoes from the Netherlands and garlic from China, than to produce it here,” asked Andjelka N. from Belgrade. “Nothing is domestic, as if we do not have fertile land.”