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Small-scale producers in Serbia learn to adapt to climate change

How can small-scale agricultural producers cope with the effects of climate change, reduce their exposure to risk, and manage their farms more efficiently? A series of training sessions launched recently in Serbia covers these very topics.

Agricultural producers in Serbia have been affected by extreme weather events in recent months and years – most seriously by the catastrophic May 2014 floods, and again by floods in March this year.

The training – organized and conducted by FAO in cooperation with the European Union, the Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection (MAEP) and local self-governments – targets small-scale farmers, agricultural extension services and local governments.

Sessions are being held in seven Eastern Serbia municipalities from now through March 2017, with an estimated 800 farmers and 30 extension service employees participating. Priority is given to small-scale producers, young farmers, women farmers, and members of minorities. Municipal employees, extension and advisory workers, veterinarians, and members of agricultural associations and cooperatives will also attend.

Participants are grouped according to their main farming interest: field crops, fruits and berries, livestock, vegetable production, agricultural mechanization and farm management. A mixture of lectures, simple exercises and demonstrations are used to convey concepts and good practices.

One-day training events in each of the six topics are planned in these municipalities: Boljevac, Knjaževac, Negotin, Zaječar, Kladovo, Majdanpek and Svrljig.

“An important part of the training is to increase awareness of climate change and its effects – through discussions based on personal experiences,” said Reuben Sessa, FAO natural resources officer. “Participants come to realize that they can change the way they do things, in order to adapt to climate change and become more resilient producers, while also having the potential to improve their productivity and income.”

FAO workshops are part of the EU programme of support to agriculture in Serbia within the “EU assistance for Flood Relief in Serbia” programme. To date, the EU has allocated Euro 9.5 million to support vulnerable agricultural households that suffered damage in the 2014 floods. More than 34 000 farmers have received agricultural support packages (seeds, fertilizer, animal feed, greenhouses, seedlings). The programme of assistance is implemented in cooperation with Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection, Public Investment Management Office and local self-governments.

European Union assistance to flood relief in Serbia program, worth 92 million euros, is funded by the European Union under the pre-accession funds IPA 2012 and IPA 2014. The funds will be used for construction of new houses, rehabilitation of public buildings and infrastructure, private houses and roads and recovery of economy and agriculture in municipalities most affected with floods. All activities in the field are implemented by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), organisations HELP and ABS and Danish Refugee Council (DRC), Austrian Development Agency (ADA) and World Bank – in coordination with Government of Serbia Public Investment Management Office.

Picture credit: FAO

This news item was originally published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) website