Aleksandar Radovic, Serbia

54th Annual Congress of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists – Ostend – Belgium

By Aleksandar Radovic, journalist of National Radio Belgrade and the Member of AGROPRESS - Serbia

First of all, I would like to express my sincere appreciation to Alltech and IFAJ for awarding me with Young Leaders in Agricultural Journalism Award and for showing respect. Four days I spent in Ostend represent a remarkable experience in information exchange with my European and colleagues from all over the world. Being practical, we had a chance to see to details how intensive production is more profitable for agricultural producers. Farm owners and vegetable producers convinced us that every cent they invested brought them back the profit. With a good state policy, but also with strict control systems and a stable market price, it gets easier for producers, especially if they go to markets united in associations. On a specific example of cow farmers who apart from cows grow different traditional crops, so I have realized that in that way they are trying to secure stability – if one thing goes down, the other one will make it up. Organic food production – a whole farm dedicated to it prove that, although this sort of food production requires more investment than the commercial one, it brings profit and offers only the natural, additives and chemical free goods to buyers. It is a priceless gift to be able to offer to somebody exactly what his/her body needs.

One of the most interesting visits to Belgium was the one to the farm of Ann Sophie Desmet. The farm with more than 250 cows she inherited from her father in 2007, and it was grounded by her grandfather Gil Desmet in 1965. As Ann Sophie explained, together with her husband Greg, apart from cow growing, she produces different traditional crops. Because of the soil characteristics (sand like soil and clay percentage), for now only 40 ha is being worked on.

On that specific example we, the journalists, were able to see that production of various crops with governmental support can only help stability of a farmer. Of course, one always depends on the weather, but growing wheat, potato, sugar beet and vegetables, she is sure that even if one of those crops failed, she could count on the others.

Taking into consideration a nowadays economic issues, recently there has not been any big investment for a near future. Though, there are planned some investments into machines and a storage space.

One of Conference’s tours in Belgium was to Agristo, a world leading company in potato production.  The company sells a variety of potato products and is increasing its production year after year.

At the end of our agricultural research of Belgium, we came to an auction house for fruit and vegetable price standardization. In that facility all agricultural producers who produce food for markets have to transport contained goods to be weighed, labeled and analyzed. Every agricultural producer has a number and a registration code. After this procedure is done, the goods are being transported to markets and the price for market chains is being formed. Stock market works 24 hours a day.

To conclude my story, as I’ve already mentioned, it has been a great pleasure meeting my colleagues from all over the world, as well as exchanging experiences with them and having a chance to let their voice be heard through the ether of Serbia helping agricultural producers to let go of the traditionalism and turn to new methods that bring profit.