NALED’s Food and Agriculture Alliance has formulated a set of emergency measures to assist farmers and beekeepers in order for them to carry out the work that awaits them in April as effectively as possible.
Issuing permits for farmers and beekeepers over 65 to visit their farms for two weeks, increasing the maximum number of days for hiring seasonal workers, introducing alternative systems for selling and distributing agricultural products, and defining a special support package are recommendations that the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management should implemet so as not to jeopardize the entire food production chain.
The proposed measures are aimed at solving the issue of movement restrictions, labor force shortages, agricultural and food products production and marketing, that about 400,000 agricultural households registered in Serbia are facing.
Due to markets and catering facilities closing down, farmers who sell groceries for a living were left without a basic source of income and need support to switch to alternative sales methods such as online platforms or drive-in markets. According to the announcements, the line Ministry is expected to urgently launch a functional national eMarket portal for local goods placement, in cooperation with local governments and retail chains, which should also enable cashless payment.
Increasing the maximum number of days for hiring seasonal workers from 120 to 180 is also suggested, because due to the reduced number of workers and restricted movement, jobs in all agricultural areas will be prolonged.
The Food and Agriculture Alliance states that in addition to the measures adopted to support businesses, it is necessary for the Government to provide a special support package to the agriculture and food industry, in order to ensure production continuity and support local food industry development.
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