President of the Association of Raspberry and Blackberry Producers in Serbia Dobrivoje Radovic said today that the yield of raspberries this year due to bad weather, frost and drought is at least 50 percent lower than the average of about 82,000 tons, and blackberry production has been halved.
“In the largest raspberry region in Arilje and Ivanjica, the harvest of autumn raspberries is coming to an end and the yield will be at least 50 percent lower than the average of about 82,000 tons. When the balance is reduced, the yield will hardly be about 40,000 tons,” Radovic told Beta.
He added that the average purchase price of the largest number of varieties was from 415 to 430 dinars, except for the highest quality variety, which is still harvested and sold at a price of 600 to 700 dinars per kilogram.
He said that, although the price of raspberries is high this year, he cannot fully cover production costs and the loss of low yield.
Radović said that next year the total yield of raspberries in Serbia will be even smaller because this year’s high temperatures and drought have prevented the development of the young and that the seedlings on some plots have been “fried”.
According to him, raspberry producers should use the good decision of the Ministry of Agriculture to subsidize planting material in the amount of 90 percent in order for the raspberries to be renewed with better quality seedlings with a better yield.
“Raspberries in Serbia must be renewed with certified planting material in order to increase the yield per hectare, and reduce losses due to poor yields and diseases of raspberries,” said Radović.
Blackberry producers, who are only now bringing the harvest to an end due to late vegetation, said that they were not satisfied, although the price was 250 to 300 dinars per kilogram, because the yield of blackberries was reduced due to drought, more than raspberries.
Zoran Stojanović from Ražanj, who destroyed the largest part of the blackberry plantation, said that even the extremely high price of blackberries this year will not be a strong enough motive for those who, due to the small price in the last five years, cut blackberry plantations from 30 to 50 dinars per kilogram.
“This year, the price of blackberries is ‘excessive’, but whoever destroyed the plantation will not renew it for a good price for one year, because he has been selling blackberries for nothing for the last five years and could not cover production costs,” said Stojanović.
He added that it would be better for the price of blackberries to be lower than this year, and the real one would be from 120 to 140 dinars per kilogram, but the most important thing for the producer is to be stable.
According to him, Serbia had between 5,000 and 7,000 hectares under blackberries, and in the last two or three years, due to the price of 30 dinars, plantations were destroyed and it is estimated that there are now about 1,500 hectares.