Country report Serbia and Montenegro
PRODUCTION OF GREENHOUSE CROPS IN SERBIA AND MONTENEGRO
by Katarina Zarubica
(Based on statistical data and reports)
North geographical latitude
East geographical latitude
Total area: Serbia and Montenegro 102173 km2; in the North, plain of Vojvodina is dominant with area of 21506 km2; going south from Sava and Danube, relief becomes more hilly, with river valleys, and in Montenegro it is mainly mountainous and hilly, with river valleys.
Agricultural population2 - 1.738,078 or 17.3%
GDP per capita 1035 USD
Agricultural Prod. Index -crop and vegetable farming - 66 in 2000, 161 in 2001, 96 in 2002 (preceding year =100)
Agricultural exports: wheat, fruits (cherry, raspberry), spices, vegetables
Mostly continental climate - cold winters with snow and wind and hot summers. Rainfall concentrated in autumn and spring, droughts are often in the summer. Early frosts in the autumn and late frosts in the spring usually damage crops.
Cultivable area - 4.444,000 ha, arable fields and gardens - 3.397,000 ha, orchards - 255,000 ha, pastures - 1.142,000 ha, meadows - 720,000 ha, vineyards - 72,000 ha. Main crops are maize (1.225,000 ha), wheat (694.000 ha), Lucerne (196 000 ha), sunflower (163 000 ha), vegetables (130 000 ha)
The agricultural sector is on the second place in the national income, behind manufacturing, so it is very important. In recent years, big combinates lost their importance since they were in social property and years of crisis caused great losses. On the other side, private sector is increasing its production and becomes more and more important. Since a lot of farmers had bad experiences with cooperations, new, modern farmer associations are rare. However, problems that growers experience on domestic and foreign markets teach them that associations are necessary. Development of agriculture is stimulated by some foreign donations and also by Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management through different programs and types of credits.
In the last decade of XX century, every kind of production was stagnating or decreasing in Serbia and Montenegro. In recent years, vegetable production has been increasing both in open field and in greenhouses. In 1999., there was 131 000 t harvested pepper, 176 000 t of tomato, 329 000 t of cabbage and Savoy cabbage. In 2002 there was 161 000 t harvested pepper, 223 000 t of tomato, 355 000 t of cabbage and Savoy cabbage. Demand for fresh vegetables is increasing, as well as for new species that are new on our market.
Total area under protected cultivation is more than 10 000 ha. Low and plastic covered greenhouses of medium height take 90-95% of this area, while high plastic covered greenhouses take 5-10%. Most of those greenhouses do not have additional heating.
The majority of plastic covered greenhouses are made by farmers themselves, because of high costs.
Low greenhouses are mostly in tunnel - type. Their height is 0.6-1.0m, width 0.5-1.0m and length is 10-15 m. Their construction is weak, so they are made in late spring, after the possibility of snow and strong winds is gone. They can protect plants from late spring frosts and early autumn frosts.
Also the plastic covered greenhouses medium are mainly in tunnel-type, and rarely they are made by professionals. There is usually no active ventilation; it is passive, by gable and through sidewalls. This is not sufficient to control humidity, which results in disease appearance.
Drip irrigation is becoming more available, along with fertigation.
High plastic covered greenhouses are industrialy made, and they are usually block type. Construction is very stabile and firm. These greenhouses are usually equipped with systems for additional heating and irrigation.
Production in greenhouses, crops, yields, pests
Ways of exploitations
Low and medium high plastic greenhouses are mainly used for production of plantlets and for early production in protected conditions. High plastic greenhouses, especially with additional heating, are used during the whole year round, mostly for early spring production that is the most profitable, for second crops in the autumn and for production during the winter.
In the early spring production, main crops are: tomato (which occupies 50-60% of area), cucumber (20%), pepper (20%), and 10% goes on melons, watermelons, early cabbage, french beans.
In the autumn, as second crop, mostly tomatoes are grown, then pickling cucumbers, french beans. Cauliflower, leek, and carrot may also be found in greenhouses in this period.
During the winter, main crops are: lettuce, spinach, green garlic, green onion and radish.
Yield of lettuce is 3- 4 kg/m2, cucumber (depending on variety and technology) brings 8-16 kg/m2, tomatoes and 70-120 t/ha.
Varieties mostly come from Holland companies. There are some domestic cultivars that found their place in this kind of production, and in last few years, Israel varieties are introduced. Growers choose resistant varieties.
Diseases and pests
Main losses are those that Pythium sp. and Fusarium sp. cause at seedplants. In later growing periods, Phytophtora sp. can cause lots of problems.
Most common pests are white fly, aphids and red spider. In some older greenhouses, nematodes also became serious problem. Besides different disinfectants, the most progressive growers are trying to use new technologies, like growing plants on sterile substrate in order to solve problems with nematodes.
In order to achieve better production in their greenhouses, growers can ask for advice extension services, which are organized by Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management; also specialists from Institutes cooperate with growers from their surrounding.
Main constraints in greenhouse production in Serbia and Montenegro are:
Wishing to improve agriculture in Serbia, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management started some programs this year, and among them:
- greenhouses that are improvised, made by farmers themselves; low technology application;
- low technical level of farmers, lack of knowledge;
- low intensity of making farmer associations;
- lack of capacities for standardization and conservation and uncertain destiny of product after harvest;
- absence of credit lines - Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management made a great effort this year to provide credit lines for these and other purposes.
- the price of product is not known at the beginning of the season and it can vary in wide range
Beside this, in future, there should be efforts to stimulate producers to make associations; to set up market centers; to make further efforts in standardization and coordination of marketing; more efficient ways of control of producers and their education; to have more efficient control of seeds on market.
- projects to make stronger connections between extension services and farmers in order to increase farmer's knowledge;
- credit lines were organized, among other things, for building professional plastic covered greenhouses and capacities and factories for processing.