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26 May 2021

Workshop “Irrigation Economics”

The workshop on the topic “Irrigation Economics” was held on May 26, 2021. from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., via the “ZOOM” application due to a situation caused by a coronary virus pandemic. The workshop was held within the project “Support to the Development of the Irrigation Strategy of the Republic of Serbia and the Action Plan” implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (UN FAO) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) together with the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management. The moderator of the workshop was Ph.D. Milos Milovanovic, a specialist in agricultural policy, on behalf of the UN FAO-EBRD, and the speakers were Ph.D. Steve Goss, a specialist on irrigation policy, on behalf of UN FAO and Luis Dias Pereira, economist, on behalf of UN FAO.

The workshop was opened by Nataša Milic, acting Director of the Republic Water Directorate. In the mentioned speech, after greeting the attendees, Natasa Milic stated that the workshop on the topic “Economics of Irrigation” is just one in a series of many workshops that are planned within the mentioned project. Erkan Tankut, senior banker, on behalf of the EBRD, also welcomed the participants. He referred to the speech of Natasa Milic, saying that the EBRD supports the development of infrastructure and strengthening the resilience of Serbian agriculture to climate change.

The workshop aimed to present irrigation as an economic activity through the presentation of the costs and benefits of irrigation. Consideration of the transition to higher value-added crops, the importance of the adoption of irrigation by farmers, and the priorities of investment in irrigation systems.

Ph.D. Steve Goss and Luis Dias Pereira spoke on “Irrigation as an Economic Activity”, “Costs and Benefits of Irrigation”, “Importance of Irrigation Adoption” and “Decision on the Priority of Investing in Irrigation”. Where they state that irrigation can enable the transition to higher value-added crops and crops with increased yields (both in newly irrigated areas and in areas where irrigation has improved) with positive effects on the country’s gross agricultural product and exports. Emphasizing that a review of the financial feasibility of irrigation in different contexts and scenarios and the implementation of an agricultural policy addressing identified market inefficiencies will be needed to optimize adoption. They also state that different possible drivers of irrigation adoption will have different roles depending on the context. The conclusion is that the Irrigation Strategy should consider the main investment options (water source and technology), as well as scenarios on the set of agricultural and irrigation conditions for each option.

The workshop gathered almost eighty participants interested in the topic of irrigation. After the presentation, a discussion was opened with the participation of representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management, the Provincial Secretariat for Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management, JVP “Vode Vojvodine”, JVP “Srbijavode”, Faculty of Agriculture in Belgrade and many relevant institutions.