On September 26th, 2017, a consultative meeting on the topic “Supporting farmers' networking by models recognized in EU” was held in Brodarevo. The meeting was attended by representatives of local institutions, CSOs, as well as people from local communities who are interested in this topic.
The meeting was organized within the framework of the project "ALTER - Active Local Territories for Economic Development of Rural Areas" funded by the European Union, as part of the activities "Improving CSO cooperation with public institutions in sustainable rural development". The project is implemented at the national level by the Network for rural development of Serbia.
The main problems discussed at the meeting were:
• Farmers know that they have to associate and that as small individual producers they have no chance in the market, however, they do not know which model of association is most suitable for them,
• Farmers invest the greatest amount of time and energy in improving the yields and incomes of their households, so meetings and conferences that need to contribute to association with colleagues are often burdensome and they are highly distrustful of paperwork and administrative work.
• Existing associations have limited capacities and resources and are often not in good relations with local policy and decision makers,
• Lack of public gathering places is also a problem (in most villages there are no public facilities such as cultural centers, offices for citizens ...), which makes social and cultural life in the countryside very scarce,
• Local communities have small jurisdictions, which limit them from solving problems in the local area more effectively.
Participants of the meeting defined concrete proposals for solving identified problems:
• Training on association models with special emphasis on LEADER,
• Proposal for local governments to support the association of farmers or their organizations in their public calls for CSOs,
• Proposal to prescribe by law that a certain percentage of the budget of local tourism organizations should be allocated to support rural manifestations organized by farmers' associations,
• It is need to give more jurisdiction to local communities and greater resources to them,
• New Law about small producers, which should clearly define rules for small producers on the basis of which producers could be sectorally pooled (clear procedures, joint declarations ...),
• Proposal for the Ministry to define farmers' association models and support them financially.