The share of agriculture in the Serbian economy is gradually decreasing due to the active development of the service sector and industry. In 2022, agriculture accounted for 13.9% of the employed population of the country, and the share of agriculture in GDP was 6.8%.

The process of urbanization is proceeding slowly, over the past 20 years the share of the urban population has grown slightly, which is partly due to the success in infrastructure development and the spread of urban lifestyle in rural areas. At the same time, the development of rural areas and agriculture remains an important component of the government's policy, since it is one of the key points of negotiations on Serbia's accession to the EU. In addition, agriculture provides 17.6% of the country's total export earnings.

Serbia has favorable natural conditions for the development of agriculture, especially in the northern part of the country, on the fertile Middle Danube lowland. The basis of agriculture is crop production, cereals are grown in the country, potatoes and other vegetables are cultivated. Serbia is a net exporter of agricultural products and in recent years has been actively developing the production of the main export commodity of the country's agriculture - fruits and berries. According to the results of 2022, the country produced more than 8.0 million tons of grain crops, 1.8 million tons of fruits and berries, 1.7 million tons of sugar beet, 1.1 million tons of vegetables, root crops and tubers. The highest production growth rates in 2022 were for strawberries (+46.9%), cherries (+44.7%) and apricots (+41.5%).

Most of the arable land in Serbia is devoted to the cultivation of corn (38.7% of all arable land) and wheat (22.7%). 4.3 million tons of corn (-28.9% by 2021) and 3.1 million tons of wheat (-9.7%) were grown in 2022. The sharp decline in production volumes is primarily due to political instability in Serbia's neighboring Eastern European region. In March 2022, amid rising tensions and logistics problems at the mouth of the Danube, the government temporarily banned the export of wheat, corn, wheat flour and sunflower oil, after which it introduced export quotas from April, severely restricting the activities of producers and exporters.

As a result, warehouses and elevators were quickly filled, while overland supply routes were overloaded in the context of a global restructuring of logistics flows.

Logistics problems have affected most of the producers of the main crops in Serbia. Nevertheless, by the end of 2022, it was possible to increase production in some areas. Thus, the production of sunflower seeds increased to 643.5 thousand tons (+5.9% by 2021), plums — up to 488.6 thousand tons (+18.4%), grapes — up to 162.5 thousand tons (+4.3%).

Animal husbandry in Serbia has been stagnating for decades: the number of livestock has been declining for a long time, farmers have refocused on the production of fruits and berries that are more in demand in European countries. Serbia's livestock sector, however, produces a wide range of products, including meat, milk, eggs and river fish. Most of the meat products produced are pork, accounting for 57.0% of all meat produced or 299.0 thousand tons by the end of 2022, which is 2.6% lower than 2021. The remaining share falls on poultry, beef and lamb. Dairy cattle breeding is traditionally developed in the country, many dairy products are an integral part of the national cuisine, but since 2019 production has been gradually decreasing. In 2022, the volume of cow's milk production amounted to more than 1.4 million tons, which is 3.3% less than in 2021.

The production of fish and seafood in Serbia in 2022 amounted to 8.2 thousand tons, which is 15.6% less than in 2021. Most of the production (more than 70%) is provided by aquaculture in the Danube river system (almost a third of the production volume is trout), the share of catch remains consistently small.

Import of agricultural products

By the end of 2022, Serbia imported agricultural products worth 3.22 billion US dollars, which is 14.6% higher than 2021. For 2018-2022, the volume of imports of agricultural products of the country grew annually by an average of 13.3%.

In the structure of imports of agricultural products in Serbia in value terms in 2022, the main import position was pork and pig by-products, the share of which amounted to 5.0% or 159.6 million US dollars. The top imported agricultural products also included flour confectionery (4.0%). In total, the top 10 products accounted for 32.9% of imports of agricultural products of Serbia.

In 2022, the most significant increase compared to 2021 was observed in the supply of pork and pig by-products (+62.9% or +61.6 million US dollars), coffee (+43.9% or +36.7 million US dollars) and soybeans (+77.3% or +29.4 million US dollars). Imports of chocolate confectionery decreased by 10.3% in 2022 (-13.0 million US dollars).

In 2022, the main suppliers of agricultural products to Serbia were Germany (8.6% of imports in value), Italy (6.9%), Croatia (6.8%), Hungary (6.3%) and Poland (5.8%). In total, the top 10 countries accounted for 56.4% of the imports in value terms.

Serbia's imports from Spain increased most significantly in 2021-2022 (+39.0% or +51.7 million US dollars), Croatia (+29.8% or +50.1 million US dollars) and the Netherlands (+25.3% or +36.7 million US dollars). Spain has increased the supply of pork and pig by-products (from 45,2 to 85,8 million US dollars). Croatia has increased exports of soybeans (from 29.1 to 50.6 million US dollars) and pork and pig by-products (from 5.2 to 11.4 million US dollars). The Netherlands increased the supply of other tobacco and its substitutes (from 9.3 to 38.2 million US dollars) and tobacco raw materials (from 4.2 to 14.4 million US dollars).

Export of agricultural products

In 2022, exports of agricultural products of Serbia amounted to 5.07 billion US dollars, an increase of 0.8% relative to the level of 2021. For 2018-2022, the country's exports grew annually by an average of 10.9%.

The basis of exports of agricultural products of Serbia in 2022 were berries (9.0% of the country's value exports), corn (8.3%), wheat (5.1%), soft drinks, except water and juices (5.1%) and cigars and cigarettes (4.8%). In total, the top 10 goods accounted for 48.9% of the country's value exports.

Exports of soft drinks increased most significantly in 2022 (+35.1% or +66.7 million US dollars) and flour confectionery (+17.3% or +22.9 million US dollars).

At the same time, corn supplies decreased (-30.9% or -188.2 million US dollars) and berries (-15.5% or -83.7 million US dollars).

The main importers of agricultural products of Serbia in 2022 included: Bosnia and Herzegovina (11.7% of exports in value terms), Italy (7.7%), Germany (7.3%), Russia (6.9%) and Montenegro (6.9%). In total, the ten largest importers accounted for 63.8% of Serbia's agricultural exports.

Relative to 2021, the most significant increase was in supplies to Bosnia and Herzegovina (+13.2% or +69.1 million US dollars), Croatia (+24.3% or +51.4 million US dollars) and France (+15.8% or +22.0 million US dollars). Bosnia and Herzegovina increased purchases of corn (from 36.8 to 53.8 million US dollars), wheat (from 18.8 to 35.3 million US dollars) and sunflower oil (from 18.3 to 33.4 million US dollars). Serbia has increased exports to Croatia of chocolate confectionery (from 9.6 to 17.9 million US dollars), corn (from 7.0 to 13.5 million US dollars). and animal feed products, except for dog and cat food (from 4.6 to 10.5 million US dollars). Berry exports to France increased by 19.4% (from 80.3 to 96.0 million US dollars).

At the same time, Serbian exports of agricultural products to Romania significantly decreased (-45.2% or -238.8 million US dollars), the main reason for which was a decrease in purchases of corn (from 302.3 to 125.7 million US dollars) and wheat (from 129.8 to 61.1 million US dollars).