Makers of Zuta Osa, one of the country’s most successful strong beverages, say the authorities have double standards when deciding who to help with their exports.
Producers of one of Serbia’s best known alcoholic beverages are complaining of government indifference to their export drive, after officials refused to help them with funds.
Flores, Serbia’s best known company producing “rakija” – fruit brandy – says it got a cold shoulder from the Agriculture Ministry when it asked for help in stimulating exports.
Zuta Osa (Yellow Wasp) is a natural plum brandy with a 45 per cent alcohol content. It has won 13 gold medals in leading exhibitions and fairs across the world.
But Zuta Osa does not have protection under the law as an alcoholic beverage with specific geographical indications.
According to ministry regulations, only exporters of agricultural products that meet those requirements are entitled to state subsidies.
Miomir Pljakic, of Flores, said state support for the firm had fallen steadily in recent years – to zero this year.
He said this was ironic, as officials routinely declared that agricultural exports should be the backbone of the country’s economic development.
According to Pljakic, the agriculture ministry also practiced double standards when it came to handing out funds.
“Does this mean that we have to block roads in order to get what we are entitled to?” Pljakic asked, referring to farmers in the northern Vojvodina province who received fresh offers of subsidies after blocking roads with tractors in June.Google+