Vlada republike SrbijeGovernment of the Republic of Serbia


Youth and Agriculture – The Right Combination

Published 22.12.2017.

Author: E2E Youth Employment Initiative (Social Inclusion Blog)

DAFFOn the slopes of the Jelica Mountain, the peace and quiet is interrupted only by the chirping of birds. On one side, rows of raspberry bushes, on the other, grazing sheep, and in the distance a field of freshly harvested corn.

We came to visit Dragiša Grujović, a 23-year-old farmer who received financial aid under the DAFF programme for sheep-farming.

So how did it all begin?

“After graduating from the mechanical engineering and traffic school, I worked for two and a half years in a company. I can do all kinds of farm work, so then I decided to see whether I could earn more working on my farm, and be my own boss”, Dragiša tells us.

DAFF“My mother read about the DAFF training online, and she suggested I apply. I decided to broaden my knowledge, and see what happens. Over the course of the training we visited agricultural holdings, and saw what people were doing. For instance, we visited a goat farm, and that caught my interest. My family has had sheep for a long time, and I’ve been helping my mother from an early age, we have the space, and our own machinery. The only thing we didn’t have was the money to buy the parent herd. After the training we developed business plans, and I guess they liked mine best”, with a smile, Dragiša recalls how his business plan was awarded a grant. He used the grant to buy a parent herd of ten ewes and one ram, which makes him eligible to receive additional subsidies from the state.

“I plan to continue the sheep-breeding and fruit-growing business, and farm work. In the meantime I also enrolled in college, and am now a second-year student at the Business and Finance Department of the Belgrade Business School. You can make a good living farming, start a family”, says Dragiša.

What is the DAFF programme?

The DAFF programme (Development Agriculture Fund Fenomena) was established two and a half years ago, to support the development of sustainable agriculture in Serbia, and as a social entrepreneurship initiative.

DAFF“We’ve been thinking about the sustainability of our programme and realized that nothing can be accomplished without youth – they are simply more open to new models of cooperation. That’s how we came up with the agribusiness start-up training programme for youth. It is a complex programme, as it involves many partners from several districts. The training has a theoretical and a practical component: there are three 3-day modules, and at least one day within each of the modules focuses on developing business plans. The trainings take place in an agricultural holding so that the trainees get to see how it all works. Lecturers from the Regional Development Agency help them turn their ideas into a business plan”, explains Aneta Dukić from DAFF.

This is now the second year in a row that DAFF is organizing trainings, primarily designed for hard-to-place youth up to 30 years of age, with the financial support of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. The number of business plans has increased relative to the first year, and the targeting is now more accurate, so that there are now more applicants with connections to agriculture, meaning that they have either graduated from a related school or faculty, or live in agricultural holdings and want to work there.

DAFF“When we receive an application from someone like Dragiša, we know we have the ideal candidate for this programme. Someone who not only wants to stay in the village due to the lack of employment opportunities in the city, but also knows what this kind of work entails. Those who genuinely know the business, and genuinely want to get into it always stand out. For instance, a female participant in the first phase of the project, now a goat farm owner, is an excellent example of that. In the last phase we involved her in the project as a collaborator, to present her good practice example to the new group of trainees”, notes Marija Petronijević from DAFF.

Are young people interested in taking up farming?

“Farming is not popular with young people in Serbia, but is slowly gaining recognition. Our goal is to boost youth entrepreneurship in the agribusiness sector, and by participating in the Youth Employment Initiative we were able to develop various segments: 40 young trainees completed the training, we at DAFF learnt a lot, met new partners, we now have more support available in our fund.

Innovations are a rare occurrence, especially in the villages, unless there is someone in the village to set the example. Furthermore, with no young people in the villages, nobody will invest in the Internet, roads or infrastructure. This is why it important for DAFF, through its trainings, to create a group of at least a dozen young people, who are genuine examples of good practice, who can reach and resonate with their own generation, and tell them: “We are farmers, we can make a living off it and we’re having a good time. Serbian villages are a good place to live”, concludes Marija.


This article was originally published on the Social Inclusion Blog.

The E2E project has been supporting youth employment and employability in Serbia since 2015. The Youth Employment Initiative is part of the Education to Employment (Е2Е) programme, funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, implemented by the Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit of the Government of Serbia. If you want to learn more about the project, click here: www.socijalnoukljucivanje.gov.rs/YEI and znanjemdoposla.rs




Leave a Comment

Leave a comment




Related news



Braća Mohamadi, Maks i Alen (desno), ispred svoje kancelarije u Sodermalmu ©Chris Welsch
Braća Mohamadi, Maks i Alen (desno), ispred svoje kancelarije u Sodermalmu ©Chris Welsch Kada su braća Mohamadi izgubila voljenu osobu zbog [...]
Fri, Nov 01, 2019
Source: Inkluzija blog
Sandra Rej, osnivačica kompanije Glowee, u svojoj laboratoriji u okolini Pariza ©Chris Welsch
Sandra Rej, osnivačica kompanije Glowee, u svojoj laboratoriji u okolini Pariza ©Chris Welsch Francuska dizajnerka proizvodi svetlo bez električne energije Dok je [...]
Fri, Oct 25, 2019
Source: Inkluzija blog
Milutin (foto: Sara Ristić)
Milutin (foto: Sara Ristić) Razgovor vodila: Dragana Nikoletić Milutin Savić zvani Milutko nosilac je laskave titule najkreativnijeg prodavca magazina Liceulice. Kad bi [...]
Mon, Oct 21, 2019
Source: Inkluzija blog
Učenje o emocionalnoj inteligenciji kroz igru ©Chris Welsch
Učenje o emocionalnoj inteligenciji kroz igru ©Chris Welsch Švedska start-up kompanija Peppy Pals (Živahni drugari) osmislila je aplikaciju sa likovima životinja, [...]
Fri, Oct 18, 2019
Source: Inkluzija blog
Stefan na treningu
Dok sam bio mali sport me nije mnogo interesovao. Kada su i prikazivane utakmice na televiziji, više sam voleo sam [...]
Wed, Oct 16, 2019
Source: Inkluzija blog


Third National Report on Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction in the Republic of Serbia for the Period 2014–2017
February, 2019 arrow right pdf [5 MB]
National Employment Action Plan for the Year 2019
February, 2019 arrow right pdf [732 KB]
Gender Equality Index for the Republic of Serbia
December, 2018 arrow right pdf [7 MB]
Assessment of Absolute Poverty in Serbia in 2017
October, 2018 arrow right pdf [226 KB]
Periodic evaluation of the local youth employment initiative programmes
October, 2018 arrow right pdf [486 KB]
Monitoring Social Inclusion in Republic of Serbia – Third Revised Edition
November, 2017 arrow right pdf [2 MB]
Poverty in the Republic of Serbia for the Period 2006–2016 – Revised and New Data
September, 2017 arrow right pdf [906 KB]
Mapping Social Care Service within the Mandate of Local Governments in the Republic of Serbia (2015) – Report
May, 2017 arrow right pdf [4 MB] arrow right docx [2 MB]