Center for Practical support and training of farmers - CEPEF

Youth initiative for agricultural revolution

This association of agricultural engineers was established in May 2011, in order to work on improving the quality of production and education of farmers. Serbia is known as a country with a variety of agricultural resources, which are under-used, so there is a market gap. This group of young people has realized it at the time, and take all of relevant information related to agricultural production in set of the standards, and their plan is to assist farmers to apply them

from Belgrade, SERBIA

The aim of this association is to develop standards in agriculture, and to assist those who want to organize agricultural production and see their future in it. The principle on which they wish to operate is collecting of standards and taking the most important things from each, adapting them to our climatic conditions and geographic region.

Vladimir Vučetić, CEO and founder of the Center, decided to gather ideas from a team of professional engineers of agriculture, and offer them to ordinary people, who are just entering the agribusiness, as well as to atraditional manufacturers as a guidelines and framework for the work.

WAVE magazine in an interview with Vladimir managed to find out the origin of the idea for this project.

- I own approximately 2 ha of agricultural land near Ovča, and I decided to start planting an apple. I spoke to three agricultural engineers for help, and got three completely different answers, and thus realized that the farmers in Serbia need complete consulting for agricultural production on one place. Then I got the idea to form an association of agricultural engineers and to form teams of experts from all fields of agriculture, which will set specific standards for assistance to farmers and thus enable them to work and continuously achieve the best results.

You have experience with other businesses, how does that fit into this whole story with the farmers? In which parts do they overlap, and in which are diametrically opposite?

- My experience is directly related to the field of management. I participated in the establishment, development and organization of many projects and companies, and thus gained enough experience to make this idea come true. I believe that the knowledge and experience in management can help young people in CEPEF to recognize the importance of this project, to motivate them to work and help them to develop themselves into a real business persons.

Do you think that the consciousness of people in Serbia is well developed in this direction in order to accept the advice of professionals and agree to change their traditional modes of production?

- It is true that farmers in Serbia are devoted to traditional production methods, and that they rarely decide to change their methods. The traditional way of agricultural production is very important, but anyone who wants to improve their production and significantly participate in the market with their products must accept the modernization of agriculture and has to bring innovation to his farm. I'm sure that farmers in Serbia have realized that the development and improvement of their farms requires cooperation with experts in agricultural institutions. Also they are aware that cooperation is reflected in introduction of standards in agricultural production and that is the only way they can improve their businesses.

How long-term picture do you have in mind when it comes to this project?

- CEPEF is a really huge and long-term project. It covers all areas of agriculture and therefore has the ability to expand continuously. All people who are part of this project know that it takes a lot of will, work, patience and time to put things in the right place, but also all of them share the view that this is a unique opportunity for agricultural engineers to work in a real business environment. It is difficult now to talk about the time it takes to achieve the desired level, because CEPEF project is simply not possible to predict, but it is certain that results will come at the right time.

Is there some standard that you want to look like or you are creating something entirely new?

- CEPEF standards will certainly be unique, because it will be a mix of tradition and modernization. It is necessary to preserve the best of tradition and introduce new technologies in agricultural production at the same time. We must copy example from the countries, which are succeessful in agricultural production. For example, the Netherlands and France for a long time have a good cooperation between institutions and agricultural farms and this cooperation contributed the most to their development of agriculture.

And finally, do you have any message for young people, agricultural engineers, and potential farmers, who are just starting production?

- They always must work on themselves, always must be active and engaged, thereby to acquire the work habits and work experience, that's the best way to make their own complete business personalities.

(Published: 25.02.2012.)

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Center for Practical support and training of farmers - CEPEF
Youth initiative for agricultural revolution