Italy's Ferrero chocolate makers to invest in Serbia

Sign agreement to buy 1,000 ha from Serbian government

06 February, 19:27

    (ANSAmed) - BELGRADE, FEBRUARY 6 - Leading Italian chocolate makers Ferrero on Thursday agreed to buy 1,000 hectares of land from the Serbian government to grow hazelnut plantations for an undisclosed amount.

    The agreement was signed by Ferrero representatives Arduino Borgogno and William Fulci and by Serbian Agriculture Minister Dragan Glamocic in the presence of Italian Foreign Affairs Secretary General Michele Valensise, who is in Belgrade for talks with Serbian lawmakers, and Italian Ambassador Giuseppe Manzo.

    The accord also includes cooperation by Ferrero with individual agricultural producers in central and southern Serbia.

    ''This agreement memorandum will help Serbia become a European center of hazelnut production, create new agriculture jobs, and bring new technology to Serbia'', said Glamocic, adding plantations could expand to 10,000 hectares in the next decade. ''Italy's government and institutions as well as Italian companies believe in Serbia'', said Valensise.

    ''The economic fabric of Italy is made up of dynamic companies who are looking abroad. I am glad to see this dynamism in the Ferrero group, which has shown intelligence and foresight by investing in Serbia. Our hope is that other Italian companies will follow this example, and that this will be accompanied by an improved business environment in Serbia'', the foreign affairs secretary general said.

    Italy ''has been very committed to bringing Serbia closer to the EU and we intend to continue following this line, since EU accession negotiations began on January 21'', Valensise went on.

    ''We will continue supporting those negotiations, especially during our duty EU presidency beginning on July 1. We are very happy to be Serbia's best advocates in Brussels, even though Serbia does not need advocates'', Valensise concluded.

    (ANSAmed).

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