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GMOs law in agriculture and husbandry, Serbia


The Law on Genetically Modified Organisms from 2009 forbids growing, trade and transport of GMOs in Serbia.

However, in 2011, the changes of the Law that would liberalize the trade of GMOs were suggested as one of the requirements of admission to the EU and the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Since then, various citizen groups and NGOs, supported by green party, some parliamentary deputies, Serbian scientists, experts and celebrities organized protest, street marches, and signing petitions against modification of the Law. The activists suggested introducing a 20 years moratorium on GMOs, while the experts proposed holding a national referendum to decide on the issue.

During 2012 and 2013, 111 out of 198 municipal governments in Serbia banned growing and trade of GMOs in their territories. Despite this, many farmers around Serbia are planting GMO soybean due to its lower costs of production. According to the Law, these fields should be destroyed and owners penalized. Farmers, however, have asked the government to either subsidies the non-GMO agricultural production, or change the Law so they could legally produce GMO crops. The experts also state that GMO corn and soybean, as well as meat from chicken, beef and pork fed with these crops, have been illegally imported to Serbia, and as such are not properly labelled as GMO products. The country does not count with a national laboratory for food inspection, despite of the several million of euros invested in this problem over the years.

After the big floods in Serbia in May 2014, Monsanto donated corn seed worth of 375,000 USD to the farmers in affected areas. In a response to the accusations in the media, the company and the Serbian government claimed the seeds were conventional and non-genetically modified. This was followed with another scandal in June 2014, when the media reported that McDonald’s burgers contained meat of chicken fed with GMO crops. The Law modifications is high in the agenda of Serbian parliament, particularly as Serbia is about to open Chapter 30 of the EU accession negotiations - concerning foreign economic relations. The Ministry of agriculture and environmental protection claims that Serbia will not allow production of GMO soya on its territory, due to the economic benefits of exporting non-GMO soya to the EU.  In May 2015, Serbian government allowed use of "Danube Soya” label for GMO-free animal products in order to protect the consumers in Serbia. The government, however, have not convinced the representatives of academia who think the law has been already changed and just waiting to be approved without consultation with civil society and professionals. 

Basic Data

Name of conflict:GMOs law in agriculture and husbandry, Serbia
Location of conflict:Belgrade
Accuracy of locationLOW (Country level)

Source of Conflict

Type of conflict: 1st level:Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Management)
Type of conflict: 2nd level :GMOs
Specific commodities:GMOs

Project Details and Actors

Project details:

Project area:3,800,000
Level of Investment:80,000,000
Type of populationUnknown
Affected Population:7,000,000
Start of the conflict:2011
Company names or state enterprises:Monsanto Corporation (Monsanto Co) from United States of America - Provision of corn seeds to flood-affected farmers
McDonalds from United States of America - Use of meat of chicken fed with GMO crops
Relevant government actors:The Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection; Government of the Republic of Serbia; National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia; Municipal goverments
International and Finance InstitutionsWorld Trade Organisation (WTO) - Demand modification of the GMO in order to let Serbia access the EU
European Union (EU) - Demand modification of the GMO in order to let Serbia access the EU
Danube Soya - "Danube Soya" label for GMO-free animal products have been used in Serbia since May 2015
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Ekoloski pokret Novog Sada:; Ekoloski pokret Srbije; Srbija bez GMO:; Zdrava zemlja:; Zeleni Srbije:; Serbia Organica; Organic Control System; CEKOR; Terras; Asocijacija poljoprivrednika Srbije; Zelena mreza Vojvodine; Natura balkanika; Centar Dunav soja; Celebrities: Emir Kusturica.

Conflict and Mobilization

IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of mobilization:Development of a network/collective action
Development of alternative proposals
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Referendum other local consultations
Street protest/marches

Impacts of the project

Environmental ImpactsVisible: Genetic contamination
Potential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation
Health ImpactsVisible: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…)
Potential: Malnutrition, Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures


Project StatusProposed (exploration phase)
Conflict outcome / response:The conflict is ongoing. There were no changes in the positions of involved actors.
Development of alternatives:The activists opted for 20 years moratorium on GMOs. The experts suggested holding a national referendum to decide on the issue, as well as consulting the professionals on changing the Law. In addition, the academia representatives support establishment of Association of Municipalities and Cities signatories of the declaration "Serbia without GMO" and their joining to the European GMO-free Network.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:The Law on Genetically Modified Organisms from the 2009 is still in force. However, the Law modification proposal is high in the parliament’s agenda as Serbia is on its way to access the EU. Additionally, there was no answer to the proposals made by the opponents. On the positive side is that the Serbian government has recognised economic benefits of exporting non-GMO soya to the EU.

Sources and Materials

Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

The Law on GMOs- Zakon o geneticki modifikovanim organizmima "Sl. glasnik RS", br. 41/2009."

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

Uzgoj GMO u Srbiji uprkos zabrani

GMO polemics in Serbia

Serbia to scrap genetically modified food ban

Serbian WTO membership declined due to GMO

Stop GMO u Srbiji

Pištaljka: Mekdonalds prodaje GMO piletinu

Primese o GMO u hrani moraju da se obeleze

GMO se masovno uvozi

Oprez: Modificirana soja na poljima i trpezi

Uvaljuju nam GMO: Monsanto donirao seme poplavljenim podrucjima!

Zabranjena GMO soja na mačvanskim njivama

Do tri miliona dinara kazne za gajenje GMO hrane

Stop GMO protest in Belgrade in December 2013

Održani skupovi na temu ‘Zaustavimo GMO u Srbiji’

"Zbog GMO ćemo gubiti milijarde"

Srbija pred ultimatumom

Skrining završen, još zakon o GMO


Srbija je jedina zemlja koja proizvodi "non GMO" soju

Ostanimo zemlja bez GMO

GMO news related to Serbia

New Law on GMO is prohibiting trade or commercial growing of GMO

Modifikovana soja caruje Vojvodinom

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Uzgoj GMO u Srbiji uprkos zabrani

Srbija se priprema za dozvolu prometa GMO

Srbija seje GMO soju iz nuzde

RTS Emisija OKO

Ekoprotest 2013

GMO, 27. OKTOBAR 2015

Stop GMO protest in Belgrade in December 2013

Other documents

"The people have the power"-“Građani imaju moć” Citizens protesting against GMO, Belgrade, May 2013

Protest against GMO Details from the protest in front of the national assembly in Belgrade, December 2013

Meta information

Contributor:Jovanka Spiric, Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona, vankajo(at)
Last update11/04/2016



Protest against GMO

Details from the protest in front of the national assembly in Belgrade, December 2013

"The people have the power"-“Građani imaju moć”

Citizens protesting against GMO, Belgrade, May 2013