The 'Vojvodina Premium Food to Japan' event marked the culmination of the 'Strengthening the Competitiveness of Vojvodina Food Products' project, a collaboration between the Development Agency of Vojvodina (RAV) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The project's main objective is to assist local companies in gaining insights into the Japanese market and exploring opportunities for exporting to Japan.
As part of the project, JICA provided a food quality and health consultant, Akiko Terasawa, who collaborated with RAV to identify companies with significant potential for exporting to Japan. The focus was on farms with finished processing products and micro/small businesses involved in producing organic, healthy, and premium food categories.
During the event, nine domestic premium food producers showcased their products to the Japanese business community residing and working in Serbia. It was an exceptional culinary experience, allowing guests to savor a variety of excellent Vojvodina healthy foods, including truffle products, organic raspberry jam, natural wines, and more.
Over the past ten months, these producers underwent business and product evaluations, received education on Japanese business ethics, learned about the Japanese food market, import procedures, quarantine processes for food products, logistics, and product insurance, among other topics.
The participating companies and their premium products included Truff Truff (truffle products), Real Red Raspberry (organic raspberry products), Patewski (chickpea spreads), Om made (healthy snacks), Granum (healthy food), Bliss Honey (honey spreads), Basha and Sagmeister Winery (natural wines), and Carpe Diem (goat's milk protein drinks).
Tetsuya Cubota, Counselor of the Embassy of Japan in the Republic of Serbia, expressed delight in participating in an event centered around food, which holds great significance for Vojvodina. He emphasized the enduring friendship between Serbia and Japan, spanning over 140 years, and hoped that this new culinary focus would further deepen bilateral relations.
Masahiro Ueki, Director of JICA's Balkans offices, acknowledged Vojvodina's reputation for quality and diverse agricultural products, making them attractive to foreigners. He commended the collaboration between JICA and RAV, highlighting the selection of nine companies that are now prepared to export to the Japanese market.
Entrepreneur Tatjana Avramov, owner of Real Red Raspberry, highlighted the project's importance in familiarizing her with the requirements of the Japanese market, particularly in terms of importing food. Through site visits and educational sessions on paperwork and transportation, the project provided valuable insights into the potential and requirements of the premium food sector in Japan.
Sanja Melkuš, entrepreneur and owner of Truff Truff, expressed satisfaction with the project, stating that it allowed her to gain knowledge about Japanese culture, business practices, and dietary preferences. She was delighted to see positive feedback from the Japanese community in Serbia and envisioned her brand being featured in premium Japanese stores.