In 2008, the Serbian Government signed a Stabilization and Association Agreement with the EU, adopting a timeframe for the gradual removal of trade barriers. Nine years later, during 2017, the Government drafted a law authorizing foreign ownership of up to two hectares of agricultural land, provided that a 10-year citizenship of the buyer has preceded the purchase and that the buyer has been performing agricultural work on this land for at least 3 years.
Foreign individuals and legal entities were explicitly forbidden to own agricultural land in Serbia so far but the proposed amendments are designed to comply with the provisions of the Stabilization and Association Agreement of Serbia with the EU, which sets equal rights of citizens of EU and Serbia for the purchase of agricultural land.
An EU citizen may purchase privately-owned agricultural land by way of a legal transaction either for a fee or free of charge, under the conditions prescribed by this law. This regulation applies only to physical persons. However, any legal entity - a Serbian company with 100 RSD of founding capital - can purchase land.
Agriculture in Serbia has steadily been on the rise. In 2016, agriculture accounted for 11.9 percent of GDP, an increase of 2.4 percentage points over 2015, mainly due to very favorable weather conditions and record crops.
Serbia also offers numerous agriculture-related incentives, including incentives for the purchase of new agricultural machinery, irrigation equipment and insurance policies for production. In February 2017, the Government of Serbia adopted a new Rulebook on the allocation of subsidies for agricultural production and rural development.