More than 90% of the crop is sold on the plantation – He came back from Belgium and made a business out of cherries in Tarevci near Modriča

The Modrička region has always been known for the production of cherries, and now it is recognizable for the cherries of Sakib Sarvan, who returned from Belgium with his wife Muma 13 years ago, built a farm in Tarevci near Modriča, and today has become one of the largest producers, reports

– 50 years ago, this area was known for cherries, which were a profitable type of fruit, and my grandfather and uncle, who were the best cherry pickers, transported cherries across the Sava. So there is a tradition, but I wasn’t aware that they were doing it. Due to circumstances, in Belgium I met a man who grows cherries and then when I returned I started this business – says Sakib.

He first dug the lake.
On three dunums, he planted about three thousand seedlings of 20 different varieties, most of them on gisela rootstock.

– The cherry is large and of relatively good quality, and the yields per tree go up to 10, and some do not even weigh three or four kilograms – adds this host and says that everything depends on the stage of fertilization when there were those high temperatures in April , from 30 to 32 degrees.

Then, he adds, the strong sun probably fried some of the flower’s elements.

– Many people complain about more damage, but this is somehow an area suitable for cherries and I managed to save a lot – says Saravan, adding that there were better years, but he is satisfied.
When he decided to go into cherry production, he first dug a lake from which he draws water for irrigation, which was advised by people in Belgium.

– Over the years, rainfall is less and less, so an irrigation system is necessary. Since the beginning of the year alone, I have irrigated the plantation five times. Cherry does not like closed basins. She prefers the hill. He likes the water to come and go, he doesn’t like neglected grounds. It is necessary to have irrigation, without irrigation it does not work – says this man from Modričan.

Cordia doesn’t work at all
In his cherry tree, he says, it does best and he is most satisfied with the Markant or Marchant variety, which is rated three stars in the literature, while he has no good experience with one of the best, even the best cordia varieties.

– Some two or three years ago I had a visit from Germany. Experienced cherry pickers came to visit my orchard. Then I had a question about which variety I would never plant and I told them that Cordia, the best variety in the world, I would never plant again. In 13 years, she gave birth to me only three times, and I think I’m going to pull her out. And that’s a miracle for everyone – says Sakib.

Almost the whole crop is sold on the plantation.

If the cherry is grown on a larger area, it can be well earned. This producer sorts them into first and second class, which is why they have gained the trust of customers, so 95 percent of the crop is sold on the plantation.

– In Europe right now or in Croatia, in the nearest neighborhood, 12 euros is a kilogram of cherries, that says it all. It’s not like that here, it’s three euros on average – Sarvan points out. There is no shortage of manpower

At Sarvan, there is no shortage of labor on the plantation, and currently there are 10 pickers, while in the height of the season that number will be much higher, even up to 50. According to this host, the work is not required, picking is done from 7 a.m. to 12 p.m., and sometimes is sometimes sung along with the harvest.

For the fourth year, Sanela Fazlić from Tarevi, who has good experience, is in the harvest.

– That’s probably why I came back, and I come back every year. What is important when harvesting is that they are with a stem, that the branches do not break during harvesting and that the cherry is picked when ripe – says Sanela.

Aida Gušić from Modriča agrees that Sarvan is a good host and that everyone is happy to return.

– The conditions are extra, I came here to rest. I do that every year. As a yearling, he comes to me and I find company. If you want to work, nothing is difficult for him – says Aida.

In addition to the regular pickers and the more experienced ones, there are always some new ones, and this season they are Viktor and Tarik. As they say, they see this as a great opportunity to make money during the holidays, and the most demanding thing is to climb, while everything else is easy.

Side by side with his wife Muma’s wife is side by side with Sakib on the plantation, and is his only help in the off-season work. The Sarvans have all the necessary machinery, but when it comes to pruning, only a skilled hand and knowledge helps, and they do it all themselves.

– Everything with him. I was just curious, that I could help him, so I managed to overcome that as well. Even though I can’t prune like he still does, he still has to inspect the tree that I prune, but slowly – says Muma.

The cherry also requires preventive measures, so it is necessary to treat it five times during the year.

– The most important treatments are sometime in November and February. That’s what many say, but we’ll see later. It is a preventive measure for the future, and with that you eliminate about 80 percent of all problems that will befall you. Anyway, cherry is not demanding because I think that the area around Modriča, Gradačac, Brčko, and even Bijeljina, Majevica are God-given for cherry production and there is no problem there – says Sakib.

There was no lack of support.
The Saravans point out that they are satisfied with the municipal and republican incentives, thanks to which they acquired the necessary machinery, while they invested significant funds in the modernization of the cherry tree.

– Everything that was from the state, entity, I got. Honestly, I can’t say I’m not happy about it. For other farmers who are not skilled, they complain, the deadline passes and then our administration… We need to bring these demands closer to our peasants, how to get funds – says Sakib and adds that in the coming years he does not plan to expand the plantation, but will try to to maintain the existing production and to continue to offer customers quality, juicy and tasty cherries.