Diversity and Wealth of the Municipality of Novi Bečej: Geographic Monograph with Overview of Natural Characteristics, Population, Economy, and Settlements

Explore the deeply rooted natural charms and economic potentials of the Municipality of Novi Bečej through a comprehensive geographical monograph. Familiarize yourself with fascinating aspects of the terrain, geology, climate, water bodies, flora, and fauna, while simultaneously delving into vibrant settlements and diverse industries. This informative book provides valuable insights into the richness of this unique Vojvodina region, offering a broad spectrum of information useful for education, regional planning, and preserving local identity.

Agriculture thriving in Novi Bečej subregion, contributing significantly to the local economy. Social and individual sectors collaborate for sustainable growth.
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Agriculture in Novi Bečej in the 20th century: Development, land structure and social sector

Among the leading branches of the economy, agriculture and industry hold the first two positions. Agriculture, as an economic sector, has multiple significances. Serving as a producer of food and raw materials for the industry, it plays vital roles in the municipality's economy. There are highly favorable natural and economic conditions for the development of this economic activity. Out of the total area of the Novi Bečej subregion, which amounts to 60,961 hectares, arable land constitutes 70.5%. The majority of these areas, owing to favorable morphological, chemical, physical, and biological characteristics, represent fertile and productive soil.

In the structure of total land areas, agricultural land accounted for 90.2% in 1970, forest land 1.7%, and non-arable land 8.1%. Efforts have been consistently made since the beginning of modern intensive agriculture to reduce non-arable land through improvement, afforestation, and conversion into productive soil, but these results cannot yet be considered satisfactory.

Of the total agricultural land in 1978, the social sector owned 29,658 hectares, or 54.63%. A relatively high degree of socialization in the land ownership structure was achieved in arable land. In the presented structure, the social sector owned 16,443 hectares, or 40.46% of arable land. The significant excess over the individual sector is a consequence of extensive pasture areas exceeding 13,000 hectares owned by the social sector.

The land structure based on purpose and use indicates a high presence of pastures in total agricultural land (24.57%). Since pastures have low production significance, they significantly contribute to the negative aspect of land structure in the municipality. There is a very low representation of areas under orchards and vineyards, despite highly favorable natural conditions for fruit and grape production.

From 1973 to 1979, land consolidation was carried out in the Novi Bečej subregion with the aim of creating more favorable and rational conditions for land cultivation and comprehensive land boundary management (facilitating drainage works, adequate construction of main and secondary roads). This action involved the relocation and consolidation of properties, especially in the social sector ownership. Several parcels of around 500 hectares were formed, and one of them, in the wetland zone, reached a size of 2,800 hectares.

Efforts were also made to consolidate numerous smaller parcels of individual properties and, wherever possible, locate them in one place. Comparative analyses of individual properties before and after consolidation, by cadastral municipalities, best illustrate the achievements in this regard. For example, in the cadastral municipality of Bočar, before consolidation, the average parcel size was 96 ares, and after consolidation — 2 hectares and 40 ares. In Novo Miloševo, the average parcel size increased from 65 ares to 2 hectares and 14 ares, and in the Novi Bečej territory, from 82 ares to 4 hectares. Due to the difference in land class, which was taken from private landowners in one place and given in another, successful land relocation and accurate determination of the size of all properties created a special land fund of 1,621 hectares, which passed into the ownership of the socialist sector. Thus, the enlarged social property approached the size of the total individual agricultural land ownership.

In addition to consolidating properties, which enabled the introduction of large-scale machinery and increased labor productivity, certain results were achieved in organizational restructuring, various forms of cooperative relationships, expansion of machinery, and the application of modern agrotechnical and agrochemical measures, as well as the expansion and use of irrigation systems, etc. By successfully combining natural-geographic factors with the mentioned socio-economic changes, conditions were created for intensifying agricultural production and achieving notable results in food production.

It has already been mentioned that agricultural production in the Novi Bečej subregion occurs in both the social and individual sectors. However, the increasingly pronounced collaboration between these two sectors based on various cooperative relationships is of particular importance. In addition to traditional forms of cooperation, the development of cooperation is based on the principles of combining labor, resources, and land.

The agricultural sector's contribution to the municipality's social product remains very high. When comparing the situation in 1975 and 1978, there is a noticeable decline in the share of agricultural production in the creation of the municipality's total social product. The second part of the observed period indicates a three-year period in which the declining trend initiated was not maintained. This is primarily due to unachieved results in the municipality's industrial development.

The social development plan of the municipality envisages a reduction in the agricultural sector's share of the social product to only 25.5% by 1985. This ambitious plan is conditioned by the timely completion of all industrial facilities and the intensification of industrial production in all its areas within the municipality's territory.

The social sector of agricultural production within the municipality is consolidated under the Agricultural-Industrial Organization "Biserno ostrvo" (hereinafter AIO "Biserno ostrvo"), headquartered in Novi Bečej. This giant agricultural organization resulted from the integration of smaller agricultural organizations and industrial facilities within the municipality. The integration process was carried out in 1971 and 1972, creating an agro-industrial complex covering arable and livestock production as well as food industrial processing. This laid the foundation for specialized and high-intensity production.

After completing the integration processes within the municipality, the Agricultural-Industrial Organization "Biserno ostrvo" integrated with the Industrial-Agricultural Combine "Servo Mihalj" from Zrenjanin.

The production basis of AIO "Biserno ostrvo" includes agricultural land, perennial plantations, necessary buildings, equipment, built storage space, specialized drying facilities, livestock, and other production capacities. In addition, the workforce, with developed work habits and abilities for agricultural production, holds special importance. All of this has enabled the development of diverse crop farming, fruit growing, viticulture, livestock farming, and industrial production.

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