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.

Economic development of Novi Bečej in the 20th century: Stagnation and the first tendencies of change

The development of the economy in the Novi Bečej subregion is characterized by two periods. Before the Second World War, economic activity in the municipality was very uniform, primarily focused on agricultural production. The initial foundations of industrial production included brick and tile manufacturing, as well as flour and dairy product production in the food industry. These were modest capacities that only hinted at the future development of certain industrial sectors. Some types of crafts were more developed, making craftsmanship a significant economic branch in the municipality, especially in Novi Bečej.

In addition to the mentioned structure, the economy of the Novi Bečej subregion was complemented by a few financial institutions, whose limited resources had a minor impact on the intensification of the region's economy. When combined with a very poor and undeveloped transportation infrastructure, mainly consisting of a railway line, it becomes clear that the basic conditions for post-war economic development in this area were unfavorable.

This structure and modest scale of economic activity did not significantly change until the 1960s. Only minor changes occurred in agriculture, where the development of the socialistic sector of agricultural production, through the formation of agricultural cooperatives and agricultural estates, strengthened the material base and increased production. In all other economic activities, especially in industry, capacities, techniques, and technologies remained almost at the same level of production. Among the smaller workshops established in this period, the significance of metal processing activities and the production of clothing and footwear stands out.

Comparing the economic development of this region with the development of other subregions in Vojvodina and the province as a whole, it can be concluded that the analyzed period until 1960 was essentially a period of stagnation. After insignificant economic development in the following decade, between 1960 and 1970, a significant turning point and changes in economic development occurred. In this period, the process of expanding and modernizing already established production capacities began. Earlier workshops, with predominantly artisanal forms of production, evolved into more developed capacities with an industrial character. This period is also characterized by the development of new economic activities such as construction, transportation, and some types of crafts that accompany the development of a modern economy. More intensive land cultivation, the application of modern agro-technical and agrochemical measures, and the development of intensive animal husbandry led to a significant increase in agricultural production. During this period, road communications connecting all settlements in the Novi Bečej subregion were constructed. Thanks to all these activities, the stagnation in development was overcome, and the relative lag behind the average development pace of SAP Vojvodina was halted.

Positive development trends from the aforementioned period continued in the following decade, from 1971 to 1980. This period is characterized by further reduction in the relative lag behind the pace of development of the entire province. The pace of economic development in the municipality increased, and the economy as a whole developed more rapidly than the average in Vojvodina. However, despite the efforts and achieved results, influenced by the earlier significant economic backwardness, the Novi Bečej subregion still finds itself at the bottom among developed municipalities in SAP Vojvodina.

By comparing the national income of the Novi Bečej subregion with SAP Vojvodina, as well as the economic structure with the structure of the Vojvodina economy and its percentage share in it, the economic development of the municipality and its position in the broader Vojvodina region can be more clearly understood.

Analysis of the movement of the national income in 1971 and 1975 reveals an overall mild ascent, as well as an increase in income derived from agriculture, industry, and other activities. In 1971, the total national income of the municipality contributed 0.17% to the national income of Vojvodina, and five years later, in 1975, it increased to 1.28%. The national income from industry, in millions of dinars, rose from 41.2 to 148.4 in 1975. Its share in the Vojvodina national income acquired through this basis increased from 0.72% to 0.90%. Agriculture also experienced a significant jump, with the national income from agriculture in the municipality increasing from 141.8 million dinars to 363.4 million dinars, and from other activities from 64.4 to 160.8 million dinars.

With the overall increase in the national income and the rise of agriculture and industry, according to the indicators from 1975, the municipality of Novi Bečej occupied a middle position among other subregions in Vojvodina. In the five-year period from 1971 to 1975, significant changes occurred in the economic structure of SAP Vojvodina and the municipality of Novi Bečej. According to the production potentials in millions of dinars, by economic sectors, the most significant changes occurred in industry. In Vojvodina, the production potential of industry increased from 5,697.2 in 1975 to 16,417.9 million dinars, while in the Novi Bečej subregion, this increase was much greater, with the industrial production potential increasing from 22.4 to 128.3 million dinars. During the same period, the production potential of agriculture doubled in both the municipality and the province. In other sectors of the economy, the Novi Bečej subregion also achieved a noticeable rise, with the production potential of other sectors increasing from 40 million dinars to 182.3 million dinars. The total increase in the production potential of the municipality for all economic activities was realized from 189.0 to 566.1 million dinars.

In the analyzed period, industry increased its share in the overall economic potential of the municipality from 11.83% to 22.66%. Agriculture, with a share of 67.05% in 1975, reduced its participation to 45.14%, while other sectors of the economy increased their share from 21.12% to 32.20%. It is noteworthy that, in terms of overall production potentials, Novi Bečej municipality ranked nineteenth among other subregions in Vojvodina, a significant advancement achieved during the observed period.

According to available data, the economic upturn of the Novi Bečej subregion continued from 1975 to 1980. In the mid-term social development plan from 1976 to 1980, priority was given to economic areas that, in a way, altered the economic structure of the municipality and ensured a more dynamic pace of development. To understand the basic changes in the last five-year period of economic development.

The movement of social product is a very significant indicator of economic development, as it represents the sum of national income and depreciation. The planned annual growth rate of the social product of the overall economy of the Novi Bečej municipality in the last five-year period was not fully achieved. Among the objective reasons, the inherited problems of the previous planning period, such as unfavorable economic structure, unsatisfactory level of social labor productivity, weak material foundation of work, high inflation rates, and other factors, played a role. There are also assumptions that the plan was not realistic enough, and the desires for an exceptionally dynamic economic growth were exaggerated.

The national income, in the social sector of the economy, in the municipality was on average 5.9% lower than the planned growth, while the movements achieved in economic sectors were similar to the movements of the social product.

Employment during the observed period also achieved a lower average growth rate than planned. Instead of the planned growth rate in economic and non-economic activities, a growth rate of 5.4% was achieved, as opposed to the planned 6.5%. In this area, industry and agriculture, which are the main providers of employment, fell short. In the midst of economic stabilization, the construction of previously planned facilities was abandoned, which had to reflect on the reduction in the pace of employment.

Labor productivity, measured by the achieved income per worker, actually grew at an average annual rate of 7.8%, falling short of the projected rate of 13.3%. However, it is crucial to note that among economic activities, industry achieved the highest growth rate - 13.9%, especially considering it belongs to the group of leading branches of the economy.

In the observed period, excluding the agricultural sector, the growth rate of the social product of SAP Vojvodina was far below the growth rate in the municipality of Novi Bečej.

After a brief overview of the overall economic development, it should be emphasized that the foundations for future development are satisfactory. The natural and human-made conditions in the Novi Bečej subregion provide a realistic basis for even faster and more stable economic development in the coming period. In the development of the material base, social development plans for the municipality consistently set very significant tasks. Among them, the following dominate in importance:

  • Sustainable and stable growth of production and services in all areas.
  • Constant strengthening of the material position of organized labor, through increased income, productivity, employment, and the accumulative and reproductive capacity of the economy.
  • Improvement of economic relations with foreign countries to reduce technological dependence, increase exports, and find new production programs that will significantly impact import substitution.
  • Restructuring the economy to strengthen industry in forming the social product.
  • Modernization and expansion of existing and construction of new capacities in the industry.
  • Improvement and intensification of agricultural production, creating opportunities to transition from raw material production to various forms of industrial processing.
  • Faster development of areas and sectors identified as priorities in the social development plans of SAP Vojvodina.

The implementation of these development tasks is expected to bring significant changes in the movement of the social product, income, and employment from 1980 to 1985 in the Novi Bečej subregion.

The reality of these set tasks for economic development and the possibilities of their realization in the coming period can be most reliably determined by a more detailed understanding of the current level of economic development in the municipality, the development of all economic and non-economic organizations, and the development of all areas of economic activity in the Novi Bečej subregion. However, despite the great desires and efforts of all workers in the municipality, due to economic stabilization and various restrictive measures, such ambitious development plans may not be fully realized.

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