Hungarian Border Fence Causing Havoc for Croatian Farmers

By 27 September 2017

Due to the wire at the Hungarian border, wild animals are destroying crops in Baranja.

“Because of the Hungarian fence, set up at the border with Croatia during the migration crisis two years ago, wild animals are unable to move, which creates a great deal of damage and is an issue which the state needs to solve,” said Zlatko Stolnik, president of the Hunting Association of Osijek-Baranja County, reports Večernji List on September 27, 2017.

“I have actually found more than a hundred wild boars in my corn fields,” said Zoran Rajki from Kneževi Vinogradi in the Baranja region. It is impossible to chase them away, and he stated that he did not even dare to enter his fields for his own security.

The Baranja farmers have a lot of problems with wild animals all year round, but the actual damage is best seen in the fall, during the harvest period. “When we sow corn in the spring, we spend two weeks keeping watch at night and protecting the fields from boars. If we miss just one night, they attack the five hectares of the land, taking out the seeds,” said Rajki.

As he walks through his vineyard, Ljudevit Kolar steps on the moved soil. That is the consequence of wild boars. “They are destroying my vineyard. Damage is up to 30 percent,” said Kolar. On the other hand, the deer are more interested in sunflowers. “Ten to fifteen percent of sunflower in Baranja are destroyed due to wild game,” said Kolar.

They would both like to have insured their crops, but there is no insurance company which wants to cover the damage from wild game. If it were possible, the premium would amount to around 60,000 kunas a year. “I have more losses from the wild game than from drought, but I cannot insure my crops," said Rajki.

The number is wild animals is growing substantially, and experts say that this problem is, in fact, a political issue. “Due to the Hungarian border fence, set up due to migration crisis, the game has no place to move. And when wild animals are forced to spend the whole day in one location, there is always a great deal of damage. The deer have a natural range of between 50 to 100 kilometres, but now they are limited in their movements,“ said Stolnik.

In the Slavonian part of the county, the problems are caused by the rise in the number of boars, while in the Baranja region the deer is a more pressing issue. One hunting society in Baranja estimated that on 3,000 hectares of land the damages amounted to a million kunas in the last two years.

It is necessary to amend the Law on Hunting, which would increase hunting quotas and solve the problem of compensation. “Currently, If the quota is ten animals, and there are 500 animals on the hunting grounds, everything above the quota is illegal,” said Stolnik.

Translated from Večernji List.