Will Coronavirus Saga Improve Conditions for Croatian Fruit and Vegetables?

Will the coronavirus pandemic actually provide what Croatia needs in the end to step up its game when it comes to not only digitalisation, but the production and processing of its own produce?

As Jadranka Dozan/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 8th of May, 2020, the invitation to Croatian farmers to cooperate is a move from the company ENNA Fruit for the organisation of the production, purchase, distribution and processing of fruits and vegetables. It was created by connecting several companies, with all of them recognising the great synergy potential in the move.

ENNA Fruit has, as such, invited Croatian farmers to cooperate, and that is the title of a press release that was distributed to the media from that company. As we're living in the coronavirus era and we're hearing about more and more companies, associations and businesses needing to further adapt the ways in which they do business in order to stay afloat, such an press release sounds almost like a "routine" announcement, but the story could have more far-reaching consequences and could suggest a significant step forward for Croatia's fruit and vegetable production.

Namely, ENNA Fruit is a new company created by connecting the business and interests of Enna Agro and Marinada, and as was pointed out in the aforementioned press release/announcement, this new company is now taking the leading position in the organisation of production, purchase, distribution and processing of fruits and vegetables from Croatia and its immediate region.

"The Croatian fruit and vegetable market is relatively small and market consolidation is of strategic importance, both for agricultural producers and for buyers. Manufacturers have been given specialised infrastructure that will provide them with the easiest access to the market, and customers are given high-quality goods prepared for use to the highest standards. ENNA Fruit connects primary agricultural production and the market through cooperative relations, its own purchasing centres, involving the processing and distribution of the entire range of fruits and vegetables. This approach ensures quality, continuity and quantity for customers,'' they explained from the company which was registered less than a month and a half ago, with its headquarters in Vukovar.

Its headquarters are at the same address as ENNA Agro, and it is the company by which Pavao Vujnovac, also the owner of PPD, expanded his business portfolio to the field of agriculture. Among other things, ENNA Agro has stepped into the supply of fruit to the massive Konzum sales chain.

This new step forward of this equally new company, in addition to the financial strength of its founder, is also interesting in light of the fact that Vujnovac's PPD, through a joint venture with INA, is also the main shareholder of Petrokemija, a domestic producer of mineral fertilisers.

Marinada, on the other hand, is a company specialising in the production, purchase, storage, packaging and sale of fresh and processed fruits and vegetables. The company's headquarters in Slatina boasts one of the most modern production plants for pasteurised fruits and vegetables in the entire region, and it also has several purchase centres, as well as an established sales office in Zagreb.

All in all, it has a solid infrastructure, and Denis Matijevic, one of the co-owners and members of the company, has long been engaged in expertise in the field of agriculture, among other things, and participation in the development of agricultural development strategies.

Linking the business of ENNA Agra and Marinada is thus considered a logical move with potentially significant synergy effects, especially since the coronavirus pandemic seems to have had a stimulating effect on recognising the importance of food production for Croatia and raising the question of self-sufficiency in general.

Thus, the statement from ENNA Fruits points out that "agriculture, in order to be competitive and sustainable, must be horizontally and vertically integrated."

Through integration, they say, the company wil provide all the necessary inputs for production, knowledge and technology transfer, added value for the products, as well as for the sales market. They added that the situation caused by the coronavirus outbreak only further confirmed the need for the stable organisation of agricultural production and distribution and the integration of the entire process from production to product placement, with the aim of optimising the entire chain.

For more on Croatian agriculture, follow our business page. For all you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic in relation to Croatia, stay up to date with our dedicated section.