Family Farms and Standing Orders in Parliamentary Focus

By 11 March 2018

ZAGREB, March 11, 2018 - Due to the amount of work that needs to be done before Easter recess, parliamentary deputies will begin the plenary week on Monday instead of Wednesday, while the parliamentary Committee on the Constitution is scheduled to convene on Tuesday to discuss amendments to a draft Standing Orders.

The week will begin with a debate on the final bill on family-owned farms. The government-sponsored Family Farms Bill will enable family farms to finally have a law specifically designed for them, like companies, small businesses or cooperatives, and would be protected against enforcement action.

The bill sets out conditions for engaging in agriculture as an economic activity, registration in the Family Farms Register, the responsibilities and rights of farm owners, and oversight of law implementation.

Family farms have been encountering obstacles to their development, primarily because of the lack of a legal framework, so the new bill will professionalise their operation, enable them to develop their capacity and services and facilitate their access to EU funds and government-owned farmland.

The bill encourages families to operate one farm and to consolidate their production resources with a view to ensuring sustainable management and self-employment of their families. Production resources, such as tractors, combine harvesters and livestock, which are necessary for the performance of agricultural activity, as well as residential property would be protected against enforcement action.

According to Agriculture Minister Tomislav Tolušić, the Family Farms Register would be made public so that it would be clear who produced what and how much.

According to the Paying Agency for Agriculture, Fisheries and Rural Development, 165,458 farms were registered in the Farmers Register as of 31 December 2017, of which 159,191 were registered as family farms, 2,554 as companies, 2,174 as small businesses, 347 as cooperatives and 192 as other forms.