Monday, 8 November 2021

Balanced Diet Scheme Expanded to Another 67 Schools, 21,000 Children

ZAGREB, 8 Nov, 2021 - The School Scheme in Croatia programme, which is aimed at promoting a balanced diet and is now in its eighth year, has been expanded to another 67 schools and 21,000 children as well as to another 106,000 children consuming milk and dairy products, the Agriculture Ministry said on Monday.

The expansion is the result of a campaign the ministry conducted from October 2020 to October 2021, together with the Paying Agency for Agriculture, Fisheries and Rural Development, among schools, suppliers and other state authorities.

The programme promotes EU health policies and includes ensuring fruit and vegetables in primary and secondary schools as well as milk and dairy products in primary schools as additional meals.

In the 2022-21 school year, 803 schools participated in the programme with 49 suppliers and 289,686 pupils, for whom 639.5 tonnes of fruit and vegetables and 312,411 litres of milk and dairy products were utilised.

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Wednesday, 4 August 2021

European Commision Approves Additional HRK 220m in Aid to Croatian Livestock Farmers

ZAGREB, 4 Aug, 2021 - The European Commission has approved an additional HRK 220 million (€29.3m) in aid to Croatian livestock farmers, the Agriculture Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday. 

HRK 130 million (€17.3m) has been approved under the Animal Welfare Measure of the EU Rural Development Programme, while HRK 90 million (€12m) has been approved for the use of manure on fields.

The Ministry noted that since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic it had adopted a number of aid schemes, worth nearly HRK 450 million (€60m) in total, including those for the livestock sector, adding that aid schemes for the poultry and dairy farming sectors were under preparation.

Due to an increase in prices of cereals and other components of livestock feed, at the last meeting of the Agriculture and Fisheries Council, Agriculture Minister Marija Vučković called on the European Commission to look into possibilities of granting financial aid to stabilise the livestock sector, as well as other possible mechanisms to ensure the equal treatment of Croatian producers on the global market.

The request was supported by 15 member states, and the Commission is expected to continue monitoring the situation and take any emergency measures as may be necessary, the statement said.

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Friday, 23 July 2021

Damage Caused by Natural Disasters in Farm Sector Ytd Estimated at €68m

ZAGREB, 23 July 2021 - First estimates show that the extent of the damage inflicted on Croatia's agricultural sector so far this year by natural disasters is HRK 509.2 million kuna, the agriculture ministry's reps told Hina on Friday.

These estimates are based on preliminary data collected in the Natural Disaster Damage Registry in compliance with the national legislation on mitigation and removal of consequences of natural disasters.

The ministry underscores that the registry does not contain the final data on the reported damage, or the number o businesses and individuals that have been exposed to the disaster.

The ministry notes that 20 million kuna has been set aside in the budget for mitigation and removal of the consequences of natural disasters this year and that farmers can also apply for aid and funding under the schemes envisaged in the Rural Development Programme.

In addition, the government has already decided to help farmers in the hailstorm-hit Požega-Slavonia County with an additional HRK 20 million.

 Agricultural producers whose perennial plantations have been damaged in disasters can apply for aid under the subsection "Renewal of farmland and production potential" within the Rural Development Programme.

(€1 = HRK 7.5)

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Tuesday, 13 July 2021

Gross Agricultural Production Rises 2.4%

ZAGREB, 13 July, 2021 - In 2020, the physical volume of gross agricultural production in Croatia went up by 2.4% on the year, owing to a growth in plant production, while cattle production dropped, according to the national statistical office.

ZAGREB, 13 July (Hina) - In 2020, the physical volume of gross agricultural production in Croatia went up by 2.4% on the year, owing to a growth in plant production, while cattle production dropped, according to the national statistical office.

Plant production went up by 7%, while cattle production fell by 4.1%.

Maize production went up by 5.8%, wheat by 7.4%, by soybean by 8.9% and grapes by 14.1%.

In cattle production, only beef production increased, by 1.2%, while egg production went up by 11%.

Plant production accounted for 61.5% and cattle production for 38.5% of gross production.

In 2020, the physical volume of net agricultural production increased by 2.8%.

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Tuesday, 29 June 2021

Croatia Satisfied With CAP Reform, Says Agriculture Minister

ZAGREB, 29 June, 2021 - Croatia can be satisfied with the agreement on key issues from the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform package because it takes into account its most important demands, Agriculture Minister Marija Vučković said in Luxembourg on Tuesday.

At a two-day meeting in Luxembourg, EU agriculture and fisheries ministers on Monday confirmed the agreement on the reform of the CAP, reached with the European Parliament last week.

Vučković said Croatia was glad its most important demands had been taken into account, concerning the treatment of areas with natural constraints, animal welfare and certain exemptions and flexibility regarding small farmers.

The new CAP rules, to be in force from 2023 to the end of 2027, oblige member states to respect the social and labour rights of agricultural workers, encourage farmers to apply greener farming practices, envisage incentives for smaller farms and young farmers and advocate making financial support to farms more conditional on their results and performance.

Now that political agreement has been reached on the new CAP, the path is clear for both legislative institutions, the Council and the Parliament, to formally vote the new rules in.

The ministers also reached agreement on a control regulation that refers to fisheries.

Vučković said that monitoring and control in the fisheries sector were very important and that Croatia had made significant progress in recent years, notably regarding the application of innovations and new technologies in control and monitoring.

She commended the Croatian fisheries sector for undergoing a very important and difficult transformation, underlining the need to preserve the country's fishing resources, fishing fleet, small fishermen and their traditional way of life.

Vučković also called at the Luxembourg meeting for the continuation of support to wine makers, beekeepers and fruit and vegetable farmers.

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Tuesday, 11 May 2021

Best Faculty at Zagreb University: Faculty of Agriculture Scores Highest in NTU Ranking

May 11, 2021 -The oldest university in Croatia is the one in Zagreb, and the best faculty at Zagreb University is the Faculty of Agriculture, according to the NTU global ranking of 800 universities worldwide.

The quality of Zagreb University, according to the global NTU ranking conducted by the National Taiwan University, is in decline. On the list of 800 Universities worldwide, Zagreb University was ranked 478th best in the world, and in recent years it was levitating between 551st and 600th place. But, as Srednja.hr reports, the overall decline of quality has an exception on that list, and it's thanks to the Faculty of Agriculture.

The Faculty is ranked to be the best at Zagreb University, and the area of agriculture on the global list is ranked between 301st and 350th place. That is the ranking of the area, but also under the criteria of research interest, the ranking is even better, 87th place, thus making it the only thing at Zagreb University to be in the top 100 on the list.

„Even though it's the oldest human occupation, agriculture today is light years away from what our grandparents know. Agriculture is part of the STEM area (‘science, technology, engineering & mathematics), and it's actually highly technological. There are several reasons why this sector so is fastly modernized. For starters, the production of food and raw ingredients to produce food is the most important human activity that will always have demand. To keep up the step with the increasing number of population, less and less arable surfaced and the increasing living standards, agriculture had to modernize significantly, and introduce newest technologies“, writes Srednja.hr.

cows_Sveučilište_u_Zagrebu_Agronomski_fakultet.jpg© Sveučilište u Zagrebu Agronomski fakultet

The Agriculture Faculty in Zagreb was founded in 1919. As the Faculty's official website reports, they have over 450 employees today who are highly motivated to pass their knowledge to around 2,500 students, which they consider their greatest value that they add to society.

„By connecting with foreign universities, both from Europe and worldwide, we have international cooperation in both teaching and scientific research area, and student mobility. Successful participation in bilateral and multilateral research programs, exchanges of students, young scientists, and university lecturers, as well as securing scholarships contribute to the visibility and recognition of the Faculty on all levels“, says the Agriculture Faculty.

The Faculty's personnel annually publishes 280 scientific papers, and in the last decade, 160 active research projects are ongoing with 75% of investments coming from domestic sources and the rest from international ones. Scholarships supports, and rewards for the best students are secured through the trust fund the Faculty has.

„It's less known that the Agriculture Faculty is declared a Scientific Centre of Excellence CroP-BioDiv (for biodiversity and molecular plant breeding). It is one of the 10 scientific centers in the STEM area declared in the Republic of Croatia. CroP-BioDiv is a research network of top scientists from all over Croatia directed to the transmission of highly sophisticated knowledge and technologies“, writes Faculty's website concluding their institution is directed towards future with sustainability, quality, research encouragement, scientific excellence, and cooperation with the Croatian economy, as key strategic goals.

As Zagreb is a popular ERASMUS destination among European students because of cheap drinks, rich and vibrant party scene, The Agriculture Faculty shows that apart from partying, the Croatian capital is a place to get some actual learning done. And on a pretty high standard no less, at least when it comes to agriculture which serves as a role model to the rest of the poorly ranked University.

Agriculture is about food, and you can learn more about Croatian food (specifically, vegan and vegetarian options) on our TC page

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Tuesday, 11 May 2021

AquaWeb Tests Possibility of Getting Water from Air for Agriculture in Zadar

May the 11th, 2021 - One Zadar-based test run by AquaWeb is seeing how much water can be obtained from the air in a bid to help out agriculture and other forms of food production in Croatia.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Suzana Varosanec writes, the very first biomimetic company in Croatia operates under the name CROdelicious, the director is Ana Yael Prelog, while the co-owner, known for numerous international environmental projects, is Croatian-American scientist Anamarija Frankic, who teaches coastal ecosystem management and biomimicry at the University of Massachusetts.

The American team in which her students participated in the creation of the biomimetic design of AquaWeb, which involves obtaining water from the air for local food production, won two international awards. Back in 2017 it took home first prize at the Global Biomimicry Design Challenge, as well as the Ray of Hope Prize.

Today, AquaWeb design in Croatia is marketed through CROdelicious, and the system will be tested out on the agricultural property of the University of Zadar - Bastica. At this stage, it is still a pilot project, implemented in cooperation with the Zadar County Development Agency Zadar Nova, meaning that the planning, design and construction of AquaWeb has played a key part of the "AdriaClima" project which is worth a total of 8.8 million euros.

"In general, the goal is to strengthen the adaptation and resilience of local communities to climate change, which we're witnessing today," said the director of the aforementioned development agency Marina Dujmovic Vukovic.

This innovative solution by AquaWeb is based on the absorption of water from the air and its subsequent storage, and according to Frankic, AquaWeb wants to show how it is possible to ensure on-site water availability and the proper irrigation of small agricultural areas, especially in periods of water deficit.

''AquaWeb acts as an absorbing infrastructure for atmospheric water, mimicking the way a spider's web collects water, water storage techniques modelled on various succulent plants, then the transportation of the water like mycelium and structural support in the form of honeycombs. In nature, there are hydrophilic and hydrophobic nanostructures in which different species in nature absorb water from the air. Therefore, this project is based on nanotechnologies,'' explained Frankic, adding that she got Fulbright to establish a course in Biomimicry at the Department of Ecology, Agronomy and Aquaculture at the University of Zadar.

In a wave of rapid development, especially over the last 25 years under the pressure of climate change, in parallel with the search for answers to this great threat to the economy, biomimicry is entering into all pores of modern business. It is also present in all scientific disciplines, biomimetic technology, medicine, architecture, design, engineering… It is estimated that about 45 billion US dollars account for investments managed by companies that support bioinspired innovations. Frankic claims that solutions on this basis do exist in Croatia, they're just not typically recognised and many are not even known of.

AquaWeb's new initiative for a greater impact of the principle of biomimicry on the business of entities in various industries is already attracting interest and cooperation. A team of young experts, including Matej Vucic (biology), Naum Kiceec (marketing), Marin Bosnjak and Marko Mataic (IT), is creating the first Croatian startup for agriculture based on biomimetics. They intend to put the projects they are preparing for EU funding into money through cooperation in agricultural production, including the networking of interested family farms (OPGs), as well as the introduction of this approach to other activities in a multidisciplinary way, from the construction sector to that of energy.

''Our idea is to facilitate business processes based on biomimicry and through innovative technologies to gain greater value, not only in business on self-sustainable principles, but for society as a whole, our environment and the entire country,'' stated Kiceec.

Biomimicry is gaining more and more importance, explained Frankic, because there is no waste in nature, everything is efficient, multifunctional and sustainable on the basis of collaboration, and not just in competition as we're taught. In biomimicry, we can learn how to be self-sustaining, thus, based on the results of monitoring in Zadar's Bastica, guidelines will be planned for the further implementation and application of innovative technologies and ''nature based'' biomimetic solutions in agriculture and in self-sustainable local development.

Depending on the results, activities and planning for potential commercial production will continue, and given climate change and the dire need for water, the sky quite literally is the limit for AquaWeb's praiseworthy idea.

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Thursday, 29 April 2021

Croatia Will Get More Money For Agriculture Than Before, State Secretary Says

ZAGREB, 29 April, 2021 - Opposition MPs were not impressed by the announcement by the state secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture that more funds have been allocated for Croatian agriculture in the next EU budget period than in the previous one, saying on Thursday that the situation in this sector was catastrophic.

"The situation in agriculture is catastrophic. The number of producers, milk suppliers, is falling, and there are fewer and fewer products made by our own producers that meet our needs," MP Marina Grman Kizivat of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) said, asking about the veracity of the information that Croatia would receive less money from EU funds for agriculture than before.

State Secretary Tugomir Majdak said that there would be more money for Croatian farmers in the period until 2027 than there had been in the period until 2020, adding that in the next budget period €2.6 billion would be available for direct payments, compared to €1.57 billion in the previous period.

The opposition used the proposed amendments to the Agriculture Act to draw attention to key problems in the sector, such as aid.

Željko Pavić (SDP) said that the problem was that aid was granted per hectare. "Some farmers have been granted the lease of thousands of hectares of karst pasture. They earn huge amounts of money without having livestock of their own," he said.

Majdak responded by saying that the state aid scheme was transparent, based on tenders and criteria in accordance with EU rules.

Responding to a question put by independent MP Marijana Petir, Majdak said that work was under way to improve the aid system and gear it towards small farmers.

Small farmers will be the priority of future measures, both the Agricultural Strategy until 2030 and the Strategic Plan until 2027, and other vulnerable groups, such as women in rural areas, will also be included, Majdak said, adding that the strategy is expected to be sent to the government in the second quarter of this year.

"In the next programme period we will ensure that young farmers get 100% support for investments of up to €100,000," he said in response to a question from Ankica Zmajić of the ruling Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ).

Petir recalled that Croatia should prepare the National Strategic Plan by November, adding that the European Commission had made 13 recommendations for this plan, detected its good points and found that 20% of agricultural holdings owned 75% of farmland and received 77% of aid.

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Thursday, 15 April 2021

Strawberry Picking Season Starts in Southern Croatia, 600 Tonnes of Produce Expected

ZAGREB, 15 April, 2021 - Strawberry picking season has begun in the Vrgorac area in southern Croatia and the Vrgorac strawberry association told a news conference on Thursday that this year  600 tonnes of high quality strawberries can be expected from local fields.

Vrgorac high-quality strawberries will already be available at farmers' markets as of tomorrow the association's president Milan Franić said.

According to Franić, about 600 tonnes are expected from this year's yield which will bring in a revenue of HRK 12 million for producers in the Vrgorac area.

"We have good weather conditions and will produce a standard quality. The yield will be high and of good quality for almost all producers however 15 family farms affected by last year's floods in Kokorići will not have any yield this year because the floods destroyed their greenhouse and crops," said Franić.

He added the price of strawberries is HRK 25 (€3.3) per kilogram, which is far below their price in the European Union where their cost ranges from €7 to €10.

"We are happy however that Vrgorac strawberry farmers will generate a revenue of HRK 12 million for the HRK 5.6 million that they invested, which is good for Croatian circumstances. We will continue to invest in improving the quality of our strawberries of which 80% are produced in tunnel greenhouses which protect them from rain, hail and frost and guarantee they are produced without any pesticides" said Franić.

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Thursday, 15 April 2021

Fruit Growers Fear Huge Damage After Morning Frosts

ZAGREB, 15 April, 2021 - The real extent of damage to orchards due to the unusually cold weather in April with snow and early morning frosts, will only be known in the next few weeks, Croatian Fruit Growers' Association president Branimir Markota told Hina on Thursday.

"We have been in contract with the agriculture ministry during the entire time of low temperatures last week and again last night, and have discussed the possible consequences these unfavourable conditions will have for fruit growers. The real extent of the damage will only be visible in a few weeks and once we know it and depending on the possibilities, we will certainly seek assistance," Markota told Hina.

A huge problem exists because insurance policies do no cover damage caused by frost that occurred prior to 10 April, he said. 

That's something that will be discussed with insurance companies and the ministry which covers 70% of the cost of insurance premiums from Measure 17 of the Rural Development Programme, Markota explained.

Fruit growers usually insure their crops via Measure 17 - Risk management and Sub-measure 17.1 - Insurance of crops, animals and plants.

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