Wednesday, 18 May 2022

Dairy Farmers Say Farm Gate Price Insufficient to Cover Production Costs

ZAGREB, 18 May 2022 - Milk producers on Wednesday reported about a meeting with the ministers of agriculture and finance, Marija Vučković and Zdravko Marić, at which they warned the ministers that the milk farm gate price was insufficient to cover production costs.

"The situation in the dairy sector is dramatic, if concrete action is not taken, we fear the sector will continue to collapse, dairy farms will continue to be closed, and the number of dairy cows will continue to fall, as will the quantity of milk produced," the Croatian Chamber of Agriculture (HGK) said in a statement.

Igor Rešetar of the HGK Dairy Sector Committee says the Agriculture Ministry had done a lot in the past three years but not enough since dairy farms had been affected by crises on the global food and energy markets as well as by problems caused by the war in Ukraine.

Dairy sector representatives said that the farm gate price of milk had increased by 28% since June 2021 but that they received information from primary producers on a daily basis saying that their production costs had increased by more than 300%.

The farm gate price of milk should be increased because crop husbandry costs, which are also rising, will in the autumn affect cattle breeding and milk production, they said.

Dairy farmers also called for increasing subsidies, reducing VAT on dairy products as well as investment costs, etc.

Recalling the government support to the sector so far, the Ministry of Agriculture said in a statement that the government would continue providing comprehensive solutions and called on stakeholders in the dairy supply chain to invest additional effort in order to maintain the current production level.

The ministry also noted that work was underway on the adoption of a programme for the development of the national dairy sector in the period until 2030 with strategic goals, priorities and measures designed to make the sector stronger and more competitive.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Wednesday, 30 March 2022

Lawmakers Happy With Ban on Pesticides Hazardous for Bees

ZAGREB, 30 March 2022 - Lawmakers on Wednesday welcomed a ban on the use of pesticides that are hazardous to bees during spring blossoming to avoid a repeat of the situation of June 2020 when millions of bees in Međimurje died.

"It turned out that that resulted partially due to the incorrect use of pesticides", state secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture Tugomir Majdak said during a debate in the Sabor on a bill on the sustainable use of pesticides. 

He added that beekeepers were compensated for the loss without noting the amount involved.

Majdak explained that anyone using products for protection during agricultural activities has to report what they are using to the Croatian Beekeepers Association or its local representatives.

Lawmakers pointed out that some pesticides were fake, while others warned of the problem of imported fruit and vegetables treated with banned pesticides.

Majdak: Croatia has more than 100,000 hectares with organically-grown products

Majdak explained that in Croatia more than 100,000 hectares, or 10% of total land registered in the Arcod System, is planted with organically-grown products and the aim is to increase that even further.

He added that Croatia is in the process of adopting an action plan for organically-grown products and that the use of sustainable pesticides and organic production is "our practice."

In light of the concern expressed by MPs given the negative effects of Russia's aggression on Ukraine and its impact on the food market as well as the drought, which could cause the need for additional pesticides to be used, Majdak said that the situation with crops is good and that a certain quantity of precipitation is expected, so there is no need for any additional effort regarding the protection of plants.

He confirmed that aerial spraying is banned while online sales of pesticides are not currently regulated by law.

For more, make sure to check out our lifestyle section.

Thursday, 3 March 2022

Vučković: EU Needs Emergency Measures Over Ukraine War And Increased Prices

ZAGREB, 3 March 2022 - Croatian Agriculture Minister Marija Vučković attended an extraordinary video meeting of EU agriculture ministers on Wednesday to discuss the potential impact of the conflict in Ukraine on the EU's agriculture and food sector.

Vučković expressed understanding of the situation in which Ukraine found itself, given Croatia's experience with the 1991-1995 Homeland War.

She mentioned the fundamental goals of the common agricultural policy, including ensuring a secure food supply at affordable prices and decent living conditions for rural communities across the EU.

Vučković said that monitoring the situation on the market was not enough anymore and that it was high time to activate emergency measures, considering increases in prices of energy and consequently of fertilizers, transport, livestock feed, and other related production costs.

"We have to be resolute and state clearly that, as European ministers responsible for ensuring sufficient food supplies for our populations, the security of the food systems is an absolute priority," the Croatian minister said.

The EU agriculture ministers called on the Commission to consider the use of all available tools and mechanisms within and outside the common agricultural policy to create conditions for a collective response to the current situation.

Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowsk announced a series of steps and activities, including proposals for the activation of emergency market measures.

The ministers expressed solidarity with Ukraine and readiness to support it within and outside the EU humanitarian aid mechanisms.

For more, check out our politics section.

Thursday, 17 February 2022

Minister Says Croatia's Agricultural Output On Rise For Five Years

ZAGREB, 17 Feb 2022 - Croatia's agricultural production has not contracted, as data for the first 11 months of 2021 show that both exports and imports increased considerably, with exports increasing faster, Agriculture Minister Marija Vučković said in parliament on Thursday.

"According to estimates by the national statistical office, Croatia's agricultural output grew at a rate of 8.1% in 2021," said the minister, stressing that the production had been growing for the five past years.

She addressed parliament during the presentation of the government's agriculture strategy up to 2030.

In response to harsh criticism from opposition lawmakers about a deficit in the farm sector, Vučković said that such gap could not be narrowed "with a magic wand" and could be reduced only through investment in boosting competitiveness and productivity.

The plan is to increase agricultural production from HRK 20 billion to HRK 30 billion annually by 2030, which would imply average annual growth of between 4% and 4.5%.

Vučković recalled that the government's €640 million support package to cushion the impact of energy price rises includes a €33.3 million (HRK 250 million) set of measures to help farmers and fishermen deal with increased energy prices.

The HRK 250 million aid scheme includes HRK 200 million for farmers and HRK 50 million for fishermen and will cover 88,000 family farms and 2,000 fishermen.

For more, check out our politics section.

 

Thursday, 17 February 2022

Government's Agriculture Strategy Inapplicable To Croatia, Opposition Claims

ZAGREB, 17 Feb 2022 - The government's agriculture strategy up to 2030 resulted in a heated polemic in the Sabor on Thursday even prior to the official debate, with the opposition saying that it did not contain anything specific to Croatia and as such was inapplicable, yet the ruling HDZ commended the document.

The opposition called out the government for the agriculture policy, accusing it of not fulfilling the promises it made.

There was a list of your promises and what you would change, but what have you done? Božo Petrov (Bridge) asked, wanting to know what made the strategy specific to Croatia and adding that the government could well have given it to Zimbabwe.

The strategy is inapplicable to Croatian circumstances, Martina Vlašić Iljkić (Social Democratic Party) said.

Independent MP Marijana Petir in the HDZ group said that the strategy is an umbrella document that has been in waiting for 20 years.

The plan is to increase agricultural production to HRK 30 billion a year by 2030, productivity by 60%, and to provide stronger support to young farmers, to increase the number of pigs and cattle domestically bred, build 20 fruit and vegetable distribution centres, Petir went on to say.

Katarina Peović (Workers' Front) was interested to know how agricultural production could be increased from HRK 19 to 30 billion, adding that during Socialism, Croatia produced twice as much food as now.

Marijan Pavliček (Sovereiignists) noted that in the past 20 years Croatia's agriculture sector has been completely devastated and that the strategy is just another dead letter.

Ružica Vukovac (PZH) criticised the document, saying that it does not specify how to renew the cattle fund, nor is there any mention of how to limit subsidies or to regulate the market.

The document doesn't take into account Croatia's variety, from Istria via Dalmatia to Slavonia, MP Emil Daus (Istrian Democratic Party) said.

For more, check out our politics section.

Thursday, 10 February 2022

Agriculture Minister Talks Bluefin Tuna Farms After European Commission Letter of Notice

ZAGREB, 10 Feb 2022 - Farm Minister Marija Vučković said on Thursday the European Commission's call on Croatia to ensure an effective monitoring, control and inspection of bluefin tuna farms referred to audits from 2017-19 and that Croatia had since significantly improved its agriculture legislation.

"Croatia has two months to prepare a response. We'll see if the Commission will recognise all that we have done. I think we have done plenty," the minister told the press in Sveti Đurđ in Varaždin County.

As part of this month's infringements package, Croatia received a letter of formal notice after an audit and verification by the Commission "identified serious shortcomings in monitoring the transfer and caging operations of bluefin tuna."

"National authorities should ensure that data are cross-checked, accurate and validated, and should investigate potential non-compliance cases and take administrative or criminal measures against those responsible for infringing EU law," the Commission said, adding that Croatia "has not taken the necessary steps to address these deficiencies."

Croatia has two months to respond to the letter and take the necessary measures, the Commission said, adding, "In the absence of a satisfactory response, the Commission may decide to issue a reasoned opinion."

The press asked Vučković to comment on fisheries inspector Marko Pupić Bakrač's statement after the letter of notice, that she should resign or the prime minister should replace her.

The minister is meddling in the work of the inspectorate and telling us what to do, while documents on tuna imports in Croatia are being falsified, he said.

As reported by Slobodna Dalmacija daily, Pupić Bakrač said Croatian tuna farmers were being favored by being made to register tuna imported from Libya only after they exported it to Japan.

Meetings on that are held at the Agriculture Ministry, attended by a dozen ministry employees, and the minister, in agreement with farmers, tells inspectors how to act, he said, calling it abuse of office. He also warned about suspicious activities in the unloading of forage fish intended for tuna farms.

Vučković said Pupić Bakrač was "lying incredibly. He claims that I regularly met with farmers and fisheries inspectors to instruct them on how to conduct fisheries inspections. He's lying... I have never done it. Let him find one inspector or one farmer who will back him up."

She also said proceedings had been instigated against Pupić Bakrač at the Civil Service Tribunal "for violating regulations" and that this was not the first time.

For more, check out our politics section.

Monday, 7 February 2022

Croatian Agricultural Land Must be Offered to State Before Attempted Sale

February the 7th, 2022 - Croatian agricultural land must first be offered to the state at market price before being put up for private sale according to a new rule governing this process.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, nobody will be able to put Croatian agricultural land up for sale to a private party (or indeed anyone else) if they don't offer it to the state at the market price first.

Under a new set of rules, the state gets the right of first refusal when it comes to the sale of Croatian agricultural land, and the final proposal of this amendment to the Law went to be voted on by Parliament during a recently held session. The new Law stipulates that the owner of Croatian agricultural land cannot sell that land to another buyer below the price they asked for from the state, even if the competent Ministry rejects his offer, according to a report by Novi list.

The government has made significant changes to the Law to ensure that production is ensured on any available Croatian agricultural land, but it is probably an important motive for the state to be able to get the right of first refusal, although this is not explicitly stated in the government's proposal. The fact that at the beginning of next year the moratorium on the sale of agricultural land to foreigners or citizens of other European Union (EU) member states is due to expire.

In its explanation of all of the above, the government has stated that the right of first refusal of the state when it comes to Croatian agricultural land is "in the interest of protecting agricultural land as an item of special economic and ecological importance because agricultural land is defined by the Constitution as an item of special economic and ecological importance and [as such] has special protection."

Just how much these brand new provisions will prevent sales being carried out as they were before, and how much it will prevent sales entirely remains uncertain, because foreigners, and not only those from other EU member states, are already buying agricultural land in Croatia by using the ''loophole'' of establishing companies headquartered in Croatia in order to do so.

For more, check out our dedicated politics section.

Wednesday, 2 February 2022

Ministry Draws up €17.3 Million Aid Schemes for Agricultural Producers

ZAGREB, 2 Feb 2022 - The agriculture ministry has prepared two programmes to alleviate the impact of growing costs on farms and fisheries.

The aid scheme for mitigating costs during the spring sowing season is worth HRK 80 million, while the aid scheme for fishermen and livestock farmers is worth HRK 50 million.

The draft aid schemes will be forwarded in the coming days to the European Commission to give its consent and comments, the ministry reported on Wednesday.

Apart from these two packages, the ministry is also seeking a way to help cattle breeders who have not been entitled to the support under the previous HRK 170 million scheme aid.

The livestock breeders who met the conditions under this programme have received aid in December and January, the ministry said.

(€1 = HRK 7.524059)

For more, check out our politics section.

Thursday, 20 January 2022

150 Million Kuna to be Spent on Public Croatian Irrigation Projects

January the 20th, 2022 - 150 million kuna is foreseen for public Croatian irrigation projects after a tender was announced by the Ministry of Agriculture earlier on this week. With the scorching long days of summer often causing damage to Croatian agriculture, the move is very much welcomed by those who are engaged in the field.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, a tender for investments in public Croatian irrigation worth 150 million kuna was announced on Monday this week. This is a tender from the Rural Development Programme for investments in basic public Croatian irrigation infrastructure in order to reduce the negative effects of droughts during the warm, dry summer months, ensure the stability of domestic agricultural production and increase the competitiveness of agricultural production on the whole.

The total amount of available public support funds stands at the aforementioned figure of 150 million kuna, and the deadline for submitting applications for support and submitting a certificate of the said application submissions will last from the 1st to the 28th of February, 2022.

Eligible beneficiaries for this tender are regional self-government units, and eligible projects are projects for the construction of a complete irrigation system in accordance with technical solutions and building permits (reservoirs, canals, surface and/or underground drainage systems as elements of the functional unit of the project, pumping stations, pipelines, distribution networks, control systems, etc).

The intensity of the financial support on offer to those it concerns and who apply for the tender will amount to a maximum of 100 percent of the total eligible costs of the project, the competent ministry noted. They also stated that so far, within the operation 4.3.1 entitled "Investments in basic infrastructure of public irrigation" through seventeen different projects, the amount of support has been agreed to exceed the 666 million kuna mark.

For more on agriculture in Croatia, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Monday, 20 December 2021

Average Farmland Rent €106 Per Hectare

ZAGREB, 20 Dec  2021 - The average rental rate of arable land in Croatia in 2020 amounted to HRK 793 (€106) per hectare, which is HRK 26 (€3.5) more than in 2019, the Croatian Bureau of Statistics (DZS) reported on Monday.

The statistics indicate that in 2020 the average grassland rent was HRK 525 per hectare or HRK 13 more year-on-year whereas pastures increased by HRK 12 to HRK 343 per hectare.

In Pannonian Croatia, the average rent of arable land in 2020 was HRK 811 per hectare, of meadows HRK 487 per hectare, and of pastures HRK 307 per hectare.

The average rent of arable land along the Adriatic coast was HRK 651 per hectare, of meadows HRK 558 per hectare, and of pastures HRK 468 per hectare.

In northern Croatia, the average farmland rent rate was HRK 853 per hectare, the average rent for meadows was HRK 676 per hectare and for pastures HRK 405 per hectare.

In the Zagreb City area, the average arable land rent rate was HRK 912 per hectare and for meadows HRK 1,080 per hectare.

The DZS notes that its data is based on Tax Administration data on farmland leases.

(€1 = HRK 7.513279)

For more, check out our business section.

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