Friday, 10 September 2021

HPK: Livestock and Milk Production Sectors Face Collapse Without Speedy Measures

ZAGREB, 10 Sept 2021 - The Croatian Chamber of Agriculture (HPK) said on Friday that without concrete and swift measures from the government livestock and milk production would collapse. 

The HPK announced that next week it would again organise meetings of all six committees relating to the livestock sector to examine the situation and propose urgent measures to prevent a collapse of livestock and milk production.

This year has been extremely hard for livestock farmers, whose position on the national and common market is currently affected by the adverse impact of the COVID-19 crisis, the HPK said.

"This year has seen a dramatic rise in prices of raw materials on the global market, including in Croatia. Livestock farmers have seen their costs rapidly increasing since the start of the year, while at the same time they have been selling their products below the asking price because on the common market commodities are offered at dumping prices because of surpluses caused by the COVID-19 crisis," HPK president Mladen Jakopović said.

He added that the structural problems in the national livestock sector and the sharp rise in input prices were compounded by a drought and, in some areas of the country, by the consequences of last year's earthquakes.

A study by the Osijek Faculty of Agrobiotechnical Science has shown that input prices, notably the cost of animal feed, had accounted for about 50% of material costs before their jump in 2021, while currently they exceed 70% in certain sectors. This has resulted in higher prices of cereals, processed cereals and animal feed as well as in losses to the livestock sector.

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Wednesday, 8 September 2021

Marija Vučković Takes Part in Informal Meeting of EU Agriculture Ministers

ZAGREB, 7 Sept, 2021 - The agriculture strategy envisions further investment in public services in rural areas, with an emphasis on digitisation, irrigation, renewable energy production and increasing energy efficiency, Agriculture Minister Marija Vučković said at an informal meeting of EU ministers.

In order to succeed in that, it is essential to continue investing in human capital, the minister stressed.

Minister Vučković was taking part in an informal meeting of the EU Agriculture and Fisheries Council, which was held in Kranj, Slovenia on Monday and Tuesday. The Agriculture Ministry reported on Tuesday that the central topic of the meeting was strengthening dialogue between urban and rural areas in the EU, with an emphasis on possibilities for their further development.

The long-term vision for the EU's rural areas up to 2040 aims to reverse negative trends affecting rural areas, including depopulation, population ageing and the decline in attractiveness of rural areas as places to live. The vision brings together several policies that go beyond the common agricultural policy (CAP) and require a more integrated and coordinated approach at the EU, national and regional level, the press release says.

In order for the process aimed at strengthening rural areas to succeed, it is necessary to continue investing in human resources, Minister Vučković stressed.

We have to provide funds for investments and help young people to realise their business goals in rural areas and respond to challenges by creating added value, she said.

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Monday, 30 August 2021

Int'l Bjelovar Autumn Fair Expects about 300 Exhibitors

ZAGREB, 30 Aug 2021 - The Bjelovar Autumn Fair, which will be held from 3 to 5 September at the Gudovac fair compounds, will include 300 exhibitors.

Local authorities and the fair's executives told a press conference on Monday that the state exhibition of cattle will be held with the support of the Ministry of Agriculture.

 The fair will be opened by Prime Minister Andrej Plenković.

The exhibition will be held outdoors considering epidemiological recommendations.

Entry to the fair will require a COVID certificate of vaccination or negative test, and testing will be available at the fairgrounds. The fair's director Zlatko Salaj estimates that this year's autumn fair would reach about 60% of the level of the record 2019 year.

Bjelovar-Bilogora County Prefect Marko Marušić described the Autumn Fair as a Croatian brand.

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Sunday, 29 August 2021

New Pig Breeding Centre in Glina Arouses Hope of Agricultural Recovery

ZAGREB, 29 Aug, 2021 - A newly-built pig breeding centre, the first commercial facility to be built in Sisak-Moslavina County after the 29 December 2020 earthquake, restoring hope of agricultural recovery, was officially opened at Novo Selo Glinsko on Sunday.

The centre was built with the help of donations, and similar centres will be built with the help of EU and national funds to help revitalise agricultural production in the Banovina region.

The centre, located at a family farm owned by Ivo Bradarić,  was opened by Agriculture Ministry State Secretary Tugomir Majdak.

The centre has a capacity of 16 breeding sows and 80 piglets, and it currently has 10 breeding sows, donations by five Slavonian counties, and 24 piglets.

Novo Selo Glinsko is an agricultural community, where co-operative pig breeding has had a long tradition and the new centre is expected to mark the start of agricultural recovery in the earthquake-struck area, said Majdak.

He noted that the centre could serve as a potential model for further reconstruction of commercial farm facilities following the earthquake.

"We intend to enable all family farms in the earthquake-struck area to rebuild their properties," he said.

Glina Mayor Ivan Janković said the centre would serve as a lever of development of the wider area of Glina and enable more farmers to join the newly-established pig breeding co-operative.

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Thursday, 19 August 2021

"Proven Quality - Croatia" Label Soon to be Introduced for Local Food Products

ZAGREB, 19 Aug, 2021 - The agriculture ministry strongly supports fruit growers in efforts to cut production costs and standardise their products and thus boost their competitiveness, which is why the ministry will soon kick off a system of awarding the "Proven Quality - Croatia" label, the ministry said on Thursday.

On Wednesday, Minister Marija Vučković and other officials held a meeting with fruit growers  to inform them of the national system designed by the ministry for awarding the above-mentioned label to food products that meet certain requirements. The national system of evaluation of the quality of food products intends to improve competitiveness of local agricultural produce and food products and intensify their promotion.

This will be conducive to better recognisability of those products in retail chains, according to the ministry.

The ministry notes that the reforms as part of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan envisage the establishment of a logistical infrastructure in fruit and vegetable production and the construction of logistics and distribution centres for fruits and vegetables.

The Croatian Fruit Growing Association assesses that in 2021, the production of apples will reach 65,000 tonnes, the ministry said in a press release, among other things.

The apple export has jumped by 71% year-to-date in comparison to the corresponding period of 2020, while import has increased by 3..2%.

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Tuesday, 17 August 2021

Karst Cattle Growers Accuse Ministry, State Forest-Management Company of Obstruction

 ZAGREB, 17 Aug, 2021 - An association of Karst cattle farmers on Tuesday accused the Agriculture Ministry and the Hrvatske Šume (HŠ) forest management company of obstructing pastoral farming in the Karst and thus causing depopulation of Karst areas in Croatia.

The association said that the relevant Croatian laws and regulations were not adjusted to the EU acquis and made it impossible for extensive livestock farming to succeed in the Karst region.

Therefore, the association filed a complaint with the Constitutional Court and the competent administrative court and also sent a letter to the EU Agriculture Commissioner, Janusz Wojciechowski.

It says that for instance, Karst pastures are defined as land not designated for agricultural purposes.

This leads to a situation that the grazing of the Buša cattle in Lika, that is a native breed of cows in Lika, is banned on the "Bušik" grassland in that mountainous Croatian region, it claims.

The association demands the deep changes in the management of the HŠ company and the ministry.  

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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

HPK: Croatia to Ask EU for €2m in Aid for Dairy Sector

ZAGREB, 23 July 2021 - The grave situation in the dairy sector, caused by rising costs due to growing prices of cereals and fodder, has prompted the agriculture ministry to ask the EU for HRK 15 million (€2m) in aid for fodder supplies for local milk producers, the Croatian Chamber of Agriculture (HPK) said on Friday.

The HPK said in a press release that representatives of Croatian dairies, the HPK and Agriculture Minister Marija Vučković held talks on Thursday on the serious situation in the dairy sector.

One of the conclusions of the meeting is that the ministry should ask the EU for HRK 15 million in aid for the procurement of fodder.

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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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