Monday, 8 March 2021

Petir: Agricultural Strategy Should Cover Status of Women in Rural Areas

ZAGREB, 8 March, 2021 - The chair of the Croatian Parliament Committee on Agriculture, Marijana Petir, has sent an initiative to the Minister of Agriculture to include activities aimed at improving the status of women in rural areas in the Agricultural Strategy and introduce a special sub-programme for women in rural areas.

Given that the Agricultural Strategy 2020-2030 is in the final stage of preparation, it is important for women in rural areas to be included in it in a separate section. That, in turn, would require preparation of an action plan that would deal with the status of women in rural areas, Petir said on the occasion of International Women's Day.

The plan would, among other things, address such important issues as the "invisible work" of farm women, access to land ownership, achieving economic independence, preventing the risk of poverty and unemployment, and increasing the representation of women in decision-making bodies.

Petir said that the national strategic plan, which is being developed, should include a special sub-programme for women in rural areas as provided for by the EU's common agricultural policy. Such a sub-programme could improve the status of women in rural areas, create jobs for them, help them in investing in physical assets, contribute to the development of farms and their operations, and ensure conditions for basic services and revitalisation of rural areas, she said.

"I hope that these activities will help improve the status of women in the rural areas of Croatia and that their irreplaceable role in sustaining the rural areas will start to be fairly evaluated," Petir said.

Thursday, 4 March 2021

Opposition Says Agricultural Production in Ruin

ZAGREB, 4 March, 2021 - During Thursday's debate on amendments to the Agriculture Act, the parliamentary opposition said Croatia's agriculture was collapsing due to poor policies, while Minister Marija Vučković dismissed such claims and said that agricultural production was growing.

Željko Lenart (HSS-HSU) said 33,000 hectares of valuable farmland from the former Agrokor conglomerate was now owned by the foreign Fortenova and that pig farming and milk production were collapsing.

He said the Farmland Act was not being honoured, that a stay on the sale of farmland to foreigners would soon end, and that the smallest farmers were being destroyed because only 6.5% of the biggest producers received the bulk of the aid.

Mišel Jakšić (Social Democrats) said the state of agriculture showed that the policies to date had not produced results because import was high and there was no self-sufficiency despite the potential.

Marija Selak Raspudić (Bridge) said 88 million tonnes a year was thrown away due to expiration dates and pushed for donating food to the needy and establishing a food bank.

Vučković said cereal production and cattle-framing were up and that food donations had gone up 13%, adding that it was necessary to reduce food waste.

Marijana Petir (ruling HDZ) pushed for regulating the aid system to facilitate the development of small and medium farmers. She announced a call for applications for HRK 120 million to help farmers in earthquake-hit areas.

Thursday, 4 March 2021

HRK 121 Million Earmarked For Vulnerable Sectors In Agriculture

ZAGREB, 4 March, 2021 - During a cabinet meeting on Thursday, the government adopted a state aid scheme for this year for exceptionally vulnerable sectors in agriculture, ensuring HRK 121 million for that purpose.

Agriculture Minister Marija Vučković said that HRK 51 million was earmarked for dairy cows, HRK 18.5 million for reproductive sows, HRK 42 million for tobacco production, HRK 8.5 million for the olive oil sector and HRK 1 million for domesticated and native agricultural plants.

The total amount of HRK 121 million will come from the ministry's state budget allocation and from projections for 2022 and 2023, Vučković said.

The programme is aimed at improving these vulnerable sectors.

Legislative framework by year's end for euro coins with national side

The government tasked the Finance Ministry with preparing, by the end of the year in cooperation with the Croatian National Bank (HNB), a bill and other necessary acts designating the Ministry as the competent authority for issuing euro coins. These laws will also lay down the procedure for issuing, manufacturing, security, storage, management, supply, replacement, withdrawal and destruction of euro coins.

Currently, HNB has the exclusive right to issue kuna coins, and after adopting the euro currency, Croatia will follow the example of the majority of euro area countries where coins are issued by the relevant ministry.

Finance Minister Zdravko Marić recalled that last year the government had adopted the National Plan to replace the Croatian kuna with the euro and the issuance of coins is one of the significant activities in that process.

The government also endorsed the activities of the Croatian Mint in designing euro coins with the national side, Marić said.

The coins will have to be approved by the European Commission after meeting all the criteria. Marić added that the ministry will also have to arrange possible models of the business relationship with the Croatian Mint before the end of the year.

Wednesday, 3 March 2021

More Than 1,000 Tonnes of Fodder For Earthquake Areas

ZAGREB, 3 March, 2021 - The Ministry of Agriculture said on Wednesday that it had received more than a thousand tonnes of fodder for earthquake-hit areas and that more than 868 tonnes had been distributed to farmers, adding that it was in the process of procuring an additional 621 tonnes valued at HRK 1.5 million.

The ministry said in a press release that as of 1 March 1,012 tonnes of fodder had been received in warehouses in Petrinja and Glina and that more than 868 tonnes had been distributed through 3,627 individual donations.

The fodder was received through donations from 69 donors from all over Croatia.

The ministry advised that it is launching procedures for the procurement of an additional 621 tonnes of fodder valued a HRK 1.5 million which will ensure enough fodder for cattle in earthquake affected areas for one month's time.

Agriculture Minister Marija Vučković said that the ministry was endeavouring to secure all the necessary preconditions so that production doesn't stop in Banovina. In addition to providing fodder for animals, the ministry mediated in the temporary transfer of 306 head of cattle as well as selling 234 head at fair market prices.

She recalled that all animals in the area are eligible for free vaccination and veterinary treatment until 31 March. The expected cost of that measure amounts to HRK 10.5 million and it will be financed from the state budget.

Friday, 19 February 2021

Croatian Agriculture Has Shown Resilience, Says Minister

ZAGREB, 19 February, 2021 - Agriculture Minister Marija Vučković was visiting Vukovar-Srijem County on Friday, where she presented contracts on the co-financing of projects from the Rural Development Programme and said that Croatian agriculture has shown resilience.

Citing Croatian Bureau of Statistics estimates, she said in Vukovar that agricultural production grew by 7% or HRK 1.4 billion in 2020, the highest increase since 2008, while gross added value and factor and entrepreneurial incomes increased between 14 and 16%.

Those figures show that Croatian agriculture is not on a bad path, that domestic producers are resilient and creative, and that the Rural Development Programme is showing results, the minister said.

"We have to insist on economic programmes for farmland, on connecting everyone in the food production chain and on boosting the processing industry, which will then best stimulate primary agricultural production," Vučković said.

Without increasing productivity and competitiveness, Slavonia cannot become stronger, she said.

Speaking of a farmland bill, the minister said the government wished to debate it with everyone concerned. As our most valuable resource, farmland is worth much more than all the incentives we will receive from the EU, she added.

Responding to questions from the press, Vučković said the government and her ministry had done their best to boost the sugar industry in Croatia.

Monday, 25 January 2021

Young Croat Josip Popcevic Pioneers Preservation of Super-Pollinating Bees

January 25, 2021 – Croat Josip Popcevic has already decided to dedicate his young life to little-known solitary bees. The reason? They are super-pollinators - our very future could depend on them

Croatia is not unknowledgeable when it comes to bees. Beekeeping is a traditional part of rural life in Croatia. Indeed, Slavonian honey is protected at an EU-level and the honey of Istrian is in the process of requesting the same.

honey-752145_1920.jpgCroatian honey is renowned throughout the region. Slavonian honey is protected at an EU level

Vast tracts of land in Croatia are dedicated to successful agriculture. Here, too, the worth of bees is well known. Bees are known to pollinate upwards of 80% of all the crops we eat (pollination is how male and female plants reproduce and make seeds).

Garlic, parsley, apples, cherries, apricots, lemons, asparagus, pumpkin, cucumber, broccoli, courgette (zucchini), cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, aubergine (eggplant), watermelon, celery, kale, peppers and all berries are cultivated widely across Croatia, providing incomes, employment and food. The pollination of all of them relies on bees.

beekeeper-4426003_1920.jpgThe honey made from beekeeping in Istria is currently applying to the EU for the same protected designation awarded to that from Slavonia

However, for all of the awareness of bees' importance in Croatia, much of is restricted to the familiar scenes of traditional beekeeping. We are only too aware of the diseases and pollutants that can damage these precious colonies that produce our honey and pollinate our plants.

But, the truth of the integral roles bees play in our livelihoods and food is actually very different from what we imagine. It is a truth far removed from the colonies and hives of mask-wearing, honey-collecting beekeepers. Because up to 90% of all bees do not live in colonies at all. Those who don't aren't social, community creatures at all. They live a solitary existence. They are solitary bees. And, these solitary bees are far more important to the pollination of our plants than the colonies that live in hives. Just one single Red Mason bee (one of the many types of solitary bee that lives in Croatia) is equivalent to 120 worker honeybees in the pollination it provides.

nature-3084524_1920.jpgSolitary bees are the best pollinators of all bees

One person who is not unaware of the importance of solitary bees to our existence is 27-year-old Croat Josip Popcevic from Zbjegovača, a small village near Kutina. Since graduating in Production Engineering at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture, Josip Popcevic has turned his mind back to the rural landscape from which he comes and has dedicated himself to the preservation, protection and furtherance of the solitary bee population so integral to our existence.

142487543_172100968036831_2629020874627304058_n.jpgHousing for solitary bees made by Josip Popcevic © Cornuta / Josip Popcevic

One of Josip Popcevic's great ideas for securing the future of these important solitary bees could perhaps only come from an engineer – he has decided to build houses for them. This is no easy task. Unlike honey bees, who can live comfortably alongside thousands of others within a colony, solitary bees – as their name suggests – live completely alone. Except when mating, they do not depend on other bees at all. They most often nest in the ground, in wood and other natural materials. They are more active at lower temperatures, do not fly far from where they live, they are less aggressive than colony bees and they do not sting.

tubescon.jpgOne of Josip's houses for solitary bees, at work within a Croatian agricultural endeavour © Cornuta

After recognising the worth of solitary bees to pollination, Josip Popcevic realised he could simultaneously run an endeavour of preservation in tandem with a business that was commercially viable to the agricultural industry. He founded the company Cornuta, through which he provided fruit growers with the service of pollination using solitary bees. Now he has extended the business to building houses for solitary bees. He now sells the houses to those operating within the agricultural sector. And, while his efforts currently lie solely within the borders of Croatia, thanks in part to a business competition grant, he has his eyes on expansion of his endeavours into both neighbouring countries and local communities.

one_konacno-288x300.png© Cornuta

“I will soon start placing dwellings for solitary bees on public areas such as parks and school gardens,” Josip Popcevic told Jutarnji List in a recent interview. “I want to dedicate myself even more to educating citizens to become aware of the importance of bees for our planet. There is still a lot of room for improvement and I think that this activity will be even more popular in the years to come.”

nature-4371321_1920.jpgA solitary bee, one of the most important pollinators in the world

Friday, 15 January 2021

Par'l Committee: Concrete Support to Farmers in Earthquake-Hit Areas Needed Now

ZAGREB, 15 January, 2021 - Farmers in earthquake-hit areas need concrete help immediately so that they can stay and live and work there, it was said at a meeting of the parliamentary Agriculture Committee on Friday.

In three months' time the committee will convene to analyse what has been done to assist people affected by the earthquakes in 2020.

Farmers are faced with many problems - damaged houses, farm buildings and equipment, polluted wells and buyers who are taking advantage of the situation and offering low prices for their cattle, the committee heard.

The one thing that is obvious is that no one wants to leave their homes, the committee chair, MP Marijana Petir, said.

She said that farmers should be provided with temporary accommodation as soon as possible but also with shelter for farm animals. "We need to act quickly and concretely because if farms shut down, they will never reopen," underscored Petir.

She added that applications for farm support need to be make simpler for earthquake-hit areas as farmers there cannot meet the current criteria.

Everyone needs help immediately

Božidar Antolec from a local action group called for help so that local farmers can place their products on the market and that they be temporarily exempted from paying contributions or at least that they be deferred.

Croatian Chamber of Agriculture (HPK) president Mladen Jakopović said that two large retail chains had offered to place farmers' products from earthquake areas on their shelves through a simplified procedure and one had promised logistics in that regard.

The HPK advocates that support should be provided so that people remain in the area. Jakopović said that the HPK was delivering the first of several housing containers to the area today.

The committee's deputy chair, MP Ružica Vukovac (DP), said that there were problems on the ground, presenting an example in Donja Bačuga where it took three days for the competent services to save a herd of cattle, which, she said, showed that there was a problem in the chain of command.

Agriculture Minister Marija Vučković and state secretary Tugomir Majdak rejected this criticism, saying that they had been in the field constantly.

"That is not a realistic description. The cattle wasn't abandoned and there is no need to exaggerate the situation," Minister Vučković said.

She supported the suggestion that the majority of local products should be used in local kindergartens, schools, hospitals. "We are working on that, however, it is necessary to increase production in that area," she underscored. 

Projects valued at more than HRK 1 billion agreed to

Speaking about rural development measures, Vučković said that by 13 January projects valued at HRK 1.08 billion had been agreed to for Sisak-Moslavina County and that HRK 851 million had been paid out. HRK 137 million refers to social and utility infrastructure and HRK 67 million of that has been paid out.

Rural development measures for family-run farms valued at HRK 164 million have been agreed to for 81 projects and 29 projects valued at HRK 1.7 million have been agreed to for emergency aid due to the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A total of 451 projects for the development of small farms, launching of non-farming activities and support to young farmers valued at HRK 80.3 million have also been agreed to, said Vučković and added that direct payments were accelerated and that to date HRK 93 million, which is usually paid as of 15 February, had already been paid out.

Friday, 15 January 2021

Globalisation Threatens Croatia's Produce and Cuisine Via New Seed Laws

January 15, 2021 – The EU is being backed into a corner by the giants of globalised agriculture. Pre-empting a change in EU-farming directives, a new bill before the Croatian parliament seeks to regulate seed use for the country's farmers, putting at risk Croatia's distinct, regional produce and the country's famous cuisine. TCN interviews one of those leading the fight for Croatia's produce and cuisine.

Question: When is a tomato not a tomato? Answer: When it is a Croatian tomato.

Confused? Well, if you're from Croatia and never much left the country or region, you might be. But, if you're from western Europe or America and you've enjoyed a visit to Croatia, you'll know exactly what this means. As will any Croats who have emigrated to supposedly more 'developed' parts of the world. Food just doesn't taste the same in those places.

tomatoes-1280859_1280.jpgThe efforts of small-scale producers, family afrmers and those preserving distinct, traditional crops help give Croatia's produce and cuisine its unique reputation and flavour

As TCN touched on in our recent feature about food prices in Croatia (and its impact on health), in the supermarkets of western Europe and in America, everything is available, all of the time. People live in a globalised marketplace where seasonal availability is meaningless when your country and its giant supermarket brands have the power to export from anywhere. But, though everything is always available in these supermarkets, not everything on display is what it seems to be.

In Dalmatia, they like to pride themselves on a generally very simple approach to cooking. Good olive oil, salt, maybe a dash of fresh lemon, garlic and parsley is all you need to make a meal sing. And the surprised, delighted faces of their customers tell them they are right. But, that's far from the full story. It is not the simple approach to seasoning, spicing and condiments alone that brings Dalmatian cuisine to life, it is the base ingredients themselves.

The blitva (chard) stewed in potato, that so easy yet unreproducible shredded cabbage salad, and the similarly simple tomato salad are spectacular to visitors because their main ingredients sing. They sing in way that vegetables bought in supermarkets in western Europe and America do not. They do so because, in Croatia, you can easily choose to eat locally grown, seasonal vegetables and fruits. And these taste a whole lot better than the industrially farmed products that line the shelves in other regions. That's why, in Croatia, a tomato still tastes like a tomato. Whereas a tomato from a supermarket elsewhere tastes like... nothing.

Countless unclassified regional varieties of vegetables and fruits, often grown by small-scale producers or on family farms (OPGs) help give Croatia's produce and cuisine this incredible reputation among visitors. But, as the multi-billion dollar, globalised industry of farming-without-season extends its grip around the world, it is the rights of these distinct farmers which is most at threat.

The European Union is attempting to change its laws and directives for the regulation of seed use within all member states. Pressured by the enormous powers of the global agricultural industry, and partially in an attempt to protect its farmers, it wishes to adopt new laws or regulations to replace extremely outdated earlier versions. Pre-empting this change, a law has been put before the Croatian parliament which seeks to regulate seed use in Croatia. It's a rather complicated piece of legislation and is currently only at the stage of proposal.

seedling-5009286_1920.jpgChanges to the laws of seed registration at a national and EU level, partly in response to the demands of the globalised agricultural industry, threaten Croatia's produce and cuisine

Monitoring the proposed changes are an army of environmental activists, small-scale producers, family farmers, gardeners and concerned citizens. Spearheaded by three organisations – The Croatian Organic Farmers Association, Life - an organisation of small scale farmers, and Bio-Garden, an organisation made up of gardeners and seed savers - a petition has this week been put before the Croatian parliament objecting to several elements of the proposed new legislation. Earning the support of some 77 Croatian organisations, including farming groups, cattle breeders, plant growers, a network of environmental organisations, permaculture initiatives, gardeners' organisations and even the Chamber of Agriculture, which includes all the farmers inside Croatia, the petitioning of parliament has galvanised many different people in its objection. They say that the proposed new legislation will remove the rights and freedoms of small scale producers and family farms to use their own seeds. This will radically affect Croatia's produce and cuisine.

It is doubtless that there is a worldwide trend, pushing everyone who grows towards buying seeds from globalised agricultural giants. And so, while the response from a broad group of those immediately concerned is impressive enough, awareness of the issue needs to extend much further. It should include every Dalmatian tavern owner and chef who delights a foreign visitor. It should include every single person in Croatia who buys food from a public marketplace. It should include everyone who takes pride in home cooking. It should include the entire tourism industry of Croatia and every visitor to Croatia who has ever enjoyed the food here. Because it is the very distinctive, authentic and traditional nature of Croatia's produce and cuisine that is at stake. Croatia is at real risk of losing the flavour of its food.

“Let me start 10, 000 years ago, when agriculture first started. That's when people learned how to save seeds,” explains Sunčana Pešak, a graduate of Zagreb University's Agriculture Faculty and a member of the three combined groups objecting to the proposed new law. “What these people learned was to save the seeds only from the best part of the harvest. That's what they would use to grow the next season. That's how farming always was. And, it's the way that we got all of the genetic diversity of all the grown foods we eat.”

1914733_1166724380395_4614368_n.jpgSunčana Pešak, a graduate of Zagreb University's Agriculture Faculty and a member of the three combined groups defending Croatia's produce and cuisine by objecting to the proposed new seed law

That way of saving seeds still exists. It's what all gardeners and small-scale farmers use. But, now there is something new – industrial farming. They have a different way of saving seeds. This involves a scientific approach to breeding and an industrial approach to growing and harvesting. This is problematic because only around 10 companies in the whole world own the rights to the scientifically manufactured seeds used on this scale of farming. They own the patent rights to the seeds they have created. And, they always want their profits from their seeds being used. These companies are the same ones who produce the chemicals used in industrial farming. They control most of the seed market all over the world.”

The current problems facing small-scale producers and family farmers, brought to a head by the proposed new law in Croatia, essentially come from a clash between industrial-level seed breeders, who control the global market and who demand royalties on their patented seeds, and farmers who just want to grow.

“The term 'Seed variety' itself is a commercial term,” explains Sunčana. “This is something that can be described and catalogued as distinct. All of the plants and their fruits needs to look the same to be identified as this variety. In this way, it can be marketed. But, for people who grow from their own indigenous seeds, in their own traditional ways, their crop is much more diverse.”

“For example, in Croatia, before seed breeding started, people just grew from their own seeds. They would exchange seeds among themselves and eventually each village had its own unique varieties of crops. You could go 20 minutes down the road and the carrots that were grown in the next village were completely different to the ones you grow in your own. Some of the carrots were big, some small, some looked weird, some took on a white colour because they mixed with the wild-growing varieties. Also, as a small producer, you might employ the use of a combination of seed. You plant it and when it grows you get completely different kinds of plants. People might have a winter mix and a summer mix. It ensures diversity in growing and in the diet. Even with grains, by planting a mixture you might ensure a harvest is more resistant to a pest or a weather intervention. One element of the proposed new law would prevent those kinds of mixtures being planted and we would lose completely the initiative and experience of farmers who do so.”

“They proposed new seed law seeks to regulate everything. The demands asked of small scale farmers under it are the same one asked of industrial-scale farmers – they are all placed on the same footing. If you want to use a seed of your own, you have to register those traditional varieties in a system that is currently undefined. Why? Just let people grow. It is their right.”

The groups objecting to the proposed new law in Croatia have found some allies in their fight. Small scale producers and the owners of family farms around the world have been battling against the monopolisation of the farming industry by a handful of globalised giants for many years. They are organised and have teams of lawyers working on their behalf. They have lent support to Croatia's collective of objectors in their fight, helping to point out that the new proposed law goes against the rights not only of EU citizens but against global human rights. "States shall recognize the rights of peasants to rely either on their own seeds or on other locally available seeds of their choice, and to decide on the crops and species that they wish to grow." says the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas.

apple-1873078_1280.jpgTraditional farming and time-honoured seed varieties help make Croatia's produce and cuisine unique in Europe. Croatia currently stands strong against the pressure from globalised agriculture to accept GMO produce. Can it stand as strong against its demands for new registrations of seeds?

“The risk is huge,” says Sunčana, when asked what might happen to Croatia's produce and cuisine if the proposed new law passes without objection. “In just the last 100 years we lost 75% of our genetic biodiversity. That happened quite simply because people started buying seeds instead of saving them and then growing their own. All of the seeds that are now grown are quite alike. They take varieties that are proven to be the best, to grow to a maximum yield, to be resistant to pests and weather and which can grow successfully in all the different climates of the world. These are varieties that are standardised, well suited to industrial farming – they all ripen at exactly the same time, assisting mechanised harvesting. But, that logic does not always suit small scale farms, where you might need to grow from seeds whose plants reach maturity over an extended period. This gives you many weeks of opportunity to harvest and to sell on different market days.”

But, it isn't just a loss to the convenience of family farmers that would be enforced by the new law. Nor it is solely a matter of losing the tastes of traditional varieties of vegetables and fruits within Croatia's produce and cuisine. The loss to our collective health from this massive reduction in the variety of genetic biodiversity in our diet is currently unknown. Future effects could be catastrophic. Not only that, we could rapidly be losing crop varieties that might better adapt to the new conditions that will be imminently brought about by climate change.

“People with small farms already have enough trouble dealing with bureaucracy and administration. There's no way that all of Croatia's growers will go through the timely ordeal of registering every seed we have,” explains Sunčana, detailing another stipulation that lies within the proposed new change of law. If growers don't wish to register their own distinct varieties - which may have been preserved within their families or communities for generations, they always have the option of going to the National seed bank and taking from there, seeds that have already been registered. Unfortunately, only 27 such seeds exist within Croatia. And the seed bank can only supply such a small amount that it may take a small scale farm several years to build up the supply they need for their business.

The proposed new change of law in Croatia is extremely complicated, as will be the procedures and demands on growers if it passes. The change in seed regulation at an EU level could be similarly restrictive to non-industrial farmers and growers. But, though it is the Croatian government – and then the lawmakers of the EU – who will be addressed by the objections of farmers, growers, gardeners and biodiversity organisations, it is ultimately the profits of a small cabal of globalised and increasingly industrial agricultural/chemical giants which lie at the heart of the demand for change. They are a force of near incomparable strength.

On the surface, the issue of seed regulation might appear to really matter only to those who have a small to medium-sized business growing tomatoes or similar. But, the reality is that this issue concerns us all - everyone who puts a tomato on their fork, on their children's plate or on the table of an overseas visitor who will never forget the distinct flavour of Croatian food. It is the flavour of the future, and the reputation of Croatia's produce and cuisine, for which the fight is currently being made.

Saturday, 9 January 2021

Direct Help: Order From a Petrinja OPG, Small Producer, Family Farm

January 9, 2021 – The area affected by the devastating earthquake of 29 December 2020 is mostly rural. People there live off the land. They employ others at family farms and as small scale producers. Ordering from a Petrinja OPG or one from the surroundings directly helps families and the economy of the earthquake-affected area, so here's a list detailing them

Alongside the outpourings of sympathy and promise of prayers, since the large earthquakes of December 2020 struck Sisak-Moslavina County, Total Croatia News has been inundated with requests from regular readers and other asking how they can directly and effectively help. TCN has tried to answer all enquiries the best we can and has striven towards directing donors to the best-placed outlets.

Certainly, the rebuild of the communities and economies in places like Petrinja, Glina, Sisak and hundreds of surrounding villages, hamlets and settlements will take months, even years. As TCN discovered after we visited the affected region one day after the earthquake, this area is predominantly rural. People here live off the land, from agricultural endeavours. Small producers and family farms make up much of the economy. In a year where such producers have been hard hit by travel restrictions and other aspects of the pandemic, the livelihoods of many have been shattered by the subsequent earthquake.

In a pro-active, helpful and exhaustive piece of data collection, writer Antonia Dobrota and the team at Croatian-language tourism portal cimerfraj have over recent days come up with an inspired suggestion of how [people can directly help the economies and people of the affected region. They have published a list of as many small producers, family farms and Petrinja OPG producers, plus those in surrounding areas.

garden-5385995_1280.jpg

By ordering food, produce and goods like pottery from this list, people can spend their money directly within the economies of the affected area – no suspicion, no doubt, no middlemen, no staffing costs deducted. It is an inspired decision to construct (and continually update) such a list. Bravo, Antonia and cimerfraj! Several Croatian-language media outlets have since republished the list. Total Croatia News is pleased to do so in English. We warmly encourage its use, not only now, but in the months that follow.

Being small producers and family farms, most of the producers below are not only vital to others in the local communities (by offering employment opportunities), their goods are almost exclusively organic and produced in a traditional, eco-friendly manner. Any orders should be submitted with the utmost confidence.

(OPG is a designation in Croatia that is given specifically to family farms and small, community producers)

animal-1867521_1920.jpg

OPG Mladen Tonković
Gornji Vidusevac 2a, Glina
095 8069 822
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Products: hazelnuts

OPG Predrag Đurđević
Stjepana Radića 168, Petrinja OPG
091 5853 717
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Products: honey, bee products

OPG Vicencinović Hergouth
Stari put 28, Gornja Gračenica
098 9817 696 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Products: liqueurs, fruit brandies

OPG Naglić
Kompator 34, Velika Ludina
091 5437 949
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Products: organic fruit

OPG Pčelarstvo Crneković
Kornatska 20, Sisak
091 8913 248
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Products: honey, bee products

OPG Tomislav Marcinek
Mate Vezmara 25, Voloder
098 9043 165
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Products: sheep, chicken and rabbit breeding

Family farm Zeljko Perkovic
Timarci 117, Sunja
091 5887 753
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Products: sheep

OPG Oljačić
Dragutina Benka 12, Petrinja OPG
098 1861 397
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Products: seasonal fruits and vegetables

OPG Horžić
Vladimira Nazora 26, Sunja
099 4600 210
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Products: meat and eggs

OPG Abramović
Franje Zuzeka 17, Glina
098 638 455
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Products: mulch, honey and beekeeping products

OPG Leci
Tadije Smičiklasa 34, Petrinja OPG
091 1502 732
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Products: chokeberry / ariona berry and fruit jams, chokeberry / ariona berry juice

OPG Mikliš
Desno Trabarjevo 39, Martinska Ves
098 615 011
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Products: chickens, ducks, turkeys, chickens, eggs

OPG Ivanković
Martinska Ves 124, Martinska Ves
095 3992 217
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Products: hazelnut, beans, orange sweet potato

OPG Ćordaš
Donji Klasnic 111, Glina
091 8843 182
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Products: teas, jams, chokeberry / ariona berry products

OPG Marčinko
Dražena Petrovića 18/2, Petrinja OPG
099 7235 037
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Products: chokeberry / ariona berry, various types of honey and juices, eco buckwheat flour

Family farm Jure Kolarić
Bobovac 321, Sunja
095 8158 505
Mini cheese factory
Products: Mini cheese factory

OPG Džakula
Sjeverovac 23, Sunja
091 2048 169
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Products: veal, pork, fresh meat and cured meat products

Stucka-6-1024x768TZPetrinja.jpgPottery is a traditional craft in the area of Petrinja © TZ Petrinja

Pottery Matej Stanešić
Ljudevita Gaja 30, Petrinja OPG
044 816 308
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Pottery Val
Slavko Kolar 2, Petrinja OPG
0912340 060
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Cacti Beslic
Zagrebacka 185, Duzica
044 752 273
Products: cacti, succulents, aloe, carnivorous plants

Vrtlarija Gadžić
Stjepana Radića 324, Petrinja OPG
099 4040 992
gardener-gadzic
Products: flower and vegetable seedlings, perennials, roses, ornamental and spice plants

Eko-Pčela & OPG Rožić
Slatina 86, Petrinja OPG
098 1727 187
Products: organic honey, grain, rye, buckwheat, oats, fruit seedlings

Beekeeping Priljeva
Mije Srnaka 40, Petrinja OPG
098 9748 434
honey and beekeeping products

OPG Jela Grubišić
9 Gromova Street, Petrinja OPG
098 9454 211
Products: chickens, eggs

OPG Josipa Gadžić
Franza Wagnera 92, Petrinja OPG
098 9454 211
Products: flower and vegetable seedlings

OPG Polimac
Gornja Mlinoga 44
044 823 117/098 1373 107
Products: lambs and sheep

OPG Bunjan Dalibor
Sisačka 50 a, Petrinja OPG
099 2540 815
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Products: seasonal fruits and vegetables

OPG Champignon
Đurđica Bočina, Žabno 16, Sisak
099 8196 665
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Products: different types of mushrooms

OPG Trsoglavec Štefica
Sibic
098 286 558
Products: cheese, cream, butter and other dairy products

OPG Radošević Marijana
Stromarova 9, Petrinja OPG
099 2557 140
Products: honey and bee products

OPG Dario Paropatić
091 5723 320
Livestock breeding, buying and selling

OPG Paropatić Dejan
099 6597 155
Buying and selling live cattle

OPG Dvorneković
Milana Makanca 25, Petrinja OPG
091 1814 368
Products: blackberry wine, red currant wine, honey, propolis and fruit liqueurs

OPG Šipuš
Preloscica 92, Sisak
097 6674 912  
Products: dairy products, cheeses of different flavors

OPG Vuletić Željka
Gornja Mlinoga 39, Petrinja OPG
098 1847 750
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Products: jams, marmalades and juices from pumpkin, chokeberry / ariona berry and other fruits

OPG Priljeva Stojan
Donje Seliste, Glina
044 880 353/099 7403 650
Products: cheese and dairy products

OPG Lovro Lenac
A. Tomulića 10, Hrvatska Kostajnica
099 5127 643
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Products: pumpkin and chestnut

OPG Tamara Sekereš
Osekovo
091 7914 230
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Production: Beekeeping. 8 different types of honey, honey mixtures, propolis, delivery for Zagreb

OPG Ivica Vancas
Nebojan 134, Petrinja OPG
044 751 034/099 8048 076
Production: cereals (except rice), legumes and rapeseed oil

OPG Finka and Zdravko Oršulić
Matije Antolca 141, Petrinja OPG
095 9033 084/095 5863 284
Products: vegetable and flower seedlings, flowers and herbs

Family farm Snježana Oršulić
135 Gromova Street, Petrinja OPG
095 9074 512
Production: flower and vegetable seedlings

OPG Kata Čiča
Donji Viduševac, Glina
098 9945 323
Products: eco hazelnuts and free-range eggs

Family farm Slavica Jurić
Donja Budicina 22, Petrinja OPG
091 7220 520
Products: free-range eggs

OPG Mladen Bjelac
Ive Maline 84, Petrinja OPG
098 601 191
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Products: hazelnuts

OPG Stevo Zec
Hrvatska Kostajnica
091 7267 749
Products: honey

OPG Novakovic Milan
Gornji Bjelovac 15, Donji Kukuruzari
044 856 073
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Products: home-made sausages and bacon, pork fat

OPG Nikola Petković
Kralja Tomislava 73, Glina
091 7691 460
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Products: blackberry wine, blackberry liqueurs, raspberries, cherries, walnuts, rakija, jams, rural tourism

OPG Petrinjčica Davor Lugomer
Luščani 115
091 4000 407
Borovnice Petrinjčica
Products: blueberry cultivation from 15.6 to 10.8

honey-823614_1920.jpg

OPG Križić
Matije Antolca 1, Petrinja OPG
095 3924 280
Products: vegetables and bee products

OPG Marica Rožić
Vratečko 23, Petrinja OPG
091 6141 708
Products: livestock (cows, horses, chickens), milk production

OPG Naglić Kristina
Hrvatskog proljeća 30, Glina
099 2309 051
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Products: lambs, wine, brandy, liqueurs and Christmas trees

OPG Nikola Navijalić
Kralja Tomislava 1 branch 5, Moscenica
098 9729 671
Products: strawberries, vegetables, honey

OPG Miroslava Jović
Brezovo Polje 38, Glina
099 8299 458
Products: veal

OPG Josip Petrović
Brezovo Polje 95, Glina
099 2153 129
Products: pork, lamb, calves and young goats

OPG Dragan Jović
Brezovo Polje 95, Glina
099 2153 129
Production: calves

OPG Marijan Glušić
Antuna Mihanovića 1a, Petrinja OPG
095 9099 305/091 5251 497
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Products: apples and apple juice

OPG Josip Starešinović
Strašnik 109, Petrinja OPG
099 8759 237
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Products: milk, cheeses

OPG Milić Perica
Volinja 3, Dvor
099 5904996 / 098 779 214
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Products: free-range eggs, beef, composting, potatoes

OPG Vesna Antunović
Don Ante Lizatovica 5, Donji Kukuruzari
098 1902 554
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Products: honey, bee products

Family farm Vladimir Vujčić
Velika Gradusa 63, Sunja
091 7231 393
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Products: lambs

Family farm Vesna Pranjic - Marincic Winery
Frankopanska 18, Sisak
(new address: Jazvenik 8e, Sela)
0917315678/0915892346
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Products: wine, viticulture and winemaking

OPG Anita Zrnić
Bestrma 116, Sunja
098 1829 823
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Products: lamb, young goats

DVORSKA KOŠARICA – association of OPGs
091 9299 888
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

sausage-3065327_1920.jpg

OPG Zoran Simić
Donji Javoranj 38 Dvor
Products: breeder of indigenous, protected breeds of pigs, sheep, goats and donkeys - live animals, meat and meat products - sausages, lard, čvarci (fried pork rind – pork scratchings), bacon

OPG Milko Nišević Kepčije
Products: smoked and fresh cheeses, organic breeding of calves, heifer cows, sheep and lambs

OPG Angela and Štefan Abramović
Products: pumpkin oil, flour, seeds, goat cheese, yogurt, fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables

OPG Milan Janković
Uncani 75, Dvor
0996585104
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Products: flaxseed (linseed) oil, pumpkin oil, pumpkin protein, flax seeds

OPG Kokin dom
Petrinja OPG
095 7972 064
Production: chickens

OPG Blaženko Anđić
Tomislava Ivkaneca 8a, Petrinja OPG
Products: honey and bee products, chokeberry / ariona berry products

OPG Jelić Ivka
Gajeva, Petrinja OPG
Available in online shop Zelena Kuca
Products: Collective of small producers of domestic and ecological products from Petrinja and its surroundings

Family farm Dijana Vukovic
Novi Farkasic 48
099 2862 510
Products: pumpkin oil

berries-2277_1920.jpg

OPG "Majčina dušica" Nada Tanković
Petrinja OPG
091 7346 973
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Products: spices, herbs and medicinal herbs, berries (currants, raspberries, blackberries)

OPG Barišić Ivan
Mececani, Donji Kukuruzari
091 6460 664
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Products: vegetables, fruits, conserved fruits and vegetables, sheep and beekeeping

OPG Mara Dejanović
Deanovići 12, Petrinja OPG
098 9424 409
Products: dairy products, meat products, eggs, onions and other vegetables, lambs, pigs, calves

OPG Josip Jurković
Desni Degoj 20, Glina
098 9830 900
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Products: eggs, potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions

OPG Mira Cavic
Batinova Kosa 59, Topusko
099 7987 820
Products: free-range eggs, honey, potatoes, onions, lard, cleaned (plucked and butchered) chickens, geese and ducks, lambs

OPG Špiljar Nikola
Novi Farkasic 43, Petrinja OPG
098 9721 470
Products: cow-calf, sheep, pigs and horses

OPG Ivica Klobučar
Jurja Fratrovića 13, Glina
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Products: sheep breeding and free-range eggs

OPG Borojević
Trgovi, Dvor
091 9158 544
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Products: certified organic production and processing of hazelnuts (shelled hazelnuts, hazelnut oil, hazelnut flour, roasted hazelnuts) and buckwheat

OPG Severin Jurić
Lijevi Odvojak 33 A, Brest Pokupski
099 5053 160 / 098 551 324
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Product: hazelnuts

Cimerfraj add the following notes:

This list includes all small producers and family farms from the earthquake-affected settlements and the surrounding areas. At the time of compiling the list, we do not know whether these manufacturers are harmed or not, nor do we consider this important. We believe that synergy is necessary in order to initiate the balanced development of favorable existential opportunities for life in this area.

Due to some parts of the area currently being poorly covered by phone and internet signal, some of the manufacturers are easier to contact by text message, SMS or WhatsApp.

The list is still being updated. If you know of a domestic manufacturer from the affected area who is not currently included, please send all relevant details to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Thursday, 7 January 2021

Croatia Agriculture Production Grows by 1 Billion Kuna in 2020

January 7, 2021 – Within the last month, TCN was pleased to report that Croatia agriculture and food exports had jumped considerably in 2020, while imports of the same had fallen. The success of Croatia agriculture in 2020 has been confirmed by a new report which shows that the industry has grown by almost one billion kuna in a year

The success of the Croatia agriculture sector in 2020 was detailed in a report by Smarter, a consulting company specialising in the agriculture and food industry. Vecernji List published their coverage of the report in recent days.

In the report, figures show that the value of Croatia agriculture production increased by 4.7% compared to the same period during the previous year. Croatia agriculture revenue, therefore, jumped from 17.9 billion HRK to 18.8 billion, an increase of almost one billion kuna. The 12 month period of Croatia agriculture used to compile the figures ends in November within each comparative year.

Figures show that Croatia agriculture experienced excellent results in crop production (wheat, soybeans, corn, etc). This contributing evidence goes some way to explain the good news TCN reported back in December that, according to the country's Central Bureau of Statistics, the total value of Croatia agriculture and food exports in the period from January to September 2020 amounted to 1.7 billion Euros, an increase of 5 percent from the same period in 2019. Within the same period, the value of agricultural and food imports into Croatia was 2.5 billion Euros, a decline of 7.3 percent from last year.

The result of the 2020 successes in Croatia agriculture has been a reduction in the foreign trade deficit by 26.6% in the agriculture and food sector. The improvement in 2020 is being partly attributed to grants and payments under the Rural Development Program (RDP), which have grown significantly creating a stimulus that in part affected the growth of the value of production and the amount that was produced. Increasing profits within the country's agriculture sector is being catalysed by adding value to the raw product which is grown here, via processing and other methods, which happens prior to export taking place.

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