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.

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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)

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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
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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
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Products: seasonal fruits and vegetables

OPG Champignon
Đurđica Bočina, Žabno 16, Sisak
099 8196 665
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Products: pumpkin and chestnut

OPG Tamara Sekereš
Osekovo
091 7914 230
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Products: hazelnuts

OPG Stevo Zec
Hrvatska Kostajnica
091 7267 749
Products: honey

OPG Novakovic Milan
Gornji Bjelovac 15, Donji Kukuruzari
044 856 073
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Products: home-made sausages and bacon, pork fat

OPG Nikola Petković
Kralja Tomislava 73, Glina
091 7691 460
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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

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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
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Products: apples and apple juice

OPG Josip Starešinović
Strašnik 109, Petrinja OPG
099 8759 237
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Products: milk, cheeses

OPG Milić Perica
Volinja 3, Dvor
099 5904996 / 098 779 214
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Products: free-range eggs, beef, composting, potatoes

OPG Vesna Antunović
Don Ante Lizatovica 5, Donji Kukuruzari
098 1902 554
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Products: honey, bee products

Family farm Vladimir Vujčić
Velika Gradusa 63, Sunja
091 7231 393
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Products: lambs

Family farm Vesna Pranjic - Marincic Winery
Frankopanska 18, Sisak
(new address: Jazvenik 8e, Sela)
0917315678/0915892346
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Products: wine, viticulture and winemaking

OPG Anita Zrnić
Bestrma 116, Sunja
098 1829 823
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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.

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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
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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

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OPG "Majčina dušica" Nada Tanković
Petrinja OPG
091 7346 973
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Products: spices, herbs and medicinal herbs, berries (currants, raspberries, blackberries)

OPG Barišić Ivan
Mececani, Donji Kukuruzari
091 6460 664
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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.

Saturday, 19 December 2020

Croatia Agriculture and Food Exports Jump in 2020, Imports Fall

December 19, 2020 – A surprising success story in a difficult year as Croatia agriculture and food exports jump in 2020, while imports of the same have fallen

Good news from any place is welcome in this most difficult of years. According to provisional data from 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 success of Croatia agriculture and food exports in the period means that the country's trade deficit has decreased by huge 26.6 percent compared to the same period last year. With this year's findings taken into account, the trade deficit now stands at 758.8 million Euros.

fieldsromi2.jpg© Romulić & Stojčić

Croatia agriculture and food exports covered 69 percent of total imports this year, an increase of 8.11 percent. A total of 15.86 percent of all exports from the country come from the Croatia agriculture and food exports sector.

The most important item of production within the sector is corn, which accounts for 5.4 percent of all Croatia agriculture and food exports.

From January to September 2020, the most significant products in exports were: cereals (205.4 million Euros – a growth of a huge 62.6 million Euros); various food products (168.1 million Euros – including manufactured/processed foods like sauces, soups, ice cream, sugar products); fish and other seafood (a huge 147.4 million Euros – showing a growth of 14.5 million Euros); cereals, flour, starch or milk products; confectionery products, including chocolate (135.9 million Euros – a growth of 13.8 million Euros), and tobacco-related products (122.6 million Euros). TCN recently took a closer look at the successful and well-established Croatian chocolate industry

Other successes within 2020 Croatia agriculture and food exports were live animals, with an increase of 10.1 million Euros, and the residue and waste of the food industry, which is exported to go into prepared animal foods. The latter saw an increase of 8.6 million Euros.

brancinsfinal.jpg

So far this year, Italy was one of the most important destinations for Croatia agriculture and food exports. Their total consumption of Croatia agriculture and food exports was 300.8 million Euros, which amounts to 17.76 percent of Croatia's exports in the sector. Croatia agriculture and food exports to Italy increased by 21.9 percent this year, while imports from Italy to Croatia in the same period was 263 million Euros, a decrease of 16.6 percent on 2019. This creates a surplus of 37.6 million Euros.

The most important Croatia agriculture and food exports to Italy are maize, wheat and soybeans, tobacco-related products, sea bass (brancin) and bream (orada).

For the last five years, Croatia agriculture and food exports top consumer has been Germany. For the past seven years, Germany has also been the country from which Croatia has imported the most.

Saturday, 14 November 2020

Vesela Motika - Urban Indoor Eco Farm on Tresnjevka

November 14, 2020 - What happens when you give three agronomists and one Excel guy a space of 90 square meters? Believe it or not – a completely eco-based urban indoor farm, Vesela Motika.

Not so long ago, Sergej Lugovic and his colleague Bojan Krnjic started the journey of Urban Farm Solutions. At that time Sergej was a professor at Polytechnic of Zagreb and he often worked with his students on project-based things. They wanted a ready-made growing system to work together on automation, electronics, and software but realized there isn't any plug and play system for that to buy in Croatia.

As time passed, Sergej and Bojan worked on agriculture systems: on the one hand, they have the software and technological solutions. On the other hand, they have the primary cultivation on their farm. All of that is hidden at the indoor farm on Tresnjevka, which has a long tradition of independent food production in Zagreb; there was a dairy, soy factory, and now Vesela Motika (Happy Hoe).

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© Vesela Motika

Systems Kostya and Home Garden

They work with primary indoor cultivation of plant crops, equipment development, and complete solutions that are created according to clients' wishes. System Kostya is industrial-based for conventional agriculture, and it is a vertical system, while Home Garden is more if you want a have plants in your house or office. Except that it has a therapeutic feature - Sergej can calculate what you eat, how much you eat, how much you spend on food, so that you can benefit from that aspect, as well.

“Our thing is hyper-local; we don't need equipment from I don't know where because we have the competencies to make them in Croatia. If we could build have the business towers around the world, one of the best guns in the world, the fastest electric car, the best athletes, where are we stuck in other things?”

If you want to grow 2000 seedlings (whose price at the Tresnjevka market is 4 HRK), you need a space of 1.2 meters by 0,6 meters and six floors with shelves for seedlings. This is the Kostya system used in professional agriculture.

Eco seeds are procured from the company Lokvine (near Zagreb). Besides, their entire production is eco: from top nutrients for plants, protection, and substrates to top lighting.

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© Vesela Motika

The biggest problem in agriculture - financial and information literacy

Talking to farmers, Sergei realized that they do not know how to calculate the price difference because they do not record costs, do not manage stocks, and do not count their time.

“Because of all this, overkill happens, burning outs, product quality drops, or they start behaving opportunistically and then reselling. Then you are the same thing you are fighting against,” says Sergej, who comes from the field of business analytics. He used to run the Big Data Lab for five years, was among the first 4 employees at SAP Croatia, and had an Internet video company in 2005 (yes, before YouTube).

“If you buy 10kg of tomatoes and sell them, that is around 70 HRK. If you make salsa from those 10 kgs, you might get 120 HRK. But if you bring a person to the farm, to pick a tomato himself, teach him how to make that salsa and take it home, give him accommodation on the farm, you get, for the same 10 kg of tomatoes, 350 HRK (including an overnight stay, meal, etc.),” says Sergej.

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© Vesela Motika

YouTube for food

As an active member of the underground electronic music scene and being a DJ for 20 years, Sergej has run nightclubs and organized over 1,000 events. He realized that this underground independent scene culture could be applied to independent food culture. That’s why he prefers to call it independent rather than craft. 

Sergej’s is finishing his Ph.D. in information behavior in which he quantified patterns of behavior of people searching for music in the domain of machine learning. The first paper was published in 2005 about what other industries can learn from the music industry. “Because we went from records to making all the music free. Then I asked a hypothetical question, what would YouTube for food look like?” 

Just as we have free music on YouTube, so we could have free food. It seemed impossible at first, but after research, he realized that 50% of food is thrown away. “If they had a good information system, everyone would have free food,” Sergej concludes.

He made a comparison and said that Google is worth a trillion, now; let's imagine someone investing a trillion in an information system to give food to those who don’t have from those who have a surplus. But of course, he is aware that legislation would try to prevent this.  “We worked on an information system for the Red Cross store in Zagreb, which distributes food free of charge, and they were acquainted with the strict legal regulations.”

Sergej believes that these ways can always be regulated - if someone wants to give his surplus, he sees no obstacle for others to accept it.

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© Vesela Motika

Contra concept - big no to from the field to the table

If there are one table and four suppliers trying to be as close to that table as possible, when a customer decides what to buy, he will only take 1 and 3 stays where? But if we look from the “from table to farm” aspect, Sergej, as an information scientist, follows the information: your refrigerator and your desk know how much food you need. If that data could be captured, we can have a lot less food waste, a much clearer information picture of what’s going on. Another premise is that food must be produced as close as possible to where it is consumed because too much money is spent on distribution, cold chains, etc. The impact is not only about eating quality, not polluting the Earth with transport, but also having a therapeutic effect. 

His colleague Bojan grew a lot of things near Popovaca. They concluded that the energy they spend on artificial lighting in Zagreb on the indoor farm is equal to when Bojan goes to Popovaca 7 and a half times a month. “And we can grow one ton in Zagreb, which is 12 tons a year,” says Sergej.

Cognition is a process, don't hurry it

Sergej doesn't worry if something doesn't happen tomorrow; he realizes that everything will come on its own. He teaches his students that if they plant a salad, they will eat it in 30 days. If they plant an olive, they will eat it in 7 years, but they will eat it for 700 years. “I wrote something in my MBA in 1999 that I am doing today. The conclusion was whether the refrigerator would become a competitor to Tesco because the refrigerator has information on how much you eat,” says Sergej.

They are working on some projects that are still in the early stage of development but are already talking to the people working on the buildings' projects. If a building, a socio-technological system, is built together with a biosystem, there can be a farm in the basement. The lamps' heat goes up, heats the building, and the people who live in that building have fresh vegetables on hand. Besides, each building would have one agronomist.

Furthermore, they created an app that has four functions: it is a multivendor (combines transit warehouse for multiple suppliers, logistics, route planning), transaction system (immediately issues invoices, delivery notes - when you click “buy,” 12 documents are created automatically), finance management and has a farm and inventory self-management module. They have developed very demanding software that requires a larger volume of sales to make it cost-effective. “Friend, who runs a farm and make one of the best cheese in Croatia, told me that I have a Jaguar in the garage; there will come a time when I will park it in front.” 

As much as the corona crisis gave them time to build an even stronger story, it still brought them to their knees in some things. “And that's okay. Because looking at physics, everything that sinks has a repressive force, as well,” concludes Sergej.

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© Vesela Motika

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Wednesday, 14 October 2020

Agrivi: Digitisation of Croatian Agriculture is Competitiveness Trigger

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Lucija Spiljak writes on the 13th of October, 2020, Matija Zulj, the director of the Croatian agro-technological company Agrivi, which has developed one of the most successful applications for agricultural production management, recently presented his innovation in business and stressed the importance of the digitisation of Croatian agriculture, its production and the increase of food safety.

Agrivi, whose software in the agtech industry is today among the top 10 solutions in the world and the top three in all of Europe, cooperates with more than 500 clients across Croatia, and Zulj revealed that they also successfully cooperate with the Ministry of Agriculture, which educates on digitalisation.

"On their part, there's great interest in the benefits that digitalisation can bring to Croatian agriculture and as such to the entire economy. The benefits are abundant because investing in digitisation pays off quickly; by implementing the solution alone, earnings grow by 50 and 100 percent, thus ensuring the necessary investments.

It gives consumers a detailed insight into production, allows room for greater and better choice and increases food safety. The digitisation of agriculture can be a solution to significantly increase the competitiveness of domestic agriculture and the Ministry of Agriculture has an understanding of this,'' said Agrivi's Marija Zulj, who believes that Croatia should use part of the available 22 billion euros of European Union funds for the digitalisation of agriculture, which has proven to be important across the world.

Agrivi's boss also announced that his company has implemented a solution for the traceability of food production with a company in Dubai - a QR code allows a user to obtain all of the necessary information about a product. As Zulj explained, this solution is already showing great market potential and represents a revolution in the food industry.

"The consumer gets the opportunity to get key data on the origin, cultivation and nutritional composition of the product by scanning the code, and the manufacturer gets to achieve premium quality and thus higher prices," explained Zulj, adding that they're ready to implement this solution anywhere in the world, and it would be possible to do that here in Croatia as well.

Agrivi's software is otherwise the most complete solution that, in addition to being easy to use, is also localised in fifteen languages, and is used by farmers of all sizes, food companies, agro-banks and other stakeholders in the agricultural and food industry. Users can get all the information about each stage of production, production plan and timely implementation of agro-technical measures in a mere few clicks.

They work with global leaders such as Driscoll’s, the world's largest berry producer, then Nestle, which uses Agrivi software to ensure fruit quality for its baby food factories, and Helvetas, which ensures rice traceability for more than 4,000 small farmers in Asia.

The consulting company Ernst & Young recommended Agrivi's solution as an ideal project that could have a positive impact on agriculture and the entire economy in Croatia in just two years.

Agrivi is celebrating seven years of business this year, coming from humble beginnings as a startup and growing into a technology company, globally established and present in more than 100 countries, with offices in Zagreb, Warsaw, Bucharest and London, with the aim of expanding into the European and American markets where they have a strong customer base and where additional sales offices are expected to open.

They currently have 40 employees and in the last two months they have hired eight new ones in spite of the ongoing pandemic, and at this moment in time, three more positions have been opened. Recently, Agrivi and Agroklub signed an agreement and became strategic partners, thus further positioning themselves as key leaders in digitalisation in agriculture in the Adriatic region.

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Thursday, 27 August 2020

186,000 Euros for Programme of Distributing a Jar of Croatian Honey to Every First-Grader

ZAGREB, August 27, 2020 - The Croatian government on Thursday approved a HRK 1.4 million programme whereby a jar of honey produced in Croatia will be given to every first grader this autumn.

Agriculture Minister Marija Vuckovic recalled that this programme had been launched in December 2018, and covered all elementary schools throughout the country.

To date, 828 schools with 72,002 pupils have been engaged in the implementation of the programme, and honey provided by 381 local beekeepers has been distributed to those schools.

According to data by beekeepers, which were made public in 2019, Croatia has 8,000 apiarists and more than 415,000 bee communities with an annual production of honey and other bee products of more than 8,000 tonnes.

The average consumption of honey per capita in Croatia is 2 kilogrammes.

 

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Saturday, 4 July 2020

Chamber of Agriculture Urges Consumers to Buy Domestic Vegetables

ZAGREB, July 4, 2020 - The Croatian Chamber of Agriculture (HPK) on Saturday called on consumers, buyers, and retailers to help domestic farmers by buying their vegetables because the corona crisis has put them in unenviable market position and this year's yield risks going to waste.

Domestic farmers are desperate as they have no one to sell their product to and the yield risks staying in the fields instead of in stores and farmers' markets, Vjekoslav Budnec, chair of the HPK vegetable farming committee, told a press conference

"Due to the fear of a vegetable shortage in the wake of the corona crisis, vegetable farming increased this spring, which was the goal, to raise self-sufficiency," HPK leaders said.

This year's yield is good but farmers have no one to sell it to as buyers knock the purchase price below the producer price, they added.

"Unfortunately, tourism and tourist consumption as one of the essential sales channels have been absent, while the import and placement of cheap vegetables and market surpluses from the EU and regional markets through retail chains have continued," HPK said.

HPK president Mladen Jakopovic called on consumers to buy domestic vegetables as a way to protect domestic production as well as on retail chains to put more domestic vegetables on their shelves.

HPK expects the government to define a clear vegetable farming strategy.

Its leaders said Croatia imported 56,072 tonnes of vegetables worth €46.37 million in the first three months of this year.

Jakopovic said this was up 11.4% in quantity year on year but that the value was the same, "which proves that even during the corona crisis, world market surpluses were arriving in Croatia at lower prices."

He added that the import of every vegetable was increasing.

According to estimates, there are some 39,000 vegetable farms in Croatia. Their average size is 0.32 hectares, resulting in a low yield per hectare and low competitiveness.

Saturday, 30 May 2020

HBOR: 130 Million Kuna Working Capital for Rural Development Secured

As Novac writes on the 29th of May, 2020, the Ministry of Agriculture and HBOR have prepared a new financial instrument called ''working capital for rural development", for which 130 million kuna has been provided, and loans will be approved directly by HBOR, with an interest rate of 0.5 percent, while users will be exempt from having to pay all fees.

This is a new programme for lending liquidity to farmers and processors of agricultural products and entities operating in the forestry sector whose business is being negatively affected by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the Ministry of Agriculture and the Croatian Bank for Reconstruction and Development (HBOR) point out in their separate statements.

These loans will be approved directly by HBOR at a welcome interest rate of 0.5 percent, and loan users are exempt from needing to pay all fees normally charged upon approval (for example, fees for processing a loan application, for reserving funds, etc) as well as fees for the alteration of credit conditions, including early loan repayment fees.

Loan applications will be able to be submitted to HBOR as of Monday, June the 1st, 2020. The minimum loan amount stands at 190,000 kuna and the maximum is 1.52 million kuna.

These funds are approved for a period of up to five years (including a grace period of up to twelve months), or up to three years (including a grace period of up to six months) for loans in the amount of 760 thousand kuna or less.

The Ministry of Agriculture has pointed out that this new instrument will provide liquidity in the agricultural production, processing and forestry sectors in the short term, and also work to further encourage recovery after the public health crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The funds will be able to be used to finance employee salaries, overheads and other basic operating costs, the procurement of raw materials and the settlement of liabilities to suppliers and other current operating costs. The funds cannot be used to settle existing credit obligations to commercial banks and other financial institutions, HBOR noted.

The total amount of funds intended for these loans amounts to the aforementioned 130 million kuna, and is provided by the conversion of part of another financial instrument called "investment loans for rural development" into the new financial instrument called ''working capital for rural development".

Loan applications will be being received until December the 31st, 2020, or until the total amount of available funds are used up, according to a statement from the competent ministry and from HBOR.

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Friday, 29 May 2020

Agriculture: Why Can't Croatia Grow Enough Food For Its Own Needs?

As Zvjezdana Blazic/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 29th of May, 2020, agriculture and the food industry among the key sectors in times of crisis, especially crises on the scale this one is.

When we talk about agriculture and the accompanying agri-food industry in this day and age, the first thing that we need to clear up is that despite Slavonia once being the bread basket of the region, is that now - Croatia is a country dependent on food imports.

We all have to ask ourselves why a country with so much natural potential, quality agricultural land, plenty of water and a very diverse climate and landscape can't grow and produce enough food for its own needs, despite the fact that it has all of the necessary resources to do so? Why does Croatia import food worth 3.5 billion euros?

Every year, Croatia spends more and more money from European Union funds and the state budget, which is allocated for various types of payments, so-called incentives for agricultural production that is either falling or stagnant. There is a large disproportion between the aid invested and the actual output that is achieved.

In the period from 2005 to 2017, 44 billion kuna was invested in agriculture, an average of 3.2 billion kuna annually, and the value of Croatia's agricultural output has been falling or stagnating for years. It is now close to 17 billion kuna, and before joining the EU it stood at 21 billion kuna. Croatia is burdened with problems when it comes to its agriculture sector that have remained unsolved for years:

Croatia doesn't have a clear vision of what it wants to get out of its own agricultural production, nor what the future of the country's many rural areas is

As a result of the demographic crisis, there has been huge depopulation in Croatia's rural areas

There is inadequate management of land as the main resource for agricultural production, so Croatian estates remain small and fragmented. For the structure of Croatia's agricultural production in which cereals predominate, the average size of agricultural holdings of 11.6 hectares is inadequate

The land is undeveloped and the plots are small and fragmented

The vertical value chain between farmers, the processing industry and retail is broken (except in the case of large integrated systems), and the food processing industry relies heavily on imported raw materials

There is low productivity, and in some sectors Croatia remains the worst in the EU, but there are still relatively high labour costs

Croatia has outdated technology, and there are high costs that come with introducing food quality and safety standards

The resistance of agricultural producers to associations that are too small to enter the market, they are poorly technologically equipped, and the situation is plagued by unfavourable age and qualification structures

Poor public infrastructure, eg irrigation, storage capacity, cold storage, logistics

There is a low level of cooperation with scientific research institutions and the academic community

Poor credit availability remains problematic, as do high tax burdens

There is weak, slow and ineffective administrative support in solving problems in agriculture

Croatia's agriculture sector, much like an array of other sectors, is overwhelmed by draconian bureaucratic regulations, laws, ordinances and instructions on how farmers should produce. The state has burdened them so much with various administrative obligations that they do not have enough time to invest in their actual production.

Owing to the coronavirus pandemic, Croatia is now at a pivotal moment in terms of determining the further development of its agricultural policy. We're waiting for the revision of the payment system for agriculture from EU funds in the new programming period and changes to the Common Agricultural Policy.

European Union member states have not yet agreed on a new programming period, primarily being stuck on on financial envelopes and on new rules.

Given the significant changes that have taken place globally in agriculture, as a result of the outbreak of the new coronavirus, we believe that green payments and the protection of rural areas, among an array of other factors, will be more seriously reconsidered.

Experts believe that Croatia must start from production, provide food for its own population, ensure food security in case of any threats like the one we have experienced and is still ongoing, as this is an issue of self-sufficiency and national security. Croatia has the conditions for production and we should be obliged to properly use them.

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Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Kutjevo Continued Working at Full Capacity Despite Lockdown

As Novac/Matea Grbac writes on the 19th of May, 2020, although the domestic and world economies are gradually opening up again, and people's lives are returning to a slightly altered sort of normalcy, the Croatian economy is still far from out of the woods. Kutjevo has set job preservation as one of its main strategic goals in these strange times.

In these moments of crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic, preserving jobs has become the biggest challenge for each and every employer. Day by day, we're witnessing the devastating statistics on the growth in the number of unemployed people, of which there are currently just over 160,000 in terms of the Croatian labour market.

In addition to those who simply lost their jobs practically overnight, more and more workers are on the state-guaranteed minimum wage introduced by the Croatian Government in a package of economic measures designed to keep the Croatian economy's proverbial head above the water. Despite the uncertainty and the fact that it is already clear that the plans for this year are one thing, and their actual implementation is something else, one of the most important agricultural producers in Croatia, Kutjevo, has set job preservation as one of the main strategic short-term and long-term business goals. It is for this reason that the Kutjevo winery has no intentions of encroaching on the rights of 622 employees.

''We have 593 full-time employees and 29 part-time ones. Preserving their jobs while also preserving financial stability and uninterrupted production processes is our business priority because the main seasonal work and preparations for harvest that awaits us at the end of August take place on arable land and on vineyards,'' explained Kutjevo Management Board member, Dino Galić.

He pointed out that for now, they have applied only for job preservation measures and that workers' salaries have not been adjusted, but kept at the level they were at before the coronavirus pandemic hit the country, in order to preserve their standards and the respective household budgets of Kutjevo's employees, a move they're extremely (and rightfully) proud of.

''So far, we haven't utilised any of the other measures offered by the Croatian Government to businesses. We believe that as a large system, we have a responsibility to all public and private institutions to fulfill all of our obligations on time. Of course, as long as the financial construction of the business allows that to happen. We're actively monitoring the development of the situation and we're being informed and consulting with all of the relevant institutions regarding possible frameworks and support on a daily basis,'' he emphasised.

In addition to its workers, Kutjevo also takes care of a large subcontracting base within which it has contracted cooperation with as many as 242 farms that take care of a massive 370 hectares of vineyards. Therefore, this well known Croatian company is constantly trying to make consumers aware of the importance of buying and consuming domestic products above all, thus indirectly providing support to the survival of Croatia's many producers.

Kutjevo has stated that even during these economically trying times, they still worked at full capacity and that due to the nature of the work, most of their employees still came to work physically as normal.

''Since we're a company whose primary activity is agricultural production, we worked at full capacity, of course, in compliance with all of the prescribed measures of the National Civil Protection Headquarters in order to protect the health of our employees at the maximum level. I must also point out the contribution of all of our colleagues who, through their efforts and hard work, ensured that work taking place with field crops and in vineyards was done within the given deadlines,'' he emphasised, adding that like many other companies across the country, office work and work related to sales and marketing was organised in a way so that people could work from home.

The closure of the HoReCa system, the plethora of coronavirus-induced economic issues, the rise in excise duties on alcohol and tobacco products - all these represent challenges that the wine industry has faced this year, and we're only in May. In addition to all of these troubles, Galić stated that according to information from the sales index, the growth of wine sales in retail chains is visible, but this data still doesn't go in favour of domestic winemakers. Namely, although the growth is visible, it is more related to imported wines which come in lower price categories, and the sales of top wines from Croatian wineries are unfortunately continuing to decline.

Despite the less than encouraging numbers, they still see something positive in everything. It is precisely the growth of online sales that has flourished in the last two months. Along with the growth of e-commerce, a positive shift, he added, is also visible in the gradual change in the habits of local consumers who seem to be beginning to appreciate quality domestic products more.

''Changes in consumer habits have been visible for a long time. Croats are becoming more and more educated about wines, as well as in pairing that drink with certain meals, thus raising the bar for local winemakers. This is an excellent indicator for us because, in line with this trend, we're constantly investing in production processes in order to achieve better quality,'' explained Galić.

Kutjevo winery, known for its "queen of the cellar", Graševina, sells sixty percent of its wines on the domestic market through hotels and restaurants, which is why it views the reopening of the HoReCa system positively. For example, last year alone, they sold a little more than five million litres of wine through this sales channel on both domestic and foreign markets alone.

''Without caterers and hoteliers, the viticulture sector has no chance to sell wine and maintain the current dynamics. Wine is mostly consumed at gatherings such as celebrations, concerts, weddings and other occasions. We're currently making additional efforts to prepare for the season ahead, despite a large number of questions and unknowns hanging over our heads. We're obliged to deliver the top level of quality to our partners and consumers, regardless of the economic situation through our wine assortment and our service, which we're extremely proud of,'' concluded Kutjevo's Galić.

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