Wednesday, 11 March 2020

Electronic Agricultural Card ePI to Be Introduced for Farmers

ZAGREB, March 11, 2020 - Every farmer in Croatia can apply for an ePI electronic agricultural card, an official document issued by the Ministry of Agriculture to take farmers into the digital era and future online services, the ministry said on Wednesday.

The card will enable farmers to conduct administrative procedures simply and quickly from home.

The ePI will replace all existing cards that farmers have used until now.

One of the advantages of the new card is that it enables applications for support in the AGRONET system to be conducted online, which will relieve the administration system of the Agency for Payments and cut the time required to process applications.

The first issue of ePI cards will be free of charge, the ministry noted.

The ePI can also be used to access the e-citizens system and the services it provides such as applications for birth certificates, pension applications, health insurance applications and tax returns etc.

"The e-agriculture card is a step toward introducing farmers to the digital era and future online services. The card offers several benefits and has a high level of security, one of the most advanced on the market," Agriculture Minister Marija Vučković underscored.

The ministry recalled that along with the introduction of the ePI, it is working on new systems.

The Farmers' Register will connect the ministry, the Agency for Payments and the Croatian Agency for Agriculture and Food, which will improve the exchange of information and facilitate procedures for farmers, while the Agriculture Reports Management System will create the basis for analyses, controls and reporting as well as providing a single overview of farms and farmers in Croatia.

The GeoPortal of farm system is a one-stop site where farmers and the interested public can view physical data and information regarding agriculture that is organised based on theme areas, the ministry said in its press release.

More agriculture news can be found in the Business section.

Thursday, 30 January 2020

Croatia Partner Country of Italy's Fieragricola Agricultural Fair

ZAGREB, January 30, 2020 - Croatia is the partner country of this year's Fieragricola, Italy's largest agricultural fair, which is taking place in Verona from January 29 to February 1.

Agriculture Minister Marija Vučković attended the opening ceremony on Wednesday on behalf of the Agriculture Ministry as the partner institution.

Vuckovic participated in a panel entitled "Agribusiness in Africa and trade relations with the EU and Italy: Opportunities and prospects", and had a bilateral meeting with her Italian counterpart Teresa Bellanova, with whom she discussed ways of advancing Croatian-Italian trade relations, the Agriculture Ministry said in a statement.

In the context of the Croatian presidency of the Council of the EU, the State Secretary at the Agriculture Ministry, Zdravko Tušek, presented the main characteristics of the Croatian agricultural sector to potential business partners and representatives of the Italian media and the priorities of the Croatian EU presidency in the area of agriculture.

Italy is among Croatia's most important trading partners. Since 2002 it has been among the top three countries for Croatian exports. Agricultural products accounted for 15.52 percent of all exports to Italy in 2018 and for 16.16 percent in 2019.

Last year Fieragricola confirmed its status as the most important European agricultural show, attracting 130,000 visitors, of whom more than 15 percent were business people from abroad.

More agriculture news can be found in the Business section.

Wednesday, 29 January 2020

Croatia and Bulgaria with Highest Increase of Organic Farming Area in EU

ZAGREB, January 29, 2020 - Croatia and Bulgaria recorded the highest increase of organic farming area in the European Union in the period from 2012 to 2018, says a report by the European statistical office - Eurostat.

The total organic area in the European Union (EU) was 13.4 million hectares in 2018, corresponding to 7.5% of the total utilised agricultural area, shows Eurostat's report released on Wednesday.

This represents an increase of 34% between 2012 and 2018.

Eurostat explains that organic area covers land fully converted to organic farming and areas under conversion. Organic farming is a way of agricultural production which uses organic production methods and places the highest emphasis on environmental and wildlife protection and, with regard to livestock production, on animal welfare considerations.

Among the EU Member States, the countries with the largest shares of organic area in 2018 were Austria (24.1% of total utilised agricultural area), Estonia (20.6%) and Sweden (20.3%), followed by Italy (15.2%), Czechia (14.8%), Latvia (14.5%), Finland (13.1%) and Slovenia (10.0%).

With a 6.9% share of organic area, Croatia is among countries like Germany (7.3%), France (7.0%) and Belgium (6.6%). In 2018 Croatia had 103,166 hectares of organic farming area, almost three times more than in 2012.

Only two countries recorded a decrease in organic area - Great Britain and Poland.

Spain has the largest organic farming area expanding over 2.2 million hectares and accounts for 16.7% of total utilised farming land.

More agriculture news can be found in the Business section.

Tuesday, 28 January 2020

Cooperation Discussed for Agricultural Project in Bosnia, Croatia and Montenegro

DUGA RESA, January 28, 2020 - Officials of Karlovac County and the municipality of Velika Kladuša, Bosnia and Herzegovina, negotiated on Tuesday in Duga Resa cooperation in a project of long-term development of agricultural production in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Croatia, which will be co-financed through the EU's INTERREG programme.

It is a project of cross-border cooperation between Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Montenegro, coordinated by the north western Bosnian town of Velika Kladuša, so the talks with representatives of the City of Duga Resa and other local units of the Karlovac County were attended by the Velika Kladuša mayor, Fikret Abdić.

The municipalities in Karlovac County, that have shown interest in the project, are part of a total of about 40 municipalities of the three countries, which were visited by the representatives of the municipality of Velika Kladuša and then offered to be their partners in the project, with the aim of cultivating uncultivated land for the benefit of local communities.

The adviser to the Velika Kladuša mayor, Ervin Abdić, told reporters after the meeting that the project was definitely under way, and that they only had to determine who would participate in it. He said that a Memorandum of Cooperation and Friendship would be signed in Velika Kladuša on 22 February with the cities and municipalities which decide to participate, and that they would know the final number then.

“All the communities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Montenegro which we have visited consider the project useful. In the initial phase, at least two hectares would be cultivated in each municipality, that is, a total of about ten hectares in the five years of the project, and the cost for each municipality would be €250,000, 75 percent of which will be reimbursed from EU funds," Abdić added.

Duga Resa Mayor Tomislav Boljar said that this was the third meeting with the initiators of the project and that in the meantime they had talked to farmers and owners of multiple family-run farms (for which the acronym in Croatian is OPG) about establishing chestnut plantations, which would be the dominant crop.

“There is interest in chestnut plantations, especially in this way where there is co-financing, expert assistance and placement, and it is a crop more resilient to the climate woes we suffer from. The most important thing is to bring neglected land into use, because that will help someone to remain living in the countryside, and chestnut is also good for beekeeping and ecology in general,” Boljar underscored.

Chestnut is just one possible crop, but it is an interesting one because there is already plenty of valuable information from a large cross-border project, completed at the end of 2019, on the promotion of chestnut and its protection against pests, also coordinated by Velika Kladuša. The partners in that project were the Croatian cities of Karlovac, Petrinja and Vojnić, while the partners from Bosnia and Herzegovina were Buzim and the Agricultural Institute from Bihać.

More agriculture news can be found in the Business section.

Friday, 17 January 2020

Plenković: “Croatian Farmers Could Profit Very Much from Green Week Fair”

ZAGREB, January 17, 2020 - At the end of his two-day visit to Germany on Friday, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković expressed satisfaction with the visit, adding that he hoped Croatia's participation in the International Green Week Berlin agriculture fair, at which it is the partner-country, would additionally strengthen the two countries' economic relations.

"We used our visit to Berlin to attend the Green Week fair, where Croatia, as the partner-country, is represented by close to 50 exhibitors. The case of Finland, which was the partner-country last year, shows that after the fair it increased the export of its farm products by 50%. That is why we expect (the event) to encourage our farm producers as well," said Plenković after touring Croatian stands at the fair.

He said that the first reactions to Croatia's participation in the fair were very positive.

Before Plenković's visit, German Agriculture Minister Julia Cloeckner visited the hall where Croatian farm producers put their products on display.

Plenković gifted Berlin Mayor Micheal Mueller with an olive tree.

Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) head Luka Burilović expressed hope Croatia's participation in the fair would boost the export of Croatian agricultural produce.

"Currently we export more than 2 billion euros worth of farm products, and we can and must export much more. The Green Week is an excellent platform to increase those figures. More than half a million people from around the world will visit the fair and we want to show all of them that apart from quality tourism we also have a good cuisine and that our agriculture has a long tradition as well as great potential," said Burilović.

Commenting on his meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday, Plenković said that the meeting was very good and that they discussed many topics, such as Southeast Europe as well as global and European issues, considering that both Croatia and Germany were chairing the EU this year.

He repeated that he expected the EU-Western Balkan summit to be held in Croatia in early May to define the course of events in the years ahead, noting that one should stop using euphemisms from the past such as 'potential candidates' or 'European prospects'.

"That is important, but we want a political debate and to bring to the fore elements that have not been emphasised so far, such as economic governance," he said.

More agriculture news can be found in the Business section.

Friday, 17 January 2020

Croatia Partner Country of International Green Week in Berlin

ZAGREB, January 17, 2020 - Croatia is this year's partner country of the International Green Week in Berlin, the world's biggest fair for food, agriculture and horticulture, and the event, which is taking place at the Berlin Exhibition Grounds until 24 January, was formally opened on Thursday.

On that occasion Prime Minister Andrej Plenković promised to see to it that farmers could be better treated in the new multiannual budget of the European Union. He recalled that the negotiations on the Multiannual Financial Framework are under way.

Earlier on Thursday, Plenković and German Chancellor Angela Merkel discussed the coordination of activities pertaining to the presidency of the Council of the European Union considering the fact that Croatia is the current country-in-chair and Germany will be the next one in the second half of 2020.

Plenković said that farmers and producers of agricultural products deserved a special attention during the Croatian presidency of the EU.

We are going to place an emphasis on family-run small farms, he added.

The ceremony of the opening of Green Week will be held on Friday morning with the German and Croatian farm ministers, Julia Kloeckner and Marija Vučković attending it.

A record high 1,800 exhibitors from 72 countries are taking part in the show.

More agriculture news can be found in the Business section.

Tuesday, 31 December 2019

All Restrictions Imposed on Croatia Due to Classical Swine Fever Lifted

ZAGREB, December 31, 2019 - All restrictions imposed on Croatia due to classical swine fever have been lifted, allowing uninterrupted trade in live pigs, pork and pork products within Croatia and the European Union, the Ministry of Agriculture said on Tuesday.

The order terminating the order on measures to prevent the emergence and spreading of classical swine fever went into force on December 27, the Ministry said.

Croatia has thus been removed from the lists in the EU member states which imposed strict restrictions on the marketing of live pigs and pig products originating from the Croatian counties of Vukovar-Srijem, Karlovac, Sisak-Moslavina and Slavonski Brod-Posavina.

The Ministry said this was the result of comprehensive veterinary inspection measures aimed at eradicating the disease among domestic pig and wild boar populations after the last outbreak of classical swine fever in Croatia ten years ago.

More agriculture news can be found in the Business section.

Sunday, 29 December 2019

Croatia Partner Country of International Green Week Berlin 2020

ZAGREB, December 29, 2019 - Croatia will be the partner country of the International Green Week Berlin 2020 taking place on January 17-26, the Agriculture Ministry has announced.

Croatia's agriculture will be represented by the relevant ministry, the Croatian Chamber of Commerce and 50 exhibitors - big and small companies and family farms - which will present delicacies such as smoked ham, kulen (flavoured sausage), honey, oil, fruit brandy, wine and many other protected autochthonous products.

Visitors will have a unique opportunity to taste traditional Croatian meals in a green kitchen.

The ministry says Germany is one of Croatia's most important export markets, where nearly one in ten agricultural and food products is sold and trade continues to increase by the year.

International Green Week in Berlin is visited by more than 3,000 media representatives from 75 countries and is the subject of more than 18,000 stories in daily papers and special editions as well as 13,000 online articles.

This, the largest agricultural event in Europe, will be visited by numerous Croatian high officials, leading business people, representatives of the biggest and most influential companies, and numerous public figures.

Thanks to excellent diplomatic, economic and trade relations between Croatia and Germany, Berlin, Germany and International Green Week are the right places for Croatia to showcase its agricultural and food industry in the best light and advance its trade relations in Europe and the world, the ministry says.

The event is attended by 61 countries, 1,800 domestic and foreign exhibitors, and 400,000 visitors.

More agriculture news can be found in the Business section.

Wednesday, 20 November 2019

"Milk from Croatian Farms" Label Guaranteed by Non-Existent Agency?

ZAGREB, November 20, 2019 - Green List party leader Nenad Matić said on Wednesday that Croatia was importing more and more milk, that the milk produced by domestic farmers was not purchased and that milk production was on the decline, as well as that the "Milk from Croatian Farms" label was guaranteed by the Croatian Agricultural Agency (HPA), which no longer existed.

"We are warning the government and inspections that the HPA stopped operating at the end of last year and that it no longer exists, as well as that some of the Croatian producers still have on their products the HPA label which guarantees that their milk was produced on Croatian farms," Matic said at a news conference outside the Agriculture Ministry.

He said that the party conducted talks with experts and representatives of the milk industry, arriving at the conclusion that long life milk did not contain only the milk produced by Croatian farms and that imported milk was possibly sold as Croatian milk, with consumers paying more for it in the belief that they were buying a fresh product from Croatian farms.

"Maybe this is imported milk because imports have been rising significantly and production has been declining whereas milk consumption has remained similar," said Matić.

In a message to Agriculture Minister Marija Vučković, he said that the PIK Rijeka agribusiness's announcement that it would stop buying milk from 120 small producers in Brinje in the central Lika region, for whom this is the sole source of income, "is the last nail in the coffin for the Croatian milk industry" as well as a blow to measures of demographic revival because people were leaving villages.

Matic stressed that in the last 20 years more than 50,000 dairy farmers had closed their business and that now there were fewer than 6,000 dairy farmers.

"A result of this is that in the last five years more than 100,000 people have emigrated from the region of Slavonia alone," he said.

He stressed that compared to 2017 and 2018 milk production had decreased by five percent or 23 million litres, while imports had increased by 2.5%.

The Green List also called on the agriculture minister to act because Croatia continued to have only five agricultural products that met domestic demand - wheat, corn, chicken meat, mandarins, and sugar.

This non-parliamentary party wants Croatia to be among top EU countries in agricultural production because we have excellent conditions for organic farming as well, he said.

More agriculture news can be found in the Business section.

Monday, 4 November 2019

Green List Calls for Stepping Up Control of Honey

ZAGREB, November 4, 2019 - The Green List on Sunday sent an open letter to Agriculture Minister Marija Vučković calling on authorities to step up control on honey on the domestic market, as this non-parliamentary party believes that there are some fraudulent activities considering the quality of this food to the detriment of consumers.

The Green List insists on the correct labelling so that consumers can know the origin of honey on the market.

It also insists on the immediate ban on glyphosate and other products for agricultural weed control which affect bees.

The list says that Croatia has ecological, climate and other comparative advantages for the honey production that can meet the domestic needs as well as demand from abroad.

Croatian bee-keepers are definitely ready for such production, with the support of the state authorities and consumers, reads the open letter.

The authorities should perform large-scale controls on a more frequent basis and consumers should be aware that they cannot buy authentic product at the price lower than 50 kuna per kilo.

The list supports the nation-wide action about Croatian primary school pupils being taught about the importance of honey in their food. As part of the campaign, each first grader is to get a jar of Croatian honey produced by local beekeepers.

The list says that although the imports in the first half of 2019 dropped by 57% on the year, the agriculture ministry is supposed to take some more actions to support local 10,000 beekeepers and honey consumers.

More food news can be found in the Lifestyle section.

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