Saturday, 9 May 2020

Will Coronavirus Saga Improve Conditions for Croatian Fruit and Vegetables?

Will the coronavirus pandemic actually provide what Croatia needs in the end to step up its game when it comes to not only digitalisation, but the production and processing of its own produce?

As Jadranka Dozan/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 8th of May, 2020, the invitation to Croatian farmers to cooperate is a move from the company ENNA Fruit for the organisation of the production, purchase, distribution and processing of fruits and vegetables. It was created by connecting several companies, with all of them recognising the great synergy potential in the move.

ENNA Fruit has, as such, invited Croatian farmers to cooperate, and that is the title of a press release that was distributed to the media from that company. As we're living in the coronavirus era and we're hearing about more and more companies, associations and businesses needing to further adapt the ways in which they do business in order to stay afloat, such an press release sounds almost like a "routine" announcement, but the story could have more far-reaching consequences and could suggest a significant step forward for Croatia's fruit and vegetable production.

Namely, ENNA Fruit is a new company created by connecting the business and interests of Enna Agro and Marinada, and as was pointed out in the aforementioned press release/announcement, this new company is now taking the leading position in the organisation of production, purchase, distribution and processing of fruits and vegetables from Croatia and its immediate region.

"The Croatian fruit and vegetable market is relatively small and market consolidation is of strategic importance, both for agricultural producers and for buyers. Manufacturers have been given specialised infrastructure that will provide them with the easiest access to the market, and customers are given high-quality goods prepared for use to the highest standards. ENNA Fruit connects primary agricultural production and the market through cooperative relations, its own purchasing centres, involving the processing and distribution of the entire range of fruits and vegetables. This approach ensures quality, continuity and quantity for customers,'' they explained from the company which was registered less than a month and a half ago, with its headquarters in Vukovar.

Its headquarters are at the same address as ENNA Agro, and it is the company by which Pavao Vujnovac, also the owner of PPD, expanded his business portfolio to the field of agriculture. Among other things, ENNA Agro has stepped into the supply of fruit to the massive Konzum sales chain.

This new step forward of this equally new company, in addition to the financial strength of its founder, is also interesting in light of the fact that Vujnovac's PPD, through a joint venture with INA, is also the main shareholder of Petrokemija, a domestic producer of mineral fertilisers.

Marinada, on the other hand, is a company specialising in the production, purchase, storage, packaging and sale of fresh and processed fruits and vegetables. The company's headquarters in Slatina boasts one of the most modern production plants for pasteurised fruits and vegetables in the entire region, and it also has several purchase centres, as well as an established sales office in Zagreb.

All in all, it has a solid infrastructure, and Denis Matijevic, one of the co-owners and members of the company, has long been engaged in expertise in the field of agriculture, among other things, and participation in the development of agricultural development strategies.

Linking the business of ENNA Agra and Marinada is thus considered a logical move with potentially significant synergy effects, especially since the coronavirus pandemic seems to have had a stimulating effect on recognising the importance of food production for Croatia and raising the question of self-sufficiency in general.

Thus, the statement from ENNA Fruits points out that "agriculture, in order to be competitive and sustainable, must be horizontally and vertically integrated."

Through integration, they say, the company wil provide all the necessary inputs for production, knowledge and technology transfer, added value for the products, as well as for the sales market. They added that the situation caused by the coronavirus outbreak only further confirmed the need for the stable organisation of agricultural production and distribution and the integration of the entire process from production to product placement, with the aim of optimising the entire chain.

For more on Croatian agriculture, follow our business page. For all you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic in relation to Croatia, stay up to date with our dedicated section.

Sunday, 17 November 2019

Potential National Disaster in Croatia: Poor Walnut Yield!

OK, it's not necessarily a serious national disaster, but if you've ever been near a Croatian table for the Christmas holidays, you're aware that walnut plays an important role in Croatian cuisine.

The tradition of making orahnjača (sometimes called orehnjača), a walnut roll, is strong in most parts of Croatia, both for the holidays and on an ordinary Sunday, as dessert after the family meal. It's so strong that it gets exported across the oceans, wherever Croatians live. Orahnjača's first cousin in makovnjača, the same type of dessert, just made with poppy seeds, instead of ground walnuts. But, orahnjača is not the only Croatian traditional delicacy with walnuts, and you can sometimes hear (probably you've even heard it from me if we ever got to talking about sweets) that you can't even make a decent dessert unless it includes walnuts.

Well, in the past several years, the yields of the walnut trees (which can be found in most parts of continental Croatia) have not been good, and this year they're almost disastrous. In a normal year, a walnut tree in its prime can give up to 30 kilograms of walnuts. This year, the average yield for Croatian producers is - between one and two kilograms! They can't even cover their basic expenses with that, let alone make any money. Climate change is to blame, as with most things in nature these days, as the climate has helped a parasite develop, and it destroyed this year's fruits. Damir Štefec, owner of a family farm which owns 350 walnut trees told his story to 24sata daily. Their farm is on Bilogora hills, ideal for walnuts, but his crop has been destroyed this year by the walnut husky fly, a parasite which arrived from the United States. Štefec says that he was able to produce walnuts before without any treatment of the walnut trees, but that he sees that he's going to have to change that practice in order to fight the pest.

The problem is that the Croatian market really needs this product, and Štefec had to turn down some buyers for it - as he's got nothing to sell to them! He says he barely has enough for his own needs. He has no plans to chop down the trees and sell them for timber like some other people have been doing, but he would like the experts to help him find solutions for his problem.

However, Štefec doesn't expect the price of walnuts on the Croatian market to go up, because imported walnuts will fill the void. Moldavia, for instance, has strong support for their walnut growers, and are big exporters to other countries, including Croatia. On the markets in Zagreb, the price of the shelled walnuts is around 80 kunas, and the bigger halves are more expensive, around 100 kunas. In the supermarkets, the price is around 70 kunas.

Thursday, 5 September 2019

Value of Croatian Agricultural Production Drops Significantly

As Novac/Zlatko Simic writes on the 3rd of September, 2019, the value of Croatian agricultural production has unfortunately fallen from 33 billion kuna to a mere 16 billion kuna, the number of pigs has dropped dramatically from 2 million to about 800,000, and Croatian milk production has fallen from 900 million to only 400 million litres.

Considering that Croatia has increased its meadow and pasture surface areas from 300,000 hectares to as much as 600,000 hectares, and that only twelve percent of Croatian farmers pay their taxes while remaining below the taxman's shears, it is still evident that agricultural policies in this country, at least so far, have not managed to rectify the many challenges facing producers before and after Croatia's accession to the European Union.

Due to all of the negative trends in agriculture, Croatia needs a much clearer agricultural strategy that will be based on the real and current situation in production, productivity, and aid distribution. However, the direction in which the World Bank started to develop a strategy for that is not good for the Croatian Ministry of Agriculture, and there is a lot of ambiguity to be found in it. In addition, it also contains information that does not maintain or stay quite true to the real and rather unfortunate current situation in Croatian agriculture.

This is the main conclusion from an expert discussion on a World Bank document entitled Sector Status and Analysis of Public Expenditure on Agriculture and Rural Development, recently published on the Ministry of Agriculture's website, which should ideally have underpinned the future development of the Croatian agriculture strategy.

The gathering on all things agricultural brought together representatives of agricultural associations, producers, institutions and large agricultural companies, who emphasised the fact that the World Bank, which hired its own experts as well as Croatian ones, did not adequately address the problems of the Croatian agricultural industry, the reasons for the decline in production, and the inefficiency of large funds that failed in investment in agriculture.

The group also argued that as yet, no concrete results have actually been produced.

Make sure to follow our dedicated business page for much more.

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Linking Agriculture and Tourism to Revive Croatian Villages

Association of Rural Tourism to try to rejuvenate Croatian villages.

Friday, 25 March 2016

Complicated Procedures Hamper Investments in Agriculture

Will the new Ministry leadership facilitate investment activities?

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Events, Fairs, Conferences – Can Croatian Agriculture Benefit From Them?

Statistics indicate that some of the events simply do not make sense.

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Residents of Zagreb Tasting Amazing Croatian Country Produce

About 250 exhibitors are taking part at the Croatian Country Produce Fair.

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Croatia Records Highest Agricultural Income per Worker in EU

While real income in agriculture is down in 15 EU countries, Croatia is set to record an increase of 21,5%

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