Saturday, 20 November 2021

Crop Company Wants to Invest 18 Million Euros into Croatia

November the 20th, 2021 - The agricultural technology Crop company published an ad on LinkedIn recently which they stated that they were on the hunt for land for the construction of the first high-tech greenhouse into which they plan to invest a massive 18 million euros, with the help of their Dutch partners, Dutch Greenhouses.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, the Crop company was founded last year by entrepreneurs from the digital business and public relations, Jan de Jong and Jerko Trogrlic, known to the public for the project of promoting digital nomads and the digital nomad permit (often wrongly referred to as a visa) in Croatia.

The goal with the Crop company is to implement the latest Dutch technology for greenhouses, which enables the efficient achievement of high quality production with hydroponic cultivation, for both the domestic market and for exports.

As early as last year, they pointed out in public that they already had many potential investors who had showed some significant interest, and then they considered several locations, but apparently none have worked out for them so far.

"There is a lot of unused land across Croatia, but it isn't easy to find land that meets all the criteria, as each location has positive and negative sides. Together with our Dutch partner, Dutch Greenhouses, and their agricultural investment fund, we plan to invest 18 million euros in a greenhouse that will cover six hectares, and use the latest Dutch technology, including lamps for winter cultivation,'' they stated.

They also stated some more specific requirements for their investment in land - they need flat land with a total area of ​​12 hectares, of which 6 hectares will be intended for the construction of greenhouses, and the rest for a solar power plant, but they also need good infrastructure related to energy supply. Since they plan to employ about 70 people there, it is desirable that it be located next to a settlement of at least 5,000 inhabitants.

They would like to see their first greenhouse in continental Croatia, ie in the Bjelovar-Bilogora, Virovitica-Podravina, Brod-Posavina, Osijek-Baranja, Vukovar-Srijem, Pozega-Slavonia or Sisak-Moslavina counties.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated business section.

Monday, 21 September 2020

CROP Croatia: Jerko Trogrlic and Jan de Jong to Make Croatia Plant Again

September the 21st, 2020 - What happens when a Dutchman and a Dalmatian walk into a room? No, it isn't one of those age old jokes with a bad pun, but the reality behind the CROP Croatia (Hrvatska) story, involving Jerko Trogrlic and Jan de Jong, a Dutch entrepreneur who is already very well known.

"A Dalmatian and a Dutchman are going to plant tomatoes! Nope, it's not a joke", is the beginning of Jerko Trogrlic's announcement, who, along with his partner Jan de Jong, rolled out a story that intrigued the media and numerous local governments throughout Croatia, not to mention investors.

Namely, as agroklub writes, these two longtime friends, and now the founders of CROP Croatia, decided to turn to tomato production. As Jan pointed out, he isn't going to invest in apartments, villas and hotels, but in the high-tech greenhouse production of this particular vegetable.

"The reactions have been excellent. We're being contacted by interested municipalities, as well as by people who want to invest. So, we're still working on a business plan, and we're being contacted by people who want to invest. We're being offered larger amounts than we thought we'd need," Jerko revealed, adding that they want to have their CROP Croatia greenhouses in several locations.

Where exactly they will be depends solely on the proximity of the energy required because tomatoes require heat. ''The location should have excess heat, whether it's from geothermal sources or bioenergy. It must be one that holds water. We've got to have people who can be employed and we've got to have energy," he noted.

It is striking that Croatia imports more than it exports...

The story is being worked out, and it is clear to them that if there is going to be a tomato greenhouse in Dalmatia, they'll have to cool it down more, while in Slavonia and northern Croatia they will look for more heating, but also lighting due to less sunny days. But why tomatoes?


''For years, I've been struck by the fact that Croatia, the country that has fed the entire region, imports more than it exports,'' says Jan de Jong.

"Apart from adoring them privately and even planting them in front of our house, the reason is that our partners from the Netherlands specialise in this production. Their knowledge is what prompted us to embark on this story. Look, we know what entrepreneurship is about, but we're in agriculture a lot, too. We've been learning about it all for the last year, but thanks to our partners we also have the necessary know-how,'' he revealed.

Namely, they are both, so to speak, digital. Jerko is the director of the Split-based public relations agency VAJT, and Jan is the head of Webpower Adria and the initiator of the initiative for the introduction of visas for digital nomads. They are now the proud co-owners of CROP Croatia.

Before founding this joint venture, they researched both the Croatian and European markets and determined that there is a large area available for placement.

''We see a lot more space during the winter because everyone produces during the summer, while this technology allows for high yields even in the winter months where we've so far been almost entirely focused on imports.

The tomato is a very resistant and transportable crop. So, apart from love for it, this is a purely rational decision,'' Jerko emphasised.

One basic goal - Croatia will plant again!

Jan de Jong, a Dutchman who has been living in Croatia for 14 years, which is the same amount of time he has known Trogrlic, also realised that imports perhaps isn't the way to go for Croatia. "For years, I've been struck by the fact that Croatia, the country that has fed the entire region, imports more than it exports," wrote perhaps the most sought-after interlocutor of the media at the moment. Jerko's phone is constantly ringing as well, but he says - Jan receives far more calls and messages and apologises to everyone he doesn't get to answer.

''There are individuals in Croatia who, with more or less success, go through all the hardships of the road to agriculture, and now here come two new lunatics,'' says Jerko Trogrlić.

In conclusion, the plan of the company CROP Croatia is to bring modern technology in the field of agriculture from the Netherlands with only one goal - to make Croatia plant again! The original plan was to build a greenhouse of 50,000 square metres and provide jobs for 70 people, and the planned value of the investment was 100 million kuna. But given the interest in the story of these two friends, their business plan will surely be finalised.

True, he added, on their way into Croatian agricultural waters they discover ''some illogicalities'' in a country where agriculture is a strategic choice. What exactly those illogicalities where, he didn't reveal, but be stressed: "I think there is good will in both the competent ministry and the government to get some things started for the better.

"There are individuals in Croatia who are going through all the hardships of the agricultural journey with more or less success, and now here are two new lunatics," their Facebook post wrote. It should also be emphasised that in addition to achieving the goal of getting Croatia planting again, they are also working on demographic renewal. Both men are family men who have seven children between them.

Jan has four kids and I have three so he is better in that field even though we started at the same time! Our oldest children are seven years old, and the youngest are 9 or 10 months old. He had one more in between,'' laughed Trogrlic.

These entrepreneurs live in Split but are in Zagreb every week, and it will be exciting to watch CROP Croatia grow, both proverbially and literally.

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Tuesday, 8 September 2020

After the Digital Nomad Visa, Time to Make Croatia Grow Again

September 8, 2020 - Fresh from his agreement with Prime Minister Plenkovic to introduce a digital nomad visa for Croatia, Dutch entrepreneur Jan de Jong and business partner Jerko Trogrlic turn their attention to agriculture and plans to Make Croatia Grow Again.

One of the best days of 2020 so far for me was on May 27, as I left Hvar early in the morning on the 05:30 and proceeded to Zagreb via three stops en route, visiting three of the most positive people I know in this country, Tanja Polegubic in Vrana, Feliks Lukas in Kasela, and first up, Jan de Jong in Solin. You can read more in What Happens in Croatia When Mindset Goes from Default Negative to Opportunity Positive?

Coffee on Jan's terrace overlooking the Adriatic with a truly magnificent view was a great way to start the day. He had two things on his mind. The first was the topic that we had agreed to discuss - digital nomad tourism. And the second was an idea he had regarding agriculture. 

The digital nomad story took on a life of its own in the weeks after that very pleasant morning coffee. Six weeks later, Jan wrote an open letter to the Prime Minister asking him to introduce a digital nomad visa for Croatia. Just 44 days after that, PM Plenkovic tweeted a photo of his meeting in Jan, in which he committed to introducing the digital nomad visa, and it was introduced as an amendment to the Foreigners Act in Parliament the following day. 

But the agricultural plan that Jan shared with me, together with his partner, award-winning PR guru Jerko Trgolic from Split, was equally inspiring. 

Rather than say more than I should, I will refer you to Jan's latest LinkedIn post, where he has announced his intention to Make Croatia Grow Again...


Yes! We are going to invest big in Croatia. Not in apartments, not in villa's, not in hotels - but in high-tech agriculture 

For so many years it has been hurting my eyes seeing how Croatia ?? - a country that used to feed an entire region - is today importing more food than that it is exporting.

Together with my business partner, Jerko Trogrlić, I am proud to share that today we have founded our company - CROP Hrvatska.

CROP Hrvatska will bring high-tech agriculture technology from the Netherlands to Croatia with one simple goal - to make Croatia grow again! 

The first investment planned shall be a 5 hectare (50.000 m2) high-tech greenhouse for growing tomatoes - creating 70 new job opportunities in Croatia.

Follow CROP Hrvatska on #LinkedIn to stay up to date on any further developments.

CROP Hrvatska - Making Croatia grow again 

Do you believe just like me that Croatia has the potential to help feed Europe? 

P.s. How do you like our shoes?

#LivingTheCroatianDream #Entrepreneurship #Croatia #MakingCroatiaGrowAgain #Agriculture

I will be asking Jan a little more about CROP and his plans to Make Croatia Grow Again at the Poduzetnicki Mindset (Entrepreneurial Mindset) 2020 conference on Thursday, September 10, which will be streamed online. If interested, check out the exciting programme

Sunday, 12 November 2017

PR Expert Jerko Trogrlić on PR, Media and Judiciary

Two hours were not enough for the discussion on current topics relating to the cooperation of media and the judiciary