Sunday, 27 June 2021

Croatia’s Fisheries Exports Up 31%

ZAGREB, 27 June, 2021 - In the first quarter of 2021, Croatia's fisheries exports went up 31% on the year to almost €94 million, with 17,700 tonnes of commodities exported, the Agriculture Ministry says.

Bluefin tuna exports were record-high both in quantity and value terms.

The value of first-sale went up by 3% and the average price of sea fisheries commodities by 20%.

The quantity and value of aquaculture production continues to increase, surpassing €33 million in 2020, a 12% increase in value and a 3% increase in quantity.

Surveys show that the growth and consumption of fisheries and aquaculture products in 2019 had gone up by 11% on the year to a little over 20 kilos per capita.

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Tuesday, 1 June 2021

Podravka Gets HRK 5.16m Grant For Its Future Solar Power Plant

ZAGREB, 1 June, 2021 - Podravka's project of a solar power plant, worth HRK 10.3 million, will be co-funded with a HRK 5.2 million grant by the European Union and the Croatian government under the Rural Development Programme, the Koprivnica-based food factory reported on Tuesday.

"The grant was awarded by the Ministry of Agriculture pursuant to a decision by the Agency for Payments in Agriculture, Fisheries and Rural Development, and pursuant to Podravka's application for implementation of the Sub-measure 4.2 'Support for investments in the processing, marketing and/or development of agricultural products' and implementation of operation type 4.2.2. 'Use of renewable energy sources'," the company said.

The expected period for return on investment with 50% support is 3.5 years.

The investment is valued at HRK 11.7 million, of which HRK 10.3 million is to be used for the construction of the solar power plant, while HRK 1.4 will be spent on the development of the measurement facility and the necessary transformer station.

"Podravka – Danica" 2.4 MW solar power plant is to be built at the Danica Industrial Zone in Koprivnica.

(€1= HRK 7.5)

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Thursday, 29 April 2021

Croatia Will Get More Money For Agriculture Than Before, State Secretary Says

ZAGREB, 29 April, 2021 - Opposition MPs were not impressed by the announcement by the state secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture that more funds have been allocated for Croatian agriculture in the next EU budget period than in the previous one, saying on Thursday that the situation in this sector was catastrophic.

"The situation in agriculture is catastrophic. The number of producers, milk suppliers, is falling, and there are fewer and fewer products made by our own producers that meet our needs," MP Marina Grman Kizivat of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) said, asking about the veracity of the information that Croatia would receive less money from EU funds for agriculture than before.

State Secretary Tugomir Majdak said that there would be more money for Croatian farmers in the period until 2027 than there had been in the period until 2020, adding that in the next budget period €2.6 billion would be available for direct payments, compared to €1.57 billion in the previous period.

The opposition used the proposed amendments to the Agriculture Act to draw attention to key problems in the sector, such as aid.

Željko Pavić (SDP) said that the problem was that aid was granted per hectare. "Some farmers have been granted the lease of thousands of hectares of karst pasture. They earn huge amounts of money without having livestock of their own," he said.

Majdak responded by saying that the state aid scheme was transparent, based on tenders and criteria in accordance with EU rules.

Responding to a question put by independent MP Marijana Petir, Majdak said that work was under way to improve the aid system and gear it towards small farmers.

Small farmers will be the priority of future measures, both the Agricultural Strategy until 2030 and the Strategic Plan until 2027, and other vulnerable groups, such as women in rural areas, will also be included, Majdak said, adding that the strategy is expected to be sent to the government in the second quarter of this year.

"In the next programme period we will ensure that young farmers get 100% support for investments of up to €100,000," he said in response to a question from Ankica Zmajić of the ruling Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ).

Petir recalled that Croatia should prepare the National Strategic Plan by November, adding that the European Commission had made 13 recommendations for this plan, detected its good points and found that 20% of agricultural holdings owned 75% of farmland and received 77% of aid.

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Monday, 28 December 2020

Ministry of Agriculture Calls for Less Food Waste During Holidays

ZAGREB, Dec 28, 2020 - The Ministry of Agriculture on Monday appealed to citizens to try and reduce the amount of food thrown out during the Christmas and New Year holidays.

The festive season is a time of giving and plenty when we prepare and consume a great amount of food and drink, the ministry underscored, noting that rarely do people eat everything they bought and prepared.

Surveys have shown that about 53%, or even up to 70% according to some surveys, of food thrown out comes from households, the ministry said in a press release.

The ministry hence recalled that it had launched a series of activities during the year aimed at raising awareness among consumers regarding the problem of excessive food waste in Croatia, with the purpose of changing habits and behaviour with food in households, the workplace, in schools, in stores or in restaurants.

The ministry appealed to citizens to try and reduce the amount of food wasted in each household during the festive season by applying a series of pointers, such as planning shopping lists and rational buying without creating unnecessary stores.

"Let's be socially sensitive throughout the year and share groceries and surplus food with those in need," the ministry underlined.

The ministry recalled that reducing the amount of food waste means decreasing household costs and that contributes to a personal feeling of satisfaction because food is not being thrown away. 

The ministry called on citizens to participate in trying to achieve the goal of halving the amount of food wasted by 2030.

Friday, 20 November 2020

39 New Subsidy Agreements Valued at HRK 42 mn Sent to Farmers

ZAGREB, November 20, 2020 - The Paying Agency for Agriculture, Fisheries and Rural Development has sent 29 new agreements to farmers around Croatia related to two measures from the Rural Development Programme for an acceptable investment amount of almost HRK 90 million, for which HRK 42 million has been secured in subsidies. 

The Ministry of Agriculture said in a press release that 20 agreements relate to cattle breeding with subsidies valued at HRK 33.5 million, while the total acceptable amount of investments amounts to more than HRK 71 million.

Nine agreements for which subsidies valued at HRK 8.6 million have been made available relate to managing and handling organic fertiliser, while the value of the total investments amounts to HRK 18.6 million.

Projects submitted for support under operations 4.1.1. and 4.1.2 of the Rural Development Programme can amount to €500,000 (HRK 3.75 million) and €300,000 (HRK 2.25 million) respectively, with subsidies covering 50% of the acceptable costs.

Wednesday, 29 April 2020

Government Wants to Boost Food Production and Employment in Rural Areas

ZAGREB, April 29, 2020 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said in Osijek on Tuesday that the government had adopted a series of quality measures and laws to help the agricultural sector, stressing that the objective is to boost the production of quality food, achieve a decent life and increase employment in rural areas.

"In this term in office, we have adopted a string of quality legal solutions, we had a significant budget framework for agriculture, we have implemented quality measures and incentives for farmers, we have absorbed European funds in the context of a debate on a new joint budgetary policy, also as a country that is presiding over the European Union," Plenković said after a meeting held at the Osijek Faculty of Agriculture on the topic of farming activities.

The meeting with members of the local government, the academic community and business people was used to exchange opinions about what the government was doing to help the farming sector.

Gov't wants National Agriculture and Rural Development Strategy to be completed as soon as possible

The government wants to have the National Agriculture and Rural Development Strategy completed as soon as possible, Plenković said.

The future strategy should be conducive to the accomplishment of the four goals: enhancing the productivity and making the agricultural production resilient to climate change, boosting the competitiveness of the national agricultural and food producing system, revitalising the economy and improving the living conditions in rural areas, and encouraging innovations in the farm sector.

Plenković said the academic community and experts must play a special role in that.

Aside from Plenković, Agriculture Minister Marija Vučković and Regional Development and EU Funds Minister Marko Pavić, the working meeting in Osijek was also attended by executives of companies whose core business is farming production, representatives of the local university, officials of the City of Osijek, The Osijek Agriculture Institute, associations of pig farmers, cattle breeders, fruit growers and other stakeholders in the farm sector and food production.

County Prefect Ivan Anušić thanked the government for the support to projects implemented by Osijek Baranja County and Slavonia.

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Sunday, 26 April 2020

Ministry: Not True Croatia Will Have to Pay Back Billions for Organic Farming

ZAGREB, April 26, 2020 - The Croatian Agriculture Ministry on Saturday dismissed media reports that Croatia will have to pay back HRK 3 billion (€400m) to the European Union because inspectors from Brussels have found that only two percent of grants made available for organic farming are justified.

The ministry stresses that the two assertions are unverified and entirely incorrect.

"Since 2015, €128.3 million has been made available to Croatia for organic farming through the Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, or one billion kuna in total for the seven-year period, of which 15% are funds from the state budget and the rest are funds from the European Rural Development Fund. Since then, the interest of farmers in high-quality food production... has increased significantly," the ministry recalls.

Due to the significant increase in organic farming areas and demand in organic farming grants, the funds made available in the said programming period became insufficient, which prompted the Agriculture Ministry in November 2019 to ask the European Commission to increase the financial allocation for organic farming, the ministry recalls.

A review of grants for perennial organic crops was made at the time and based on an expert analysis, grants were proposed for walnut and hazelnut plantations, the ministry says.

It recalls in that context that back in 2015, it adopted rules on a single grant of €723 per hectare for organic fruit farming, which exceeded grants proposed by experts for individual types of fruit.

It is rather evident that the significant increase in areas covered in nut plantations is due to the increased grant, the ministry says.

"Reports that there is a danger that HRK 3 billion will have to be paid back are entirely incorrect as is the claim that 98% of organic farming in Croatia is fake, and that claim is also very unfair towards organic farmers," the ministry says.

It admits that there are irregularities regarding farming grants, but notes that it has been identifying and penalising such cases through regular checks and inspections on the ground, which has helped reduce their number.

The ministry notes that checks on the ground have established that in 2017 and 2018, 283 hectares of walnut and hazelnut plantations were not eligible for organic farming grants due to overgrowth or other reasons, which helped prevent a negative financial effect on the state budget in the amount of HRK 2.3 million.

It says that most Croatian farmers work hard and that it has been working to help them, with EU grants as well as budget funds, to earn a sustainable income and stay in their rural communities.

More agriculture news can be found in the Business section.

Thursday, 2 April 2020

Farm Minister Announces Buying up 500,000 Litres of Milk

ZAGREB, April 2, 2020 - Agriculture Minister Marija Vučković on Thursday announced that the ministry was planning to intervene and buy up 500,000 litres of milk in an effort to help small dairy farmers faced with problems in doing business due to the coronavirus epidemic.

This extraordinary measure refers to buying up milk from 28 small dairy farms that produce 14 million litres of milk a year.

Due to the difficulties to approach farmers' markets and inability to sell their milk in specialised closed shops, a surplus of milk has accumulated, storage facilities are full and this could lead to a suspension in buying up milk from small farms, Vučković explained ahead of a cabinet meeting.

Current forecasts show that the surplus could amount to two million litres by May 10.

"We believe that there will not be that much but we have reserved and foreseen the first quantity of that surplus of 500,000 litres which we will buy out and donate to the authorised mediators in food supply chain" Vučković explained.

Asked whether the ministry planned interventionary measures to buy up surplus fruit and vegetables, Vučković said that currently the measure to assist these farmers is being implemented through cooperation with retail chains.

"We will try to establish an online market and in the end if the market cannot be able to function due the situation, it is up to the government to try and find a solution for any possible surplus and to maintain production" Vučković said, adding that she believes this will be successful.

More agriculture news can be found in the Business section.

Wednesday, 25 March 2020

Shops Are Well Supplied with Goods

ZAGREB, March 25, 2020 - The situation concerning the supply chains is stable and shops are well supplied with goods, Agriculture Minister Marija Vučković said in an interview with Croatian Radio on Wednesday morning.

"The Ministry has started maintaining daily records of the most important farm products, so that we have daily updated figures on stocks and can see if there are any shortages in products and raw materials and the situation with the labour force," Vučković said.

She could not specify whether certain products would become unavailable at some point.

"Nevertheless, the situation is stable. The supply chains are functioning and will continue to function," the minister said.

She said that the domestic production in Croatia was not sufficient to meet all the needs on the national market.

"Our aim is to increase our domestic production and lessen our dependence on certain imports," she said.

More coronavirus news can be found in the Lifestyle section.

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.

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