Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Croatia Declared Free from Lumpy Skin Disease

ZAGREB, January 22, 2019 - Croatia is given a status of country free from Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD) by the European Union, and therefore there are no more any limitation for transport and import of domestic and wild animals of the bovine species, the Croatian agriculture ministry stated on Tuesday.

"Croatia has officially become a country free from Lumpy Skin Disease, and it has no longer any restrictions on the trade of cattle and beef within the European Union," reads the press release.

The decision to lift the restrictions on the trade of bovine animals from Croatia has been made by the Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed (PAFF Committee). The status of a country free from Lumpy Skin Diseases enters into force on Tuesday.

This is a result of a success of Croatia's two-year bovine animal vaccination campaign, and the campaign ceased on 1 January 2018, for the purpose of acquiring the status of country free from LSD.

"In order to help this sector to recover, we have designed additional measures for the next three years, and to this end we have set aside 195 million kuna to help the breeding of 65,000 heifers," Minister Tomislav Tolušić was quoted as saying. He thanked all stakeholders in the vaccination campaign and commended local beef cattle farmers for patience and cooperation.

The PAFF Committee is composed by representatives of all EU countries and presided by a European Commission representative.

The PAFF Committee's mandate covers the entire food supply chain - from animal health issues on the farm to the product on the consumer's table - helping the EU deal effectively with health risks at every stage of the production chain.

The PAFF Committee decided to remove the entire territory of Croatia from the list of areas "free with vaccination" regarding Lumpy Skin Disease given that vaccination against the disease has not been practised in Croatia since the beginning of 2018 and the results of Lumpy Skin Disease surveillance ever since demonstrated the absence of the disease.

More news on Croatia’s agriculture can be found in the Business section.

Friday, 18 January 2019

Croatia to Be Partner Country of Green Week Agricultural Fair in Berlin

ZAGREB, January 18, 2019 - Croatian Agriculture Minister Tomislav Tolušić and Berlin Fair CEO Christian Goecke on Friday signed a partnership agreement as part of International Green Week, the exhibition of the food, agriculture and gardening industries in the German capital.

Under the agreement, next year Croatia will be the partner country of this fair, the largest of its kind in the world.

"Being the partner country of Green Week is not only a great honour but also a great challenge for our agricultural producers and for Croatia as a country that is strategically committed to sustainable, ecologically friendly agriculture," Tolušić told reporters after the signing ceremony.

Tolušić said that his ministry would present "the best Croatia has to offer" and would ensure Croatian enterprises access to new markets.

Earlier on Friday, Tolušić met with German Agriculture Minister Julia Kloeckner, who visited the Croatian stand during a tour of the fair grounds. After that he met with Finnish Agriculture Minister Jari Leppa and Romanian Agriculture Minister Petre Daea. Finland is this year's partner country of Green Week, and Finland, Romania and Croatia currently make up the EU Troika.

In the afternoon, Tolušić is scheduled to attend a meeting of ministers from participating countries with Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The Croatian stand, organised by the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK), features 13 exhibitors of agricultural products.

"International Green Week is one of the most important events for the agricultural sector. This is an exceptional opportunity for Croatian producers to present their quality and expand to new export markets," HGK president Luka Burilović said.

The exhibition is open until January 27 and features nearly 1,700 exhibitors from 68 countries. Over 500,000 people are expected to visit the show.

More news on Croatia’s agriculture sector and plans for its further development can be found in the Business section.

Thursday, 3 January 2019

Croatian Wineries to Get 55.4 Million Euro in State Aid in Next Five Years

ZAGREB, January 3, 2019 - Croatia's government on Thursday adopted a national programme of assistance to the wine sector from 2019 to 2023 whereby Croatian wineries can count on 11.09 million euro in state aid each year, or 55.4 million euro on aggregate in that five-year period.

Outlining the document, Agriculture Minister Tomislav Tolušić said that he expected the first public calls under this wine envelope to be advertised by the end of this month.

Of the 11.09 million euro for each year, 10.8 million is to be provided from European Union funds, and the state budget is to set aside 260,100 euro annually.

The Andrej Plenković cabinet today adopted guidelines of the state aid policy in the 2019-2021 period. In this context, Finance Minister Zdravko Marić said that the most desirable state aid is the horizontal state aid in compliance with the EU practice, primarily for research and development, innovations, environmental protection, training, employment and investment. The guidelines refer to state aid provided to the industry and services, he added.

The trend of increasing state aid continued in 2017, with a total of 12.4 billion kuna granted, which is 8.5% more than in 2016 and 25.5% more than in 2015, shows a report endorsed by the government in early December.

State aid in 2017 was up by 974.9 million kuna from 2016, when it amounted to 11.4 billion kuna, and by 2.5 billion kuna from 2015, when state aid amounted to 9.9 billion kuna.

The state aid-to-GDP ratio also increased to 3.39%, whereas in 2016 that ratio was 3.25% and in 2015 it was 2.91%.

The share of aid in state expenditure too continued to grow. In 2017 it amounted to 9.92%, in 2016 it was 9.50% and in 2015 it amounted to 8.33%, the report notes.

The report shows that state aid per capita increased too and in 2017 amounted to 2,950.90 kuna, which is 232 kuna or 8.5% more than in 2016 and 599.30 kuna or 25.5% more than in 2015.

Broken down by sectors, the largest amount of the state aid went to the industry and services sector, 7.2 billion kuna, making up 58% of state aid.

The sector of agriculture and fisheries got 5.2 billion kuna, or 42% of total state aid in 2017.

More news on the Croatian wines can be found in our Lifestyle section.

Thursday, 6 December 2018

Better Future for Croatian Agriculture?

ZAGREB, December 6, 2018 - Croatian Agriculture Minister Tomislav Tolušić told parliament on Thursday that a record high amount of 1.1 billion kuna (149 million euro) had been paid as advance payment in state aid to farmers in November. "Farmers can see a light at the end of the tunnel," the minister said during a parliamentary debate on the Agriculture Bill.

The ministry wants to help small and medium-sized farms to develop, and not to make business more difficult for big farms. The priority is given to animal husbandry, including pig farming, which has been pushed to very low levels in the past 20 years, Tolušić said.

In response to MOST MP Miro Bulj's comments on trends in the agricultural sector and on the market, the minister said that he agreed with the statements that it was necessary to raise awareness in the Croatian society of the need to buy local products. In this context, he said that the Agriculture Ministry was "fighting for that cause."

In response to criticism from another MOST lawmaker, Sonja Čikotić, the minister said that "it has been agreed that a new agricultural development strategy should be elaborated, which has not been done for the last 20 years".

The Agriculture Bill defines targets and measures of the national agricultural policy and creates a framework for the implementation of those measures.

The new legislation is meant to ensure the continued practice of direct payments, and defines legal foundations for prevention and reduction of food waste and for food donation.

Under the bill, international food standards will be introduced, and the Agriculture Ministry will be appointed the central coordinating body for the Codex Alimentarius, a collection of internationally recognised standards, codes of practice, guidelines, and other recommendations relating to food, food production, and food safety.

For more on the agriculture in Croatia, click here.

Monday, 12 November 2018

Government Defends Disappointing Absorption of EU Funds

ZAGREB, November 12, 2018 - Agriculture Minister Tomislav Tolušić commented on Monday on media reports that this year Croatia absorbed 2.7 billion kuna less than planned from EU funds, saying the money available should be absorbed by 2023.

Speaking to reporters, he said that in the agriculture sector tenders had been advertised for 85% of the funds available, with 60% of the funds contracted and 30% paid.

"This year, 4 billion kuna of the 4.5 billion planned will be utilised in agriculture. I don't think that's a small amount... Although we have time until 2023, we'll try to contract and, hopefully, spend all the money by 2020. Then we'd be fully ready for the next financial period," Tolušić said.

He said fund absorption in his department depended to a great extent on farmers. "Sometimes we can't know exactly if they will implement projects this month or in three months. We are at their disposal because we have ensured favourable loans with 0.1% interest... If they can't finance their part, they can come to the Agriculture Ministry and we'll do our best to absorb all the funds by 2020."

Jutarnji List daily said today that this year the government would absorb 2.7 billion euro less than planned from European funds, citing figures from this year's revised budget and sources "from government circles."

Asked if funds for inspections would stay at this year's level, Tolušić said there must always be enough money for inspections. "I hope the findings will remain fair, even better than thus far, and controls stricter and more serious."

Interestingly, in the previous government Tolušić was minister for EU funds and regional development. The results were no better than now.

For more on Croatian agriculture, click here.

Friday, 14 September 2018

Law on Wines to Lead to Financial Relief for Winemakers

ZAGREB, September 14, 2018 - The government sent a bill on wine to parliament on Thursday, which defines a clear legislative framework for activities in producing grapes and wine as well as the sale of wine in transparent conditions and foresees administrative reliefs for wine-makers of about 12 million kuna a year.

Friday, 7 September 2018

Croatia Worried about EU’s Proposed Common Agricultural Policy

ZAGREB, September 7, 2018 - The Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) and the Ministry of Agriculture expressed their concern over a proposal for a new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) for the next long-term EU budget 2021 - 2027, which foresees less funds for Croatia, and called for postponing the proposed cuts until 2023.

Saturday, 25 August 2018

Bright Future for Croatia's Agriculture, Says Minister

ZAGREB, August 25, 2018 - Agriculture Minister Tomislav Tolušić on Saturday said that Croatia's agriculture sector had a bright future which can be seen in the better absorption of funding from the Rural Development Programme and in the increased mechanisation in farming.

Sunday, 19 August 2018

Winemakers Dismayed by New Law on Wines

Should the state administration continue to supervise wine production?

Friday, 29 June 2018

Chaos Rules in Ministries Responsible for Protecting the Sea

One ministry has defective software, while a second claims there are no reports about the illegal removal of sea urchins.

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