Tuesday, 9 August 2022

Devastating Drought to Make for Difficult Winter and Spring

August 9, 2022 - This is one of the driest years, and according to the farmers, the drought has already caused a shortage of fruits and vegetables, including tomatoes, peppers, and potatoes.

As Glas Slavonije reports, In the heart of Slavonia, Croatia's open-air food factory, in Đakovo, compared to the 35-year average of 760 liters per year, so far in 2022, 190 liters of rain are missing. From the beginning of the year to the present day, according to the records of Bartolo Bačić, who monitors the weather conditions in Đakovo, only 261 liters of rain fell in this part of the country. “If it rains now, it's too late”, said OPG member Mato Kretonić from Budrovac, who sells the fruits of his labour from the garden with his wife every day at the Đakovo market.

The drought, which resulted in scorched earth, will not abate even in autumn, and farmers and vegetable growers are announcing large deficits in the production of corn, sugar beet, vegetables, fruit, etc., which will, of course, be reflected in the further increase in prices. At the city market in Đakovo, they have kept them at the level that arose after last year's jump. “The prices were not corrected, even though it was necessary, but if that had happened, I don't know who would have been able to sell their goods”, says Blaženka Škorvaga of the OPG from Punitova. Farmers do not have good news for the coming period.

“This is one of the driest years ever. I am a realist by nature, and I can say that in the coming time there will be little due to drought and other disturbances. What was hinted by experts a few months ago - that there will be a food shortage, is already visible now. A difficult period awaits us in winter and spring when it will be difficult to get food at all”, warns the vegetable farmer Kretonić.

“Peppers cost 12 kuna, potatoes 8, tomatoes 10, or 5 kuna in wholesale, cucumbers, onions and cabbage cost 8, carrots 10, pumpkins range from 5 to 7 kuna per piece, and a special kind of zucchini goes for 15 kn/kg”, Mata's wife Marica Kretonić lists the prices at her stand. A kilogram of yellow beans costs 50 kuna. These OPGs sell cooking corn for 3 kuna per piece. “Its quality is first class”, adds Marica. Keeping prices at (almost) last year's level, warns her husband Mato, puts them in an unenviable position.

“Next year, we practically won't be able to organise production, because there is no working capital”, says this OPG employee.

When asked if people are buying less because of price increases, or inflation, the answer is negative.

“People keep buying because they don't have their own products due to these extreme weather conditions, but shopping for winter food is also declining this year, and people are also losing the habit of preparing it. They used to buy it by the bag, but now people only buy ten heads of cabbage for pickling”, says Budrovčanin.

And the vegetable gardener Škorvaga warns that there will be a shortage of food soon.

“There is a shortage already. There will be a lack of tomatoes, peppers, potatoes... There is a lack of fruit, you can see which fruits are local, because they are much smaller, and which are imported. And customers are aware that food production is like that, the products are worse because of the drought, and they understand”, says Škorvaga, whose production has been suffering for two years due to the capricious nature, storms - last year the wind destroyed her greenhouses, and this year the ice beat the seedlings, counting 300,000 plants. Damage - HRK 100,000.

Production to be cut in half

“I will cut production in half. I can no longer sustain such a large production. Nature can be compensated, but it is too expensive to be marketed, and there is also a high cost of labour and its lack”, says Škrovaga. At her stand, tomatoes cost 10, or 4 kuna in wholesale, peppers 10, corn 2 kuna a piece, melon 7, cucumbers 8 kuna. A kilogram of green beans costs 25 kuna, and half a kilogram 15 kuna.

“People are less likely to buy vegetables for the winter. They say they will eat what they have. Purchases at the market have decreased, and many people do not come anymore especially young people”, says Škorvaga.

A liter of tomato sauce at the market in Đakovo on Saturday cost 20 kuna. The price of the queen of summer fruit - watermelon - at the stand of Marina Grgić from Đakovo cost 3 kn/kg. The vegetable farmer says that she will be ready for the dry autumn - with deep wells.

While more retailers are already dually reporting prices, there are still no buyers' inquiries on the market about the formation of prices in euros, according to our interlocutors. “Everyone is still silent about it”, says Marica Kretonić, and her husband Mato adds that he will price his products in euros based on his own assessment.

“If I have my own goods, so that I don't have to resell them, there will be no price shocks with the switch to the euro. It will be rounded to Eurocents - for example, something that comes up to 63 will be rounded to 70 Eurocents”, says Škorvaga and adds: “Some things will be rounded to my detriment, some to the detriment of the customer”.

For more, make sure to check out our Lifestyle section.

Sunday, 3 April 2022

Planting Traditions in Slavonia: What Slavonians Like to Cultivate

4th of April 2022 - From Saint Patrick's Day, which is on March 17, Slavonians usually start planting crops for various reasons - for personal use, animals, and more. The planting season in Slavonia has thus begun, and we're taking a look at planting traditions in Slavonia.

Saint Patrick’s Day doesn’t hold particular importance in Croatia, except for the name day that people with a similar name celebrate. However, in Slavonia, this day marks the start of planting the crops that will be available for harvesting, and furthermore, some of those products will be stored for winter. Crops don’t have to necessarily be planted specifically on St. Patrick’s Day but after that date, people hurry to sow their plants before the rain. Why does it need to be done before the rain? For a simple reason - when rain occurs after sowing, the seeds will swell and the beginning of the growth process is in motion.

That is only the “first round” of the planting since not all plant crops can be immediately be planted. These next vegetables are most common in the “first round of planting”.


A useful vegetable that can be used in many ways and because of its flexibility and endurance during its growth, this plant is unavoidable in Slavonia. Potatoes from Lika are one of the most famous Croatian products. When planting, people make rows in their gardens that are approximately 25 centimeters deep and start putting potato tubers with sprouts, one by one, one foot away from each other (you can measure distance with your foot) and later buried with a hoe. Red and white potatoes are the most prominent ones and are planted for different uses - red potatoes are good for frying and roasting, and white ones are for boiling and cooking. People who don’t have big gardens or lands can also plant on their balconies or small spaces indented for planting.


Onions with potatoes are in the same tier of importance for Slavonians and have mostly the same attributes. Flexibility in its handling in the kitchen and mostly pretty endurable, this crop has many good uses. However, there is a problem that, of course, can be avoided. The danger of rotting is pretty common with this plant (which can be also said for potatoes but in smaller measure) and if not harvested on time, this is an unavoidable problem. Why? Well, when harvested, our ancestors would leave onions on the field to dry but with climate change and far harsher summers, they’re usually put under the canopy or whatever place where the sun isn’t blazing hot. Onions planted in March are usually ready for harvesting in July but even “young” onions are good for use, especially at Easter time.

Carrots and parsley 

An indispensable part of any stew or soup, these two plants are really an important part of planting traditions in Slavonia. It is also harvested in July but has multiple uses besides its root. For instance, parsley’s leaves are put in the meals as a spice and it is present in almost every Slavonian meal - čobanac, gulaš, fiš, and many more. Carrots, on the other hand, can be consumed young as onions - roasted young carrots coated in butter equals a great summer meal. One more plant that can be cultivated in small and closed places.


This plant has, so to say, a mythic reputation in multiple cultures including Slavonia. From having healing attributes for stomachaches, strengthening immunity, and so on, to flexible uses in the culinary world. If any ingredient symbolizes Slavonia, that’s definitely garlic - spicy, strong smell and certainly a food that enhances every meal. Planting is the same as is with onions - bulbs are put in the ground and just gently covered with soil. A very durable plant that can withstand any weather and be usable all year. It can be cultivated anywhere.


Its head is mostly used for meals but the culinary internet revolution discovered newfound use for its leaves. They can be put in the pesto, carbonara, or just a sauce ingredient for extra flavor. Celery heads in Slavonia are used as an ingredient for soups and stews like previously mentioned gulaš and paprikaš. It can be stored for later use and its durable ingredient is why this plant is part of cultivating and planting traditions in Slavonia. In recent years, it's also been used as a juice! Rich with sodium and vitamin A.

Red beet 
Also planted in the first round of planting, red beet has multiple uses and is one of the healthiest ingredients on this list. Its juice is used in the fitness world for strengthening a person's fitness and body. Furthermore, it can lower blood pressure and increase blood flow. Rich with folic acid, manganese, potassium, vitamin C, magnesium, iron and so many more. Its root in Slavonia is used mostly for winter storage, namely, pickled in glass jars. “Soily” taste and beautiful color make this ingredient an important plant in the Slavonian region.

Peas and string beans

These two at first glance seem the same but they’re not. Even though they’re from the same family of plants (legume or pea family), they can be used in different ways. Stews are probably most common in Slavonia for peas but string beans can also be prepared in salads or roasted with other vegetables. Their issue is that they’re really sensitive and require nonstop care. A great ingredient for various meals.

Those vegetables are most commonly planted in the first spring planting, however, a bit later in the spring season, seeds are replaced by seedlings, young plants that have already sprouted from their seeds. These include tomatoes, cabbage, swiss chard, broccoli, peppers, jalapenos, cucumbers, and many more. Cultivating from there needs to be on a higher level since these plants require more care which means more water, fertilizers, and fluids that protect the plants from harmful organisms - parasites. What’s also important to note is the importance of these crops, used and pickled for winter storage. Most common are homemade tomato sauce, pickles, so-called hunting salad, pickled pepper, mild and spicy, and many more.

If we look deeper, planting traditions haven’t changed much in recent decades. Proven methods from our ancestors still work, are even better than the modern ones we encounter today, and still feed generations of people in these areas. Every region in Croatia has its own traditions and that’s what makes Croatia so rich - whenever you go, you can see how Croatian people survived the toughest times and managed to use its resources in the best possible ways. Earth and ground we walk on are still one of the rare things that never let Croatians down and that’s reflected in planting traditions in Slavonia.

For more, check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Thursday, 23 July 2020

Better Organisation, Association Needed for Turnaround in Fruit, Vegetable Production

ZAGREB, July 23, 2020 - A strategic turnaround in the fruit and vegetable sector requires a better organisation of production, the association of producers, i.e. stronger horizontal and vertical integration, a conference heard on Thursday.

Due to the corona-crisis and marked drop in tourist consumption, Croatia's fruit and vegetable market has undergone big changes which have affected offer and demand as well as prices, which depend on the global offer and demand, and the availability of domestic product, it was said at a presentation of the situation on the fruit and vegetable market organised by Smarter, a consulting company specialising in agriculture and the food industry.

"Due to climate conditions, it's already evident that Croatia will see a drop in the production of most leading fruits - apples, mandarins, plums - while market prices are mainly somewhat higher than last year," said Denis Matijevic, head of Smarter and chairman of the Board of ENNA Fruit.

Smarter estimates that due to the spring frost this year's apple production will drop to 55,000 tonnes. Insufficient precipitations and lack of irrigation are expected to reduce mandarin production to 30,000 tonnes.

As for vegetables, Matijevic said there had been no extreme disruptions in production so the yield was expected to be the same as last year, "while on the market there is a visible drop in prices between 12% and 20%."

It is estimated that this year will see the production of 175,000 tonnes of potatoes, 33,000 tonnes of tomatoes and 25,000 tonnes of watermelons, the same as last year.

Saturday, 17 February 2018

Price of Olive Oil, Fruit and Vegetables Rises, Wine Cheapens

As some prices rise, others fall.