Falling Demand for Christmas Trees in Croatia

Total Croatia News

Christmas trees – a little less loved in Croatia these days. 

After the proclamation of Croatian independence in early 1990s, demand for Christmas tree in Croatia exploded. However, 20 years later, the demand is much weaker, explains Đuro Jendrijev, head of the Association of Croatian Producers of Christmas Trees. “In recent years, we sell about 250,000 trees, while in the early 1990s we simply could not offer enough trees. The demand was more than half a million trees, while domestic production was almost non-existent. On the basis of data, perhaps we could conclude that the patriotic-religious fervour of Croats which reigned after the independence has subsided somewhat”, Jendrijev says, reports Poslovni.hr on December 5, 2015.

After the last twenty years, the situation is now completely reversed – there is an overproduction of trees in Croatia, which have flooded the market and, along with constant imports, caused the prices to fall dramatically. Currently, there are around 1,200 mostly small producers in Croatia, but most of them do have other sources of income. One of them is Božidar Graber from Bjelovar, who has produced about 1,000 pieces of spruce this year. However, this is the first time that he has not planted any new trees. “In the last two to three years, it has been extremely difficult to sell the trees. This is a very risky business because it takes five years for a spruce to be grown, while fir takes twice as long, and then you get into a situation where there are no buyers. In addition, during all those years there are risks from droughts and excessive soil moisture, which could destroy the trees”, Graber says, adding that “there is a trend of consolidation of production, with small producers disappearing from the market”.

“You cannot live by only growing Christmas trees. The price of spruce in a plant nursery is 30 to 40 kuna, and on the retail market it is 70 to 100 kuna, but there you also have to pay the lease for the selling area. It is easy to calculate what your profits will be the if you sell 100 Christmas trees, which is not at all easy”, Graber says. Jendrijev adds that the chance for Croatian producers lies in exports, because Croatian Christmas trees are equal in quality as those from Hungary, Germany and Denmark, from where the trees are commonly imported. So far, there have been no government incentives for Christmas trees producer, and there is no indication that there will be any in the near future.


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