Croatia’s best family farms have been announced.
Marijo Puškarić was visibly surprised when the prime ministerial envoy, State Secretary at Agriculture Ministry Marija Vučković, opened an envelope with the decision that he was named the winner of this year’s competition for the best family farm in Croatia, reports Večernji List on September 2, 2018.
“I thought I did not have a chance,” he modestly said a bit later, holding in his hand a cheque on 30,000 kuna, a prize he won for being named the winner of the annual competition launched by the Večernji List daily and the Agriculture Ministry five years ago. The goal is to promote food producers and all those who live and work in the countryside.
Puškarić owns a farm in Kaniška Iva near Garešnica, where he uses modern technology to cultivate 350 hectares of land with industrial potato, garlic, red and yellow onions, wheat, maize, soy and chicory. The business philosophy of this 52-year-old forestry technician is very simple and says that you should produce only what customers within the range of sixty kilometres around you want to buy.
In addition, Puškarić believes that without his workers, and he employs 13 people, he could not do anything, adding that, “if you want to have good workers, you have to pay them well.” Puškarić says that the money will be invested in long-term assets, and he will also organise a party for his workers to thank them for the win.
According to a decision by the expert jury, the second place in the competition was won by Andrija Drempetić’s family farm in Donja Stubica, an ecological producer of strawberries and a variety of other vegetables. He has two hectares of ecological crops and three further hectares of land which he cultivates in a more traditional way.
“People who say you cannot do anything with just a few hectares of land do not know what they are talking about. You do not need 300 hectares to succeed. If things were to start moving in the right direction, we could feed half of Europe,” said Andrija’s father Štef. When it was announced that the second position had been won by their farm, Štef even started crying, so the cheque worth 20,000 kuna was taken by his wife Marija.
The third position was won by Mirko Bošković’s farm from Cerna in Vukovar-Srijem County, which on 42 hectares cultivates asparagus, peas, cauliflower, peppers, watermelons and soybeans.
“Five years ago, we registered a cooperative; there are ten of us producing asparagus and we have another seventeen associate members,” said Mirko, who enrolled at the Faculty of Agriculture in Osijek when he was 45 years old. He received a cheque on 10,000 kuna.
Jože Želježnjak from Veselić, a village in the municipality of Ribnik, was named the rising star of Croatian agriculture. On his 20 hectares of land, he cultivates industrial hemp, sunflowers, flax, wheat, corn, oats and barley. He produces cold-pressed oils, integral flour and peeled seeds. He also received 10,000 kuna.
Translated from Večernji List (reported by Marina Boravac).