Agriculture Minister Davor Romić talks about his plans.
Land reform and the development of strategies for agriculture, food industry and wood processing industry are the top priorities for the new Agriculture Minister Davor Romić, who spoke about these issues in the Parliament. Romić pointed out that the reform of agricultural policy is one of the key goals for the current government, given that they have “detected” more than 750,000 hectares of unused agricultural land, both in state and private ownership. These resources should be put into use which is not an easy task and will involve several ministries, said the Minister, reports Index.hr on February 11, 2016.
One of the important steps in land reform is the land consolidation project which has already been started by the former government, and for which 39 million euros are available in the rural development program. The Minister will also intensify the irrigation project started in 2005. There are funds available for the project, and about 50 project elements can go into implementation phase, said Romić.
HDZ’s members of the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture criticized policies which favour importers instead of producers, adding that they expected stronger controls of imported food. Croatia imports huge amounts of meat without any control “from the border to a sausage”, said Josip Križanić, wondering whether the import of meat of questionable quality represented a threat to national security. “Nobody wants to ban food imports from the EU, but we can better control its origin, so that we know what is a Croatian product and what was imported from Uruguay.”
Frane Lucić also believes that the government should stop “those who have used import-oriented policies” to destroy small farms. It is true that we cannot prohibit some things, but we can make laws like other countries, says Lucić, wondering why in Europe frozen meat must be sold within six months, but in Croatia it can be sold for a whole year.
Former Agriculture Minister Tihomir Jakovina (SDP) said that inspection services were spread over different ministries and added that government should try to unify those inspections which are involved in food safety. He said that he was very satisfied with the minister’s guidelines, saying that it was “a good continuity of what we have worked on in the past four years”.
Agriculture is on its knees, said Ljubica Ambrušec (MOST), who appealed to her colleagues not to argue about the past, but rather to turn towards the future.