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.
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