Dutch Research Centre to Advise Croatian Agricultural Producers

Total Croatia News

The study will show which fruits and vegetables Croatia should produce.

Regional director of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) Vedrana Kašić Jelušić presented in Osijek a new initiative to develop and promote local producers of fruits and vegetables and improve their operations in Croatia. The initiative has been launched together with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Ministry of Agriculture, and with the support of the Croatian Association of Young Farmers, reports Jutarnji List on March 8, 2017.

“Vegetable production is not sufficient for the needs of the population, and it is especially not sufficient for the purposes of tourism, food industry and export opportunities. According to some estimates, with the exception of mandarins and cherries, domestic production does not meet even 50 percent of domestic demand. The varieties which are of great importance for the sector, and where there is good potential for further growth, include apples, strawberries and plums in the segment of fruits, as well as potatoes, tomatoes and salads in the vegetable segment”, said Jelušić Kašić, stressing that the aim of the initiative was to encourage the development of fruit and vegetable production, the exchange of knowledge between farmers, the introduction of innovative technologies, and strengthening of the role of various associations, cooperatives and producer organizations.

The first step, according to the EBRD director for Croatia, Slovenia, Slovakia and Hungary, is to prepare a market study, which will be done by the University and Research Centre in Wageningen in the Netherlands, one of the best research universities in the agricultural sector in the world. The study will focus on identifying the varieties of fruits and vegetables that have the greatest potential for Croatia and international markets, taking into account consumer preferences and changes in their habits.

Individual producers will also visit Italy, which is a great example of how the production of fruits and vegetables can contribute to successful development of rural areas. “During the visit, farmers will have the opportunity to see firsthand how to operate successfully organized agricultural cooperatives, why they are so important for the Italian agricultural sector, and what benefits they bring to their members. The share of income of cooperatives in the Italian GDP is around 15 percent, while in Croatia it is around 0.5 percent”, she stressed.

A major problem for Croatian fruit and vegetable sector is its very low productivity. Yields are significantly lower than in countries which are large manufacturers from which Croatia imports fruits and vegetables. For example, in Croatia, the average yield of potatoes is around 17 tons per hectare, compared with 45 tonnes in France, 33 tons in Austria and 30 tons in Hungary. In Croatia, potatoes are planted on 11,000 hectares and produced quantities meet about 70 percent of domestic market needs. The yield of apples, the most important fruit in Croatia, is around 10 tons per hectare, while in France it is 37 tons, in Austria 91 tons and in Slovenia 36 tons.


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