ZAGREB, November 20, 2019 – Green List party leader Nenad Matić said on Wednesday that Croatia was importing more and more milk, that the milk produced by domestic farmers was not purchased and that milk production was on the decline, as well as that the “Milk from Croatian Farms” label was guaranteed by the Croatian Agricultural Agency (HPA), which no longer existed.
“We are warning the government and inspections that the HPA stopped operating at the end of last year and that it no longer exists, as well as that some of the Croatian producers still have on their products the HPA label which guarantees that their milk was produced on Croatian farms,” Matic said at a news conference outside the Agriculture Ministry.
He said that the party conducted talks with experts and representatives of the milk industry, arriving at the conclusion that long life milk did not contain only the milk produced by Croatian farms and that imported milk was possibly sold as Croatian milk, with consumers paying more for it in the belief that they were buying a fresh product from Croatian farms.
“Maybe this is imported milk because imports have been rising significantly and production has been declining whereas milk consumption has remained similar,” said Matić.
In a message to Agriculture Minister Marija Vučković, he said that the PIK Rijeka agribusiness’s announcement that it would stop buying milk from 120 small producers in Brinje in the central Lika region, for whom this is the sole source of income, “is the last nail in the coffin for the Croatian milk industry” as well as a blow to measures of demographic revival because people were leaving villages.
Matic stressed that in the last 20 years more than 50,000 dairy farmers had closed their business and that now there were fewer than 6,000 dairy farmers.
“A result of this is that in the last five years more than 100,000 people have emigrated from the region of Slavonia alone,” he said.
He stressed that compared to 2017 and 2018 milk production had decreased by five percent or 23 million litres, while imports had increased by 2.5%.
The Green List also called on the agriculture minister to act because Croatia continued to have only five agricultural products that met domestic demand – wheat, corn, chicken meat, mandarins, and sugar.
This non-parliamentary party wants Croatia to be among top EU countries in agricultural production because we have excellent conditions for organic farming as well, he said.
More agriculture news can be found in the Business section.