ZAGREB, January 24, 2018 – The government sent the Law on Family Farms to parliament for a second reading on Wednesday, and Agriculture Minister Tomislav Tolušić said that family farms would finally have a law specifically designed for them, like companies, small businesses or cooperatives, and would be protected against enforcement action.
The law sets out conditions for engaging in agriculture as an economic activity, registration in the Family Farms Register, the responsibilities and rights of farm owners, and oversight of law implementation.
Family farms have been encountering obstacles to their development, primarily because of the lack of a legal framework, so the new bill will professionalise their operation, enable them to develop their capacity and services and facilitate their access to EU funds and government-owned farmland, Tolušić said at a cabinet meeting.
The law encourages families to operate one farm and to consolidate their production resources with a view to ensuring sustainable management and self-employment of their families.
Tolušić said that production resources, such as tractors, combine harvesters and livestock, which are necessary for the performance of agricultural activity, as well as residential property would be protected against enforcement action. He said that the Family Farms Register would be made public so that it would be clear who produced what and how much.
According to the Paying Agency for Agriculture, Fisheries and Rural Development, 165,458 farms were registered in the Farmers Register as of 31 December 2017, of which 159,191 were registered as family farms, 2,554 as companies, 2,174 as small businesses, 347 as cooperatives and 192 as other forms.
Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said he believed the bill would better regulate the status of family farms in terms of legal security.