May the 25th, 2023 – With inflation still very much a threat to our bank accounts and back pockets, are Croatian prices going to just keep on rising? It seems that the period of cheap food might well be one we don’t end up ever returning to.
As Poslovni Dnevnik/Darko Bicak writes, the consequences of the global coronavirus pandemic and the current energy crisis, as well as numerous natural disasters caused by climate change, have led to a drastic increase in Croatian prices for food over more recent years, and the Russian invasion of Ukraine has only pushed it further. The big question is whether food will ever become cheap again, and this topic was discussed at the Green Plan in Croatian Agriculture conference, which was recently held in Zagreb.
The European Union (EU) has provided an enormous 264 billion euros to European farmers, and with various other national funds, this amount will be increased to 307 billion euros in total. How will this all actually reflect on customers who are tired of paying constantly increasing Croatian prices, however?
Marija Vuckovic, Croatia’s Minister of Agriculture, confirmed that this country has now almost completely implemented the EU Green Plan in its national regulations, and now their application in practice, among the farmers themselves, is underway. She added that in the wake of numerous ecological European requirements, several additional models of agricultural incentives were introduced through the so-called Environmental schemes that will be generous, but also stricter in terms of achieving any desired goals.
“This regards the sum of 468 million euros payable through the Environmental Schemes over a period of five years, and it’s been made clear that these are large funds. So far, we have supported 300 projects for energy projects of renewable energy sources in the field of agriculture, and for the next period, we’ve foreseen 30 million euros for future projects in agriculture and nutrition,” said Vuckovic, adding that all other green transition projects within the scope of agriculture are being considered, for which a total of 223 million euros is planned.
Ultimately, the strategic project is the generational renewal of domestic agriculture through the inclusion of young people in this sector because, as the minister pointed out, agriculture will not be sustainable in the long term without the engagement of that demographic. She warned that the policies related to the green transition are all connected because without investments there can be no profitable production, and without that, there can be no sustainable regional development with functional rural communities. In the end, all this will be maintained on biodiversity, but also on the Croatian prices for food themselves.
“Will Croatian prices rise? Many believe that they will. Are the days of cheap food behind us? Well, we can only look at this in the short term, and we can predict for the future to some extent. It’s reasonable to expect that floods, or sometimes droughts, will affect the supply and thus the price of food. When we look at the longer term, will the EU Green Plan lead to an increase in prices? This must also be viewed much more broadly. It’s a fact that enormous amounts of food are wasted across Europe, and I’m convinced that an economic calculation must be sought precisely in better food management,” said Minister Vuckovic. According to European Union statistics, the average household in the EU throws away an astounding 600 euros worth of food per year, while in Croatia it’s at the level of 200 to 300 euros.
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