Croatian Agriculture Sector Has Potential – Time for a Turnaround?

Lauren Simmonds

Copyright Romulic and Stojcic
Copyright Romulic and Stojcic

Copyright Romulic and Stojcic

As Novac writes on the 24th of July, 2020, due to the coronavirus crisis and a significant reduction in tourist consumption, the Croatian fruit and vegetable market has undergone major changes that affected supply and demand, price fluctuations have become dependent on supply and demand on the global market, and the availability of domestically produced goods is an issue. It’s time for a turnaround for the Croatian agriculture sector.

”Due to climatic conditions, it is already evident that here in Croatia, there will be a decline in production of most leading fruit species (apple, mandarin, plum), while the market prices are generally slightly higher than they were last year. There were no extreme disturbances in the production of most vegetables, so it can be estimated that the yield will be approximately at the same levels as last year, while the market saw a drop in prices between 12 to 20 percent due to market conditions,” said the leader of Smarter, a consulting company specialising in the agriculture and food industries, and the President of the Management Board of ENNA Fruit, Denis Matijevic.

Croatian agriculture needs a strong turnaround…

Food, in addition to needing to meet the basic food requirements, should be available to everyone and at affordable prices, and in order to achieve this, local farms need significant government incentives and support to increase production and diversity.

The coronavirus crisis has made us become more than aware of the need to make a strong turnaround in the Croatian agriculture sector and move towards the better organisation of production, associations and connections of producers.

Only the stronger interconnection of producers and their better relations with production organisers, purchasers and the processing and food industry is a guarantee for increasing competitiveness and the level of self-sufficiency of agricultural production. This will also open the door for better market organisation that will enable the availability of domestic goods on store shelves.

An example from practice, which shows that through vertical integration we can better organise the market, is the leading company for the organisation of the production, purchase, distribution and processing of fruits and vegetables in Croatia and the region – ENNA Fruit, which, through subcontracting, buys all contracted production, and then places it on domestic and foreign markets. Since the beginning of the year, it has exported 640 trucks of goods (which is more than half of the total Croatian exports).

“The main markets of ENNA Fruit in that period were Slovenia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Italy. Exports are expected to increase at the end of the summer, so the first projections can tell us a lot about the additional growth of exports, especially when the mandarin season arrives, along with other items from Croatian agricultural production,” said Denis Matijevic.

Expectations for Croatian agriculture in terms of fruit and vegetable production in 2020…

According to Smarter’s first estimates, apple production is expected to fall to 55,000 tonnes this year due to frost. Insufficient precipitation and a lack of irrigation will cause lower mandarin production and a yield of about 30,000 tonnes is expected. Estimates for vegetables show the production of, for example, approximately 175,000 tons of potatoes, 33,000 tons of tomatoes, and about 25,000 tons of watermelon, which is at the level of last year.

“Croatian fruit and vegetable production has huge potential given the low level of self-sufficiency of production and the expected growth of consumption in the coming years, both through increased tourist consumption and through growth in per capita consumption. There is huge potential for exporting as well,” said Smarter expert Zvjezdana Blazic.

In addition to large food companies, a large number of small processing companies present on the local market also participate in the purchase and processing of fruits and vegetables. The food industry in cooperation with production organisers can be a strong impetus for the development of fruit and vegetable production. Large systems such as Podravka, Enna Fruit, companies from the Fortenova Group (PIK Vinkovci, Belje, Vupik), in recent years have made enormous efforts to transfer their knowledge to small farmers, consolidate production, organise purchases, and develop new products.

It will be almost impossible for producers without an association in this sector to use the EU operational programmes necessary to improve production. Only through the joint work of all participants in the chain can we expect the strengthening of fruit and vegetable production to the level of other Mediterranean countries.

For more on the Croatian agriculture sector, follow our Made in Croatia section.


Subscribe to our newsletter

the fields marked with * are required
Email: *
First name:
Last name:
Gender: Male Female
Please don't insert text in the box below!

Leave a Comment