Could Croatian Industrial Hemp Help to Brand Parts of Slavonia?

Lauren Simmonds

Slavonia is constantly overlooked in favour of either the rest of continental Croatia, the City of Zagreb, and of course, the glorious Adriatic coast, which, with its glitz, glam and fancy yachts is a far cry from the often harsh and sad realities of life in the Eastern Croatian region of Slavonia. It isn’t just tourism that is lacking, but industry. With people abandoning this part of Croatia in their droves, could Croatian industrial hemp perhaps revitalise production in the east?

As Novac writes on the 11th of January, 2020, Marinko Marušić, director and one of the founders and owners of a company from Donji Miholjac which grows and processes Croatian industrial hemp and sells food and cosmetics from this valuable plant stated that his story began ten years ago.

”Our story began a decade ago when Croatia revitalised the cultivation, processing and sale of Croatian industrial hemp, which has long been in disrepute. Initially, we went ahead rather intensively with our research. After seven years of learning in collaboration with the profession, as of last year we began to develop the brand Miholjačka hemp, because, analysing the microclimatic position, we realised that the area along the Drava river is a godsend for growing high quality hemp,” pointed out Marušić.

In addition to oil, seeds, protein flour and teas sold under the brand Miholjačka hemp, they also sell other products such as chips, candies, chocolates, and other types of snacks.

According to Marusic, who spoke with local portal Glas Slavonije, Miholjačka hemp was created as a project of many years of research by enthusiasts whose goal has been to return top quality products from plant and Croatian industrial hemp seeds to Slavonian fields and to promote both nutritional and health values.

”The profession has been following us from the beginning. We cooperate with the faculties of agriculture in Osijek and Zagreb, the companies Saponia and Kandit in Osijek, Kanaan from Donji Miholjac and Meden from Sveti Đurđ. We can produce top quality raw materials, but food and cosmetics require certain standards,” he explains.

In addition, their company brings together several subcontractors, with whom they sow Croatian industrial hemp on about thirty hectares of land in the area of ​​Donji Miholjac and its immediate surroundings.

”We’re constantly working on developing new products, increasing their quality and expanding our sales here in Croatia. We’ve also dipped our toes into cooperation with companies from America, Portugal, Spain and Brazil. In addition, Saponia is accompanying us in its research laboratory to develop new formulas for obtaining hemp-containing products.

Generally speaking, our idea is first of all to brand Eastern Croatia as a centre for hemp, which in itself will allow us and all other growers to have a much easier time on foreign markets. I think that hemp can revive neglected land resources in the area,” concluded Marušić.

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