The money set aside to apply the law will help to consolidate 18,000 hectares, but there is interest in consolidating more, the minister said in parliament.
Twenty-three local units interested in the consolidation of 46,600 hectares replied to the ministry’s call for applications last October, she told independent MP Marijana Petir, who asked if consolidation funds could be increased given the interest.
HRK 313 million has been set aside for farmland consolidation until 2026, of which HRK 263 million from the EU Recovery and Resilience Facility and HRK 50 million in national funds.
Under the bill, consolidated land cannot be divided for 99 years, the minister told Luka Brčić of the ruling HDZ, who asked if Croatia was considering preventing further division of inherited land.
Land consolidation is of strategic interest to Croatia, the minister said, dismissing claims from Bridge MPs that the new law would be unfeasible and that everything was being shifted onto local government units.
Vučković dismissed as incorrect Bridge MP Miro Bulj’s claims that 700,000 hectares of land was uncultivated.
Defending the minister, Stipan Šašlin of the HDZ asked Bulj why he did not do in Sinjsko Polje what Draž Municipality in Baranja did by consolidating over 800 hectares of land and building a HRK 25 million irrigation system.
Selling land to foreigners will mean “game over”, says Beljak
Krešo Beljak of the opposition Croatian Peasant Party said that allowing foreigners to buy land would mean “game over” for Croatian farmers and agriculture.
The law will be unfeasible due to many obstacles, from unsolved property rights relations to the cadastre, the opposition said.
Processes should be made simpler and faster, said Ružica Vukovac of For a Just Croatia, adding that land has not been consolidated for 30 years.
Anja Šimpraga of the ruling coalition’s SDSS said the bill provided a new approach and represented a huge step forward.
Ljubomir Kolarek (HDZ) said the new law would put to use farmland which was used little or not at all because it was not consolidated.
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