Croatia's agricultural and food exports growth slows down



Split, 050914.
Danasnja ponuda na splitskoj trznici. Nakon dugo vremena mogle su se kupiti domace dinje, iz Mostina, 5kn za kilogram. Pomidore su bile jako skupe, od 10 do cak 14 kn. Ostale cijene: grozdje 10 do 13kn, sljive 8kn, sipak 16kn, mandarine i narance 13kn, kruske 18kn, lubenica 4kn, salata 8 do 10, blitva 10kn, kelj 8kn, kupus 8kn, krastavac 5kn, paprika 10kn, tikvica i mrkva 10kn, fazolet 14kn, patlidzan 5 do 8kn, cikla 8 do 10kn i cimulice za 10kn. Foto: Marijo Basic / CROPIX
Marijo Basic / CROPIX

Illustration: Marketplace in Split, Croatia

Croatian agricultural and food exports continued to grow last year, but at a lower rate than in previous years, the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) said in a statement on Friday.

 In the first ten months of 2018, compared with the same period of 2017, agricultural and food exports increased by 5% to EUR 1.64 billion, while imports rose by 4% to EUR 2.55 billion. Coverage of imports by exports increased from 63% to 64%.

In 2017, agricultural and food exports rose by 7.5% from 2016, when they had increased by nearly 13% from the previous year.

 - The fact that in the first nine months of 2018, compared with the same period of 2017, the growth of the agricultural trade deficit was halted is encouraging. However, this year's deficit could still exceed one billion euros, which continues to be a concern - HGK vice-president for agriculture and tourism Dragan Kovacevic said.

He added that Croatia still recorded the largest deficit in trade with meat and edible meat offal, milk and dairy products, fruit and vegetables.

- This indicates a poor structure of agricultural production and low productivity, but also the fact that EU funding and rural development measures still have no effect - Kovacevic said.

- In order to increase the volume of agricultural production and productivity, which is far below the EU average, along with absorbing funding from rural development programmes, Croatian agricultural production needs to be regionalised to ensure a stronger role of grants in increasing competitiveness - he concluded.

Looking at overall trade in the first ten months of 2018, it also increased by 5% from the same period of 2017, reaching EUR 12 billion. At the same time, imports increased by 8% to EUR 19.8 billion, with coverage of imports by exports falling from 63% to 61%.

Agricultural and food products accounted for 13% of exports and 14% of imports, the HGK said.