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Since the beginning of the Russian aggression on Ukraine, the Ministry of Agriculture has focused on the issue of protection of this economic sector.
At an extraordinary video meeting of EU agriculture ministers in early March on the consequences of the conflict in Ukraine, Agriculture Minister Marija Vučković said it was high time to step up emergency measures, especially in the context of rising energy, fertilizer, transport, animal feed and other costs. From this and later statements of the Minister, it can be concluded that Croatia is ready for all measures to be taken in this difficult period, which is defined by rising fuel and food prices, which encourages inflation, which is reflected on the citizens. Minister Vučković expressed her understanding for the current situation in Ukraine, given the Croatian experience of the Homeland War (1991-1995). Croatia's "government will take care of the food security of our citizens," Agriculture Minister Marija Vuckovic told reporters on March 9th. According to her information, the harvest will be slightly better than the year before, spring sowing has been prepared, and preparations for autumn sowing have begun. "We need to think seriously about the possible consequences of increased demand on the EU market, but we will not abandon the principle of EU solidarity or solidarity with Ukraine," the minister said.
The Croatian Government has also adopted a number of measures to ensure the security of market supply of food products and assistance to producers, as well as measures to help end customers and citizens with the possible expansion of measures. For now, the margin and the frozen price of "blue diesel" for agriculture and fishermen have been reduced, and 200 million kuna (just over €25.5 million) of intervention aid to individual farmers for the purchase of artificial fertilizer for spring sowing and intervention with 75 million kuna (€10 million) have been set aside to help fishermen.
"Such disturbances can affect Croatia, so it is necessary to anticipate certain activities. We have already held meetings with the farming sector, meat and dairy producers, the fishing industry and the Croatian Chamber of Agriculture to mitigate the negative economic effects on food security," Minister Vučković said. For example, in addition to state aid, the fisheries sector will be provided with additional compensatory measures.
The Minister of Agriculture said that agricultural production in Croatia has been making progress in recent years, saying that the amendments to the Law on Agricultural Land and the drafting of strategic documents will continue to provide support to farmers. The Ministry also reminds of the proposal presented by Minister Vučković to the European Commission, which would, in addition to the already adopted support measures, enable member states to make full use of all available funds within their existing rural development programs, which was supported by 13 member countries.
State Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture Zdravko Tušek said that serious disturbances in the meat and animal market are slowly subsiding, but prices in the pig sector are historically low. "In the last two years, we have intervened with a tender worth more than 170 million kuna (€22,6 million) in order to reduce the negative impact for the most endangered agricultural sectors," he said. The e-consultation includes new tenders worth 36 million kuna (€4,8 million). The calculation on animal welfare has also been changed, based on which an additional 200 million kuna (€26,6 million) will be used to help the livestock sector, which has been most affected by covid and Ukraine crisis.
The Ministry is working on measures that would enable the sustainability of the dairy sector in the future until the end of the decade. Continuity of financing of long-term investments in dairy cattle breeding (slightly more than 490 million kuna per year - €65 million) is planned in order to strengthen the competitiveness of investments in dairy farms and product labeling. Which is now, partly due to the crisis in Ukraine, accelerated.
"The Ministry intervened through small value aid in the amount of 200 million kuna (€26,6 million) for up to 20 ha of agricultural land from which areas under meadows, pastures and fallow land are excluded. For the first 10 ha, support of 450 kn/ha (€60) was provided, from 10 to 20 ha additional HRK 250/ha (€33)", said Tugomir Majdak, State Secretary, stating that this measure will cover a total of more than 88,000 farms.
Through the Rural Development Program, tenders are being prepared for investments in storage capacities of cereals and oilseeds, as well as investments to support producer organizations and irrigation, Majdak added.