"OPG farms remain Croatia's strategic agricultural direction but they need to be strengthened and one of the measures to do that will be to more efficiently and justly distribute direct income support payments," Vuckovic said presenting the strategy in Vukovar.
"Capital support, new technology for all and income support need to go to those who are smaller and more sensitive and who are the true farmers," she said.
With regard to Slavonia, the strategy aims to better connect farming with the manufacturing industry and cattle breeding.
"That will be preceded by a final solution for the basic agricultural resource - land. When speaking about animal husbandry, it is worth mentioning that our objective is to increase pig farming by 35% by 2030 and cattle breeding, which is probably the most vulnerable, particularly with regard to the loss of dairy farms, by 20%," Vuckovic said.
None of that will be possible unless productivity is increased by as much as 125%, she said.
Vuckovic said that projects worth a total of HRK 13 billion had been agreed through the Rural Development Programme and that more than HRK 8 billion of the amount had been paid out.
"Payments have exceeded more than 55%, which makes this programme perhaps the most efficient compared to other structural programmes financed by the EU," she added.
Vuckovic in particular underlined Vukovar-Srijem County, which, as she said, had agreed projects worth HRK 2.7 billion over the past few years, with structural investment measures for rural development amounting to more than HRK 700 million, while a little more than HRK 1.2 billion refers to the guarantee fund for income support for farmers.
The rural development fund for Croatia has resulted in 17 irrigation projects that will be sufficient to irrigate 7,000 hectares of farmland and the aim in the next four years is to double the amount of farmland under irrigation, with investments to be financed with EU funds as well as from the state budget.
During her visit to Vukovar-Srijem County, Minister Vuckovic will attend a ceremony launching the Blato-Cerna irrigation system that will irrigate 550 hectares of farmland.