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Preliminary communication

State and measures for improving Croatian agriculture in the context of EU accession

Franjo Tomić

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page 129-142

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Due to the fact that agriculture represents one of the main economy components in the EU, it is significant that Croatia, as the new member state, has a considerably advanced agriculture, which can easily adapt to European market. However, our agriculture is still faced with several existing problems which need to be quickly solved within the period of our adaptation within the EU. Since the foundation of independent democratic Croatian state (1990) there has been no planned and
organised agricultural development. At the beginning of the respective period we didn’t administer efficient privatisation of enlarged community agricultural associations, resulting in the fact that private agricultural farms of that time (family farms) with average surface area of 1,9 ha became the main subject of agricultural
production. These small family farms didn’t have the opportunity of successful production due to increasingly strong market actions. This led to insufficient
agricultural production and poor competitiveness of our agricultural and food products on the market, and this is the problem that we are still facing. It was due to such conditions that since 1993 we have had a negative balance in foreign trade exchange of agricultural and food products which, in individual years, amounted to 1,2 billion USD. It is of utmost importance to systematically and quickly work
on achieving the conditions for establishing effective agriculture and to orient the existing investments in agriculture towards production of various agricultural and food products of high quality. In order to achieve this objective, it is essential to implement several measures: to continue intensive work on enlargement and higher cultivation level of arable land, wider application of irrigation, development of production of organic and autochthonous products, production of bio-mass and
bio-fuel in agriculture. In order to create better conditions for achieving efficient agriculture and production of quality agricultural products, it is essential to have adequate support and subsidies. Previous subsidy system had some serious deficiencies. The new subsidy system is based on two parts (subsidies for direct payments - production and support for rural development) Croatia will be able to use 379,2 EUR/ha (for 1,009.000 ha agreed in negotiations during pre-accession
phase) in the form of direct payments, placing Croatia on the sixth position among the EU countries. When it comes to subsidies for rural development, we are on the second place and we will be entitled to obtain 333 EUR/ha annually, based on accepted development projects. With the objective of rational usage of subsidiesfor direct payments, it is essential to establish regionalisation of agricultural production. This will facilitate target investments in strategic projects such as fruit
production (especially production of olives) and vegetable production in Southern parts of Croatia, crop growing and cattle raising (especially sugar production) in Slavonia, as well as investing in organic and traditional agriculture. Furthermore, besides primary production, it is also important to support food-processing industry, since processed products are more easily sold on the market. Adequate allocation of subsidies within these programmes could lead to quicker development of agriculture, ensuring a larger number of our products for domestic and foreign market, as well as increasing the employment rate in agriculture.


agriculture; watering; consolidation; traditional product; support and education

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