farmer-poljoprivreda - polje.jpg
Photograph: freeimages.com/Javier Ramos

Croatia's agriculture urgently requires consolidation of farmland, irrigation, modernisation of production and association of producers, a conference organised by the Poslovni Dnevnik business newspaper heard on Tuesday.

A land reform has been launched but is insufficiently effective. There are still tens of thousands of hectares of arable land owned by the state that are lying idle and data about privately owned land is not known, it was said.

An independent agricultural analyst, Darko Znaor, said that agriculture is one of the "most Croatian" sectors of the economy because the owners of farmland are primarily Croatian citizens, which cannot be said for other economic sectors.

We can expect farming to be technologically advanced over the next 15 years, with drones, robotized machinery, electric tractors and IT networking, he said.

Zaklina Juric of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce agriculture sector underscored that production is insufficient and not competitive considering capacities and potential. "We have an insufficient volume of production, poor productivity and small incomes for producers, with a high import of food," she said.

However, Juric believes there is potential in consolidating farmland, irrigation and modernising production, innovation, favourable loans and by reducing local rates.

A new regional agriculture related web site (agrobiz.hr) was presented at the conference. The project was launched by the Vecernji List and Poslovni Dnevnik dailies and will be available as of mid-February. It is geared to farmers and residents in rural areas with the aim of offering education, promoting positive values of production, sales, merging and generating real income. It will deal with the business of farming and the food sector and will present stories about family operated farms and good practice for success in production.

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