Social Democratic Party (SDP) leader Zoran Milanovic on Thursday presented the People's Coalition's agriculture election platform and underscored that during the SDP-led Kukuriku coalition's government there had been only one farmers' protest.
"Croatia's agriculture is largely determined by the common European agricultural policy. Quotas, rules and subsidies are strictly defined and room for manoeuvring within that framework is not too big and whoever is familiar with that can manage and take the best for themselves," Milanovic said.
He assessed that only by investing in know-how can Croatia move on toward the club of the richest. "We have been where we are now, in the club of the medium-developed, for 40 years already. We have to be daring enough to seek entry into the club of the wealthy," Milanovic said.
Asked by reporters why the SDP has changed its policy and programme in agriculture compared to when it was in power, Milanovic said that they "learned from those who are more enlightened and better than us." "With the Croatian Peasant Party (HSS) we are gaining a partner in the People's Coalition and people who are seeking an opportunity. Not only to ask for their opinion, which wasn't the case before, but for them to be a key factor and to dictate the rhythm," Milanovic said.
HSS leader Kreso Beljak added that Croatia's agriculture needs to adapt to the needs of the 21st century.
"It's no coincidence that we are presenting our platform on a family farm in Slavonia because 75% of Croatia's population lives in rural areas. Croatia's agriculture is primarily made up of family farms. Of the 190,000 farms, 96% are family farms, yet they have very small areas, about 5 hectares each, which is significantly less than the European average... The development of family farms and rural areas is the basis of our programme," Ana Marija Petin of HSS said.
With that in mind, the People's Coalition plans to prepare new legislation in order to boost the development of family farms.