ZAGREB, Dec 2 (Hina) – Croatia currently has 17 producer organisations in eight sectors but they have only 700 members of a total of 170,000 farms, the Smarter consultancy said in an analysis, adding that amalgamation of farmers should be a strategic objective in agriculture.
The process of amalgamating producer organisations has picked up somewhat over the past few years but is still unsatisfactory and needs to be enhanced, the consultancy said in a press release.
It conducted its analysis based on the latest data from the Agriculture Ministry which shows that recognised producer organisations are active in just nine counties in continental Croatia.
Amalgamation has best been seen in the fruit and vegetable sector with 4 producer organisations, followed by 3 each in the cereals, milk and dairy, and beef and veal producer organisations.
As far as geographic location is concerned, Osijek-Baranja and Vukovar-Srijem counties have the best amalgamation results – with 3 organisations each while amalgamation in Istria, Dalmatia and Lika counties has not picked up.
At the end of October another four applications for recognition of producer organisations were submitted, one for bee products and three for potato producers.
“The corona crisis and announcement of a new EU Common Agriculture Policy for 2023, should additionally encourage the process of amalgamating producers and raise awareness of the need for horizontal networking, greater connectivity with buyers and the processing industry as they have developed and stable channels towards retail outlets and export markets,” Smarter added.
A good example of success in producing and selling a product is the Jabuka apple farm cooperative, which has a good position on the shelves in local retail outlets and in export, Smarter said.
Amalgamation strategic objective in agriculture
Smarter believes that amalgamation of farmers should be a strategic objective for Croatia’s agriculture policy. That is a reasonable and rational approach to resolving the problem of the survival of farms and enables an equal chance on the market, Smarter underlined.
Smarter recalled that of the 170,000 registered farms 83% or about 110,000 are small farms.
The EU supports farmers who wish to associate in producer organisations by concentrating supplies, improving marketing, providing technical and logistic support for its members and improving quality management and the transfer of know-how.
Associations guarantee economic feasibility for individual producers, as evidenced by a large number of examples in the EU, the analysis notes.
Smarter adds that it is necessary to strengthen the vertical integration of the supply chain, from producer organisations to buyers to processing and retail, with associated producers acting together at each of these levels.
The ministry needs to provide the regulatory frameworks, simplify procedures for amalgamation and recognise producer organisations as well as approve funds to support their work, Smarter says.
EU has 3,505 producer organisations, mostly for fruit and vegetable farmers
According to the analysis, in 2017 the EU had 3,505 producer organisations, with more than half (52%) in the fruit and vegetable sector, followed by the dairy sector (38%).
France has the most producer organisations – 724, followed by Germany (692), Italy (583) and Spain (579).