ZAGREB, 10 January (Hina) – Croatia’s agricultural sector ended 2020 with an increase in the value of production of nearly 5%, record high grants of nearly HRK 7 billion and a fall in the foreign trade deficit of more than 26%, the consulting firm Smarter, which specialises in the agricultural and food sector, said in a report earlier this week.
“The year 2020 was extremely difficult economically as the COVID-19 pandemic changed the way of doing business and thinking. In such circumstances, Croatian agriculture managed to respond to new challenges. At the end of 2020 several positive trends were observed, which might show that every crisis can be a great opportunity for a turnaround and that huge investment in agriculture may have started producing results,” the report says.
Croatia ended the year with an increase in the value of agricultural production, with excellent results of crop production and record-high disbursements of various forms of aid to farmers while reducing the foreign trade deficit. Grants and disbursements under the Rural Development Programme increased considerably and triggered the investment cycle, which partly resulted in the increased value of production and, more importantly, increased productivity, according to the report.
However, Smarter noted that the aid provided during the year as part of measures to help the sectors hardest hit by the coronavirus crisis, including the livestock farming and wine-making sectors, should not be ignored.
“We are glad that progress has been made, but we think it is important to take resolute steps that will have a longer-term positive impact on agriculture as a whole,” Smarter said, adding that the development of strategic plans for agriculture was key for 2021.
Citing data from the National Bureau of Statistics, Smarter said that agricultural production in 2020 increased by 4.7% from the previous year, or from HRK 17.9 billion to 18.8 billion, while net value added and productivity rose by nearly 10%.