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Demand for figs growing globally, production in Croatia drops

ZAGREB, Aug 12 (Hina) – The demand for figs on the global and European market is growing and more than 80% of figs are produced in the Mediterranean, however, Croatia cannot boast of sufficient production of this fruit, the Smarter consulting company said on Wednesday.

According to Smarter, which specialises in the agriculture and food industry, of about 1.5 million tonnes of figs produced, more than 80% is produced in the Mediterranean.

“Of the ten top global fig producers and exporters, seven countries are from the Mediterranean, where there is as much as an 80% concentration of fig production. Turkey, Greece, Italy, Algeria, Morocco and Spain are the biggest fig producers and exporters, however, Croatia is not marked on the map of countries with organised production, and from year to year, its production is declining despite its the huge production potential,” Smarter notes.

The analysis says that following olives, figs are the most common fruit from Istria to the Dubrovnik riviera. It is a little less frequent in the Dalmatian hinterland and Neretva valley, however with about 855,000 fig trees in the mid-1980s that number has been reduced to about 600,000.

In 1996 Croatia produced 6,240 tonnes of fresh figs and about 3,360 tonnes were consumed fresh with an additional 920 tonnes of dried figs. Data from 2019 indicates that production fell to just 1,264 tonnes of which just 813 tonnes was intensive production.

“Total domestic production satisfies just 0.3 kilograms per capita,” Smarter notes and adds that figs are usually produced by family farms without any greater processing opportunities. The production of figs is limited due to limited capacities for storage hence the market potential is exceptionally weak compared to other fruits, Smarter added.

“Today Croatia raises figs on about 500 hectares of land and according to some calculations that could be increased in a short period to 2,000 hectares, which should be our strategic aim,” Smarter recommends.

According to Smarter’s data in 2019, Croatia exported just 10 tonnes of fresh figs valued at €21,500 and 29 tonnes of dried figs. It however imported 64 tonnes of fresh figs valued at €131,000 (40 tonnes from Turkey) as well as importing 540 tonnes of dried figs valued at €1.7 million again mostly from Turkey (252 tonnes), followed by Albania (115 tonnes).

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