It is getting more and more difficult for shoppers now in Croatia to purchase Croatian produced products, with supermarket shelves now filled with an increasing amount of imported fruit and vegetables such as potatoes and garlic from China, and beans from Argentina and Kirgistan…
In a country with abundant agricultural land which used to not only provide for itself, but also export a sufficient quantity of fruit and vegetables, 2013 statistics make for absurd reading. Last year Croatia imported 118,724 tonnes of vegetables worth 117.3 million USD, and 173,843 tonnes of fruit, worth more than 182 million USD, and it looks as if it will just get worse. In just the last 6 months Croatia has imported 44 million USD worth of vegetables and 88 million USD worth of fruit. Economists say that currently Croatia only produce enough wheat, eggs and wine for its own market, with everything else needed to be imported.
With farmers subsidies not at the same levels as their European Union counterparts, Croatian farmers can not compete on price or produce enough quantity for what is a relatively small Croatian market. In 2013 more than 17 million USD worth of potatoes were imported into Croatia, 12 million USD worth of tomatoes, 43 million USD worth of oranges and lemons, 21 million USD worth of bananas, 19 million USD worth of apples, pears and melons, and 11 million USD worth of onions and garlic, absurd for a nation that once was exporting 350 million EUR worth of fruit overseas in the 1980’s.
According to Croatian Commerce statistics, imported food into Croatia arrives from all corners of the globe. Potatoes on supermarket shelves originate from neighbouring Bosnia and Serbia, to Germany, Austria, Ukraine, Turkey and Holland, whilst tomatoes come from Jordan, and garlic from China and Slovenia. On the list of nations which export beans to Croatia include China, Kirgistan, Peru, Argentina, USA and Canada. China were the number one exporters to Croatia with more than 6 million USD worth. As more and more farmers struggle to compete with overseas competitors and supermarkets only interested in price, the future does not look bright for Croatian agricultural farmers.