Croatia is currently importing around 275 million kilograms of fruit and vegetables a year worth a massive 1.5 billion kuna (200 million euros) and growing. Overseas fruit and vegetable producers from countries with cheap labour and production costs are exporting to Croatia and the local industry is finding it almost impossible to compete. As the nation approaches entry to the European Union the fruit growers in the country have attacked the government for not doing enough to fix the problem, reports Vecernji list.
“A container of goods which comes from far away countries such as South Africa, needs weeks to get here and who knows what is put on the fruit and vegetables so they don’t go bad. With just 1 billion euros investment Croatian fruit growers in 4-5 years would be able to export 350 – 400 billion euros of fruit a year, whilst importing would fall to 20 million euros, said fruit grower Frano Ivkovic, adding that the government has no strategy in place to protect local producers. In Austria VAT on fruit is 8%, which the state as a subvention returns to the fruit growers, whilst the Croatian market is flooded with poor quality imports.
A list of products imported in mass into Croatia.
Tomatoes – Albania, Morocco, Macau, Costa Rica, Peru, Senegal
Red Onions – Albania, Denmark, New Zealand, Argentina, India, Mexico
Green Salad – Sweden, UK
Garlic – China, Argentina, Egypt
Beetroot – Cameroon, China, Thailand
Cucumbers – Morocco, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Senegal
Beans – Guatemala, Kenya
Asparagus – Egypt, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru, China, Chile
Paprika – Uganda, Israel, Jordan, Costa Rica, Thailand
Olives – Czech Republic, Bosnia
Grapes – Chile, Ghana, Brazil, Namibia, Peru, Saudi Arabia, Zambia, China, South Africa
Hazelnuts – Georgia
Almonds – Chile, Salvador
Walnuts – Ivory Coast, Chile, India, Romania
Watermelon & Melon – Guatemala, Honduras, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama, Senegal
Apples – South Africa, Ecuador, New Zealand, Uruguay, Argentina, Costa Rica, China