It is one of Croatia’s most famous strawberry growing regions, which will soon be recognised as having its own geographical brand, but more and more farmers in the Dalmatian hinterland region of Vrgorac are beginning to turn their strawberry plantations into vineyards, writes daily newspaper Slobodna Dalmacija.
According to the local body records, the number of applications to plant grapevines has markedly increased, growing this year to 111,500 as more and more locals change tact from traditional strawberry growing.
The main reason Vrgorac farmers are losing interest in strawberry growing is down to the fact that they receive a healthy subsidy for planting grapevines, as opposed to strawberry growers who have now for the last few years not received any subsidies.
Strawberry grower Zaltan Vujicic, from the small village of Orah, where almost every family has a strawberry plantation, confirmed it was becoming a tough business to survive in.
“Last year we all recorded losses because of the unfortunate weather we had. But, already for a while now this (strawberry growing) is not paying off. Just look at the price of planting materials, investment, hard work and yield at the end, and the average price per kilogram for strawberries, you will see it has become one big fight,” said Vujicic.