Zagreb - Agriculture Minister Marija Vučković said on Wednesday Croatia's agricultural productivity was among the fastest growing and that the export-import ratio in agriculture was 68.8%, more than the ratio for non-agricultural and non-food products.
Speaking in parliament during a debate on amendments to the Agriculture Act, she said assessments that Croatia's agricultural productivity was poor were "ridiculous" and that last year, too, agricultural production "had positive statistics and not only due to inflation."
In 2015, Croatian farmers' productivity was HRK 34,000 per work unit and recently it was about 58,000, she said.
One cannot say that the funds used by farmers are not having a positive impact on their competitiveness and productivity, as many problems in agriculture are not only sector-related, she added.
Asked by MP Josip Borić of the ruling HDZ if the opposition was correct in saying there was a 130 billion deficit in food production, Vučković said this year's deficit in agriculture and food products was likely to be €860 million. "The data being put out are totally wrong," she added.
She denied the claim by MP Miro Bulj of the opposition Bridge party that import lobbies were causing damage to farmers and that egg farming had virtually stopped in Croatia.
"It's incorrect and untrue that egg farmers have gone bust," Vučković said, adding that Croatia meets over 90% of its egg needs, sometimes nearly 100%.
She went on to say that the amendments to the Agriculture Act would ensure the implementation of agricultural policy measures via the €3.8 billion national strategic plan for the 2023-27 period, recently approved by the European Commission.
The amendments are also aimed at further alignment with the European economy in organic production and advancing provisions on olive oil analysis, producer organisations, monitoring and reporting, she added.