Animal Husbandry Days: Bigger, more productive investments should be supported

Animal Husbandry Days: Bigger, more productive investments should be supported

Animal husbandry in Croatia is faced with many challenges, such as high input costs and a shrinking cattle stock and production volume, which calls for changing the aid policy and focusing on bigger and more productive investments, the 1st Croatian Animal Husbandry Days heard on Wednesday.

Despite many investments, the situation and trends are not good as 15% of pigs and 4.5% of cattle have been lost in the last ten years, Croatian Chamber of Commerce vice president Dragan Kovačević said, adding that the production of meat, eggs and honey decreased by 20% and of milk by 30%.

Croatia is not self-sufficient in the production of any meat and imports enormous quantities of milk, eggs and honey, which account for a large part of the foreign trade deficit, Kovačević said. “We must change the policy of subsidies, which are dispersed, and focus more on productivity and investments in line with trends.”

Since 2013, €1.3 billion has been invested in animal husbandry from EU funds and the state budget, said Zdravko Tušek, state secretary at the Agriculture Ministry. The agriculture development strategy defines animal husbandry as a strategic interest, so €3.8 billion has been set aside to make the sector more productive and competitive, he added.

Changes have been happening in agriculture in the last 15 years, in Croatia and all Europe, due to a certain restructuring which makes smaller producers less competitive and unable to deal with globalisation challenges, Tušek said, adding that small producers should be supported.

He told pig farmers affected by African swine fever that the government would back them with aid schemes worth over €30 million.