A working meeting was held in Dubrovnik, attended by the delegation of the Vukovar-Srijem County and representatives of the Dubrovnik-Neretva County. The topic of establishing stronger economic cooperation between blue and green Croatia was discussed.
It was concluded that there is room for cooperation in marketing products from Vukovar-Srijem County to the tourism sector in Dubrovnik-Neretva County, and in that direction a presentation of these products will be organized at the traditional meeting of winemakers with caterers and hoteliers. Also, a visit of representatives of tourist agencies of the southernmost Croatian county to Slavonia will be organized, in order to explore possible ways of cooperation and overcome the problems of spatial distance and transportation costs. It was also jointly agreed that subsidies for the Osijek-Dubrovnik flight would be sought.
"Achieving this cooperation is not a simple matter of good will, it should be worked on persistently. Every year, we give Vukovar-Srijem County a mandarin tug, and this year they gave us an apple tug. It is of course all symbolic, but it shows what kind of friendly relations we have", Said the prefect of Dubrovnik-Neretva County Nikola Dobroslavić, and suggested that at the traditional meeting of winemakers of Dubrovnik-Neretva County with caterers and hoteliers in early February to present the products of family farms represented in the Agro-cluster.
Vukovar-Srijem County Prefect Božo Galić stated that the main goal of the meeting was to find out what and how much hoteliers in the south of Croatia need. "We want to save our family farms, so we founded the Agro-cluster, in cooperation with our County and several municipalities and with the Faculty of Agriculture in Osijek and the Cooperative "Vinkovačka šparoga". We started with activities, this is our first year and we are going in the right direction. In 10 years, we have lost 3000 households. Now there are about 6000 of them. We, as the County, are working on the infrastructure, and here we want to know, openly and honestly, how we can concretely cooperate ”, said Galic. He mentioned that such cooperation would save many Slavonian family farms, and added that he could personally guarantee the high quality of products from our county.
It is important, at least at the beginning, as one of the conclusions of the meeting is that all hoteliers from the Dubrovnik-Neretva County have expressed interest in cooperation as well as readiness to resolve any difficulties.
Director of Agro-cluster Zdenko Podolar noted that "classic" products are also produced in Slavonia, but also those that are not as well known as domestic asparagus, and pointed outWe have established contacts with hoteliers from Istria, we have established six subclusters that we connect with consumers, ie hoteliers. We already have a cluster of wine and honey and as a result we have reached some 140 food items that we can offer in sufficient quantities"
The President of the Professional Group of Hoteliers at the Dubrovnik County Chamber, Željko Miletić, said that the preconditions for cooperation with large hotel houses had been created.I believe that colleagues will do everything to connect hotel houses with family farms and that we work together. You have a range of products that are in demand, I believe every hotelier is on the trail of that", Said Miletic.
The President of the Management Board of the Hotel Maestral, Julijo Srgota, pointed out that the imperative is the distribution and uniformity of products. ”We are in an awkward distribution situation, but if a deal is done with one of the larger hotel houses, we are all here for such cooperation. We need to see concrete products. It doesn't have to be the cheapest, but let it be our ecological product as well. This is extremely trendy today".
Comment: A combination of blue and green Croatia
By the way, Vukovar-Srijem County established several agricultural clusters last year, and concrete meetings have already been held. Thus, Agro cluster held a meeting with the municipality of Tar-Vabriga and hotel and catering companies from Istria, and also the hotel companies Valamar and Plava laguna were presented the project of connecting and networking family farms in Vukovar-Srijem County.
Certainly praise for this step because this is the right and only way to connect blue and green Croatia. Unfortunately, we are at least 20 years late and today it is much more difficult, but not impossible, it must be imperative to establish a system that combines production (agriculture and meat industry) and high consumption generated by tourism. It is ridiculous to look at, from today’s perspective, how our tourism encourages imports rather than local production. On the one hand we have a huge need and consumption through tourism, and on the other hand from Dalmatian Zagora, the interior of Istria to Slavonia large uncultivated areas and destroyed agriculture. Only long ago it was necessary to connect the dots and connect the two logical things. This is the meaning of tourism, to increase tourist spending, and to reduce it to the local economy with maximum use of local resources. On the one hand we have a record trusit season, and on the other a record low agriculture production. (Canak on that topic soon).
We fall for eggs, lettuce, mussels, potatoes, etc.… it all comes from imports, and domestic production is at its lowest levels.
Of course, as there are many challenges in the whole process, first it is necessary to define the needs of hoteliers, secondly whether we have sufficient quantities, as well as the possibility of stable delivery throughout the season, because the tourism sector has a daily need for large quantities, uniformity of quality, storage and refrigerators. transport and finally when we define everything we can talk about the price of the product.
On the other hand, it remains a pity at the moment because again there is no synergy of the whole of Slavonia. It is precisely the lack of clusters, cooperatives… whatever you call them all these years that is one of the main reasons for the decline of agriculture in Croatia. Today, due to the great influence and power of imports, and the disconnection and collapse of agriculture, it is much more difficult to connect everything. It is the model of cooperatives that has proven to be crucial in Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, Italy, etc.… where farmers have connected and networked, and thus have quality, technology, quantity and are competitive, while in our country individuals alone can certainly not be competitors. One plastic example, in our country there are 10 tractors for every 10 farmers, while in a cooperative there is one tractor for every 10 same producers. Thus, the cost of procurement, maintenance and production is divided into 10 of them, and the tractor is therefore both efficient and cost-effective.
At the end of May 2018, the Agreement on Cooperation between the five Slavonian counties was finally signed, which is the basis for joint participation in the preparation and implementation of development projects in eastern Croatia. show the tourist potentials of eastern Croatia that can be domestic, but also European and world tourist brand.
Also, this year, instead of the previous five counties, ie five tourist brands and products on the market, Slavonia will finally act as one tourist brand - Slavonia. I also hope to end the crazy practice that each Slavonian county develops its own tourist product and brand, without such important synergies. What does Osijek-Baranja County or Vukovar-Srijem County mean to a domestic guest, and especially a foreign one? Absolutely nothing. On the contrary, the perception of Slavonia from Zagreb and below is precisely from Baranja, Osijek, Požega, Sl. Brod to Vukovar and Ilok.
And now we return to the beginning of the story. Why the whole of Slavonia did not unite, saw its capacities and quantities and thus united united to the Dubrovnik-Srijem County, and the tourism sector in general. Again, there is no coordination and synergy, which is certainly a shame. Because if we go back to logic to the example of clusters / cooperatives, it is the only logical and sustainable one.
The Days of Croatian Tourism, which will be held in Slavonia, are a great opportunity to show a positive story from Slavonia and to present a model of connecting blue and green Croatia with synergy. In the old days, this is a unique opportunity that should not be missed, because about 1200 tourist workers from all over Croatia will come to Slavonia.
In conclusion, the efforts of Vukovar-Srijem County in the past year should be praised, clusters have been established, concrete meetings have been held, but certainly a broader story, especially through the context of synergy of all five Slavonian counties, and how we must speed up all processes because we are years late. Also, the focus must be on market development, and policy can only be a plus and an upgrade, not the only path of development. After all, the purpose of policy is to create positive frameworks for development. This is a broad topic, and I opened and mentioned one small segment and there are a lot of challenges ahead of everyone that we can finally talk about the combination of blue and green Croatia.
Opportunities are all around us, and the only question is whether we will take advantage of them. Because those who are proactive, creative, innovative and those who want and are engaged in market development are developing.