Croatian agricultural production has fallen by a quarter in the last seven years despite subsidies of 3,5 billion kuna a year. The coverage of imports by exports is as high as 60 percent, and we create a billion-euro deficit annually.
On the one hand, we have a great demand, ie consumption through tourism, and on the other hand, large agricultural areas and potentials, but we simply do not know, ie we do not want to connect domestic production with the needs of tourism. Instead of our agriculture being in the service of tourism, we encourage imports through tourism. Crazy and funny.
On the other hand, Turkey expects 50 million arrivals this year, and interestingly the entire need for tourism is covered by domestic production, and the surplus is exported. Smart and only sustainable. The meaning of tourism is that tourist spending goes down to the national or local economy. And not like here where the opposite is true.
Just imagine what is the daily or monthly need of one Pula, Split, Zadar for eggs? On a monthly basis, there are hundreds of thousands of eggs, which we unfortunately import. Instead of just through this plastic example, hundreds of family farms were employed for the needs of domestic egg production. Well that would then be sustainable, and tourism would have fresh and quality food. And that's it. Yes, it's that simple.
We have 20 million tourists a year and we need to find ways to improve those numbers. How to connect Blue and Green Croatia? Although it is already ridiculous to talk about this topic at all, because obviously the State has not done anything on this topic. In fact, she didn't even try, because there are definitely solutions. It is only necessary to accept the challenge and work on solving it. The question is where and for what did billions of kunas go back ten years through “incentives” in agriculture?
Otherwise, the very word incentive means growth and development. And we in the field in agriculture have just the opposite.
Precisely on the topic "How to ensure the placement of domestic food products in tourism " was the topic of the panel Croatian product for Croatian tourism, held as part of the first R&B Weekend festival in Zagreb and under the auspices of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce.
Tomislav Ravlić, director of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, points out that the Croatian Product for Croatian Tourism campaign is a continuation of the Buy Croatian campaign, which has been going on for twenty-two years and took 18 years to show that people are willing to prefer domestic products to others. "Not so long ago, our favorite trend was going across the border to Austria, Italy or Hungary for shopping, but thanks to this action, that has changed,"Notes Ravlić, emphasizing that turning to domestic and autochthonous is a global trend. This is exactly what the Croatian Chamber of Commerce wants to achieve with this action, to make it easier for Croatian companies to place their products in tourism.
Denis Matijevic, director of the consulting company Smarter, points out that his products enter domestic hotels and that they are extremely aware of the challenges in the placement of domestic products. “The problem is insufficient quantities, we do not have a sales chain. Croatia is geographically challenging and it is a logistical challenge to place Slavonian short-lived products in Dubrovnik,"Notes Matijevic and adds"The solution is to connect small producers horizontally among those who produce the same products and vertically with a distribution chain that will ensure that the product reaches hotels and restaurants. On the other hand, we have to take demography seriously because in some of our places there is no one left to do what we encourage", Emphasizes Matijevic.
Goran Filipović, a member of the Management Board of Jadranka Hotel in Lošinj, warns that not every tourist company in Croatia is a Croatian company and each of them has its own development strategy. “In the Croatian environment, we have become a brand for connecting small producers in our offer. To accomplish this, we have had to put a lot of effort over the last five years into our suppliers from our closest circle. We started with partners from Cres and Lošinj, but most of them are engaged in renting apartments and there is no real agricultural production. We work with 60 family farms and have a turnover of HRK 6 million with them. We shop from food to the boards on which we present food, but that’s only five percent of everything we need", Warns Filipović. He added that it is a great challenge to bring fresh cheese and cream from Zagreb to Lošinj in the hot summer months.
Panelists agreed that it would be good for the four ministries - agriculture, economy, finance and tourism - to agree on a way to strengthen producer links and ensure a better distribution channel for their products.
Filipović's statement is interesting that most of our tourist companies are not domestically owned, which is a fact, and only the excel table of entries and exits can be seen. There are no emotions or worries about domestic products. While in Turkey, for example, all hotels are domestically owned, the Turkish airline is in the service of tourism and receives various incentives to keep the price of air transportation for customers lower, while everyone has accounts in domestic banks. With the mentioned fact that all production for tourism needs comes from the domestic market, it is a rounded circle and everything works great. And in Croatia? Quite the opposite.
We have everything, but…. In the end, I would like to quote the excellent comment of Karl Vujeva, mag. oec. from the Faculty of Economics in Zagreb, who recently told Večernji list ” Inaction is a bad excuse for ignorance, and it is quite incorrect that we do not have enough domestic intelligence and expertise. After all, failure would be better than inaction anyway. Failure at least takes courage to try"
Smart enough. It is possible, only someone needs to deal with market development, and that someone is the State through the whole system, vertically and horizontally.
And how they do it in Jadranka Group from Lošinj, he looks at the attachment, in a conversation with Goran Filipović, a member of the Management Board of Jadranka Group.