World Bank re-engages with Croatia’s agricultural sector

The Croatian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Agriculture, Tomislav Tolušić and the World Bank Country Manager for Croatia and Slovenia, Elisabetta Capannelli, have agreed on a technical assistance agreement to support the Ministry of Agriculture in increasing its capacity for evidence-based strategic planning, implementation and monitoring in agriculture, fisheries and rural development to further develop Croatia’s agri-food system to respond to the changing demand for food in domestic and international markets.

This will be achieved by providing strategic advisory support to the ministry in developing a National Agriculture and Rural Development Strategy (NARDS) and a Multiannual Fisheries Development Plan (MFDP) for the period post-2020, in accordance with the reforms in the European Union’s (EU) Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) and in establishing effective implementation mechanisms. The activities under this two-year technical assistance will also assist the Ministry of Agriculture with improving the targeting and use of financial resources to complete the structural transformation of Croatia’s agri-food system.

“The implementation of agriculture and fisheries reforms are underway,” said Mr Tolušić. “We have launched tenders for a large number of measures under the Rural Development Programme and next month we are planning to provide highest ever amounts of advance payments for direct payments. We are quickly resolving current challenges and planning new opportunities to create the conditions for sustainable development of our agriculture sector and open new markets for of our farmers’ produce.  This agreement will enable quicker transformation of agriculture and fisheries into a strong and sustainable sector that will be the engine of Croatia’s economic progress.  What we do and work for today is a legacy we pass onto the future generations – that it is possible to make a living from honest work on Croatian land and sea.”

“Croatia has a vast potential to further develop its agri-food system, modernize and transform agriculture, create better rural jobs and income, improve livelihoods and increase the overall productivity and competitiveness of the sector. Effectively aligning national policy and regulatory frameworks to these challenges and opportunities while also abiding by the new policy directions of the EU CAP and CFP requires a careful assessment of country needs, coherent and evidence-based strategic planning for sector development and a rethinking of public and private sector roles in the implementation of strategic priorities. Together with the Ministry of Agriculture we look forward to a successful implementation of this work,” added Ms Capannelli.

Since joining the World Bank Group in 1993, Croatia has benefited from the World Bank’s financial and technical assistance, policy advice, and analytical services. To date, the World Bank has supported more than 50 operations amounting to around 3.5 billion US dollars. The Bank’s current engagement focuses on transport, health, innovation, business environment, land administration, economic development of the Slavonia region and support for the preparation of the National Development Strategy. This will be the first engagement in the agricultural sector in recent years.