Two-day conference on food industry and tourism opens in Opatija

OPATIJA, 7.3.2013.

Agriculture Minister Tihomir Jakovina in Opatija on Thursday opened a two-day conference on challenges and opportunities facing the Croatian food and tourism industries ahead of the country's accession to the European Union.

Jakovina said that the food industry was showing positive results and that without a strong food industry agricultural production had weak prospects.

Responding to questions from the press, Jakovina said that Croatia had not taken full advantage of its access to the EU market and had not used its potential for a greater presence on third markets either.

The ministry and the Croatian Bank for Reconstruction and Development should take further steps to help in that regard and business diplomacy should also do its part of the job, he said.

Speaking of state aid, Jakovina said that the rural development programme, which is being developed, would provide nearly 333 million euros annually, adding that all good projects concerning primary production and processing would be able to find funding in that programme.

Commenting on the planned reduction of Value Added Tax on certain products, the minister said that it was a package worth about 2.5 billion kuna and that talks would begin to see what products the measure would apply to.

Jakovina said that the action plan for dealing with the problem of milk with higher than prescribed levels of aflatoxins was showing good results and that samples would be taken on all contaminated farms on Friday to see the effects of substitute food. He said that the situation on those farms would be known by the end of the week.

When asked about the number of those farms, he said that there were about 600 of them, which accounts for about 5-6% of primary milk production in the country. (Hina)