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September 2004

ICT needs for improved agriculture in Croatia

Published by the FAO Regional Office for Europe

An FAO commissioned study of: ‘Needs Assessment for Information and Communication Capacity Building for Improved Agriculture in three East European Countries: Romania, Croatia and T.F.Y.R. of Macedonia’ – conducted by G.C. Holt, University of Reading, UK – assessed information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure and application for agricultural research in five Croatian agricultural organizations and their partners.

Croatia’s agricultural development has been strongly effected not only by the structural changes following the break-up of the former Republic of Yugoslavia (50 percent or land was farmed by large heavily subsidized, vertically integrated agricultural holdings), but also by demographic changes after the war (high rate of absentee land ownership). The three major agro-ecological zones differ largely in crops and access to markets, but all producers in all regions have access to a very high level of direct subsidies. The large number of very small holdings (averaging approx. 2.5 ha) make outreach for technical assistance and economically feasible production difficult. A well equipped extension service attempts to provide specialized assistance also in agrotourism, and organic and traditional production.

Farmers tend to join associations or cooperatives to receive benefits, but are less inclined to use cooperative marketing strength due to deeply rooted mistrust and fear of being cheated. Old established universities are rebuilding, restructuring and reorienting, but much of the research programmes are still oriented towards large scale farming and crops like wheat and maize.

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