Jadranka Klisovic, ‘Hrvatska nakon 100 godina otkrila masline!’, 

Vjesnik, November 26, 1999. 

FOLLOWING 100 YEARS CROATIA DISCOVERS OLIVES!

SIBENIK - Following decades of neglect, the olive industry has significantly advanced over the past years and if there are more favourable state incentives, investment in raw materials and added education of olive growers, that agricultural branch will achieve exceptionally good results, claims Davorin Pamic, Superintendent at the County Centre for Agricultural-Advisory Services in Sibenik. The quality of Croatian olive oil is unquestionable, primarily due to the terrain and favourable climate. As opposed to Italy, which had as much as 70 percent of 100 million olive trees in thick mud and 30 percent in rocky terrain, in Croatia the statistics are opposite, which is considerably more favourable.

100 years ago, Croatia had about 15 million trees, while now it has only about 4.5 million, only half of which are thoroughly processed. Davorin Pamic offers depopulation on the islands, the development of industry and not-initiating production over the past decades as the reasons for the reduction in the number of olive trees. Currently, only trees which are accessible by vehicles are processed, while the remainder are neglected.

The trend in the increase of production of olive oil globally was felt in 1989, when at the World Nutritionist Congress the healing characteristics of olive oil was advocated, which the organism most quickly and easily digests, while its healing powers for heart disease and the blood vessel system has also been proven. It also increases the immunity capabilities of the organism.

The war has also contributed to people recognising that they can extract considerable profit from olives. In the past years many households have begun planting new olive tress and processing old and neglected olive trees, which means that oil factories have now begun working round the clock. Unfortunately, poor stimulative measures, claims Pamic, will soon lead to the artificial lack of olive oil, because oil factories are paying only HRK 28.50 for a relatively high quality kilogram of oil, which is too low. That is why olive workers are storing oil rather than selling it at that price.

The Italian state budget subsidises a kilogram of oil with LIT 1000. As opposed to Croatia, buy-off prices are also guaranteed in Italy. According to Pamic’s opinion, olive oil should be better subsidised and included in the state’s goods reserves. Apart from that, Croatia should, similarly to Denmark, declare a certain number of products which would be known world-wide, which in Croatia should be high quality olive oil, high quality wine, smoked ham and sheep cheese.

Unfortunately, in Croatia there is too little expenditure on olive oil: annually only half a litre per person. In comparison, every Italian on average uses 12 litres, while Greeks use 20 litres… Evidently Croatia needs much more of that oil than it produces, because otherwise they would not be importing it every year. E.g. in 1990 Croatia imported more than 10 000 hectolitres, while in 1994 about 5 000 hectolitres. Insofar as Croatian olive workers do not want to unfavourably sell their oil to oil factories, oil will most probably also be imported next year. Otherwise, more than 800 million olive trees are cultivated world-wide, with about 786 million in the Mediterranean circle alone. Pamic also warned about the too larger number of oil factories and the constant opening of new ones, because it is obvious that the current production does not guarantee profitability.


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