Final document of the first Mediterranean Agricultural Forum - AGROMED

The first Mediterranean Agricultural Forum (AGROMED) was held in Split on July 2, 2021, organized by the Institute for European and Globalization Policies and co-organized by the Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Croatia.
Croatian agricultural food production represents 30% of the average level of the European Union and contributes with only 7.2% in Croatian GDP. We are at the top in terms of the number of protected products in the EU, and many of them are from the Mediterranean climate. Nevertheless, the new social paradigm, created by the Covid-19 pandemic, asks for a rethinking of sustainable agricultural policies and development, in line with the European Green Plan and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs 2030). For Croatia, this is a challenge given that it is a country of continental and Mediterranean climate.
The Mediterranean is a common living space of the peoples and cultures of the Middle East, North Africa, and Southern Europe with special emphasis on agricultural crops, such as grapes, figs, olives, olive oil, fisheries, livestock.
It is also an area of common agricultural challenges such as climate change, pandemics, economic crises. At the same time, institutional approaches must include small and medium-sized agricultural holdings, as is regionally done by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Albania, Turkey, and Egypt.
The Mediterranean is a space of common identity in whose cultivated landscape the common eco-region is reflected, with its sub-regional specifics, hence the idea of the need for self-sustainability of the Mediterranean agricultural area. It requires state and institutional support through the promotion and common image of the Mediterranean. The product itself has its own history, local importance and production process that is fair, clean, and recognizable. The influence of the academic community and NGOs is crucial here, as is the case with Slow Food International and the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Italy.
Mediterranean is a brand that contains many agricultural products. In the Croatian Mediterranean micro-region, branding is just beginning to develop based on learning and avoiding past mistakes in the future. As a tourist force in the Mediterranean, Croatia is at a turning point in breaking through with its branded products, in which the synergy of the Associations, ideas, promotional agencies, Universities, the Croatian Chamber of Commerce and the Ministry of Agriculture is important.
In this synergy, the most important are regional producer organizations, such as the Associations of Vino Dalmacija and Vinistra in the Croatian Mediterranean and the association Graševina Croatica and Bregovita Hrvatska in the continental area. The work done by Vinistra best showed the power of such actions.
The Mediterranean is an area of lasting challenges, which are also felt in Croatia. Land policy, the issue of water management, underdeveloped awareness of producer associations, depopulation of rural areas, transfer of knowledge about production and more intensive involvement of Universities and scientific institutes in real production and the position of farmers in relation to other occupations is of special importance for preservation and progress of agricultural production in coastal (Mediterranean) Croatia.
Here Croatia faces a series of difficulties such as neglected agricultural land (for which fees should be introduced), as well as the constant reduction of cultivated areas. If Croatia wants to be known, for example, for olive oil, it needs the required large quantities, and history tells us how much olive growing was developed fifty years ago compared to today, when Croatia is on the verge of becoming an olive power.
Written by:
Vedran Obućina

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