Croatia - Policy support to HNV Farming
In Croatia, the pre-accession agricultural policy support is completely focused on big intensive farms: In 2009, 1% of the farmers receive 40% of the subsidies with an average payment of 320 Euro/ha (Karoglan, 2011). HNV farming, on the other hand, receives no targeted public policy support. It thus faces a continuous decline in the number of farmers and a resulting loss of traditional land management practices such as hand mowing and traditional hay making, extensive grazing on common pastures, small scale mosaic cropping, etc.
In 2011, the new Law on State Support for Agriculture and Rural Development, in compliance with the EU requirements, introduces a flat basic payment for arable land at 274 Euro/ha and for pastures and meadows at 94 Euro/ha. It also specifies that the support to Less Favourable Areas (LFAs), defined as mountainous areas and islands and other LFAs, would be provided on an area basis. Until then, support in LFAs is provided by a higher unit value of some of the regular subsidies.
Very recently, in November 2011, another piece of national legislation is introduced aimed at maintenance of common pastures. The ordinance regulates the lease of state-owned land for common grazing to grazing communities for a period of 20 years. Grazing communities have to register as co-operatives in the local government unit where the pasture is located. Each grazing community must have a management plan for the common pasture.
National support is also provided to autochthonous breeds of farm animals and organic farming, including for grasslands. The headage payment for autochthonous and protected breeds is ongoing since 1994. As a result, the number of animals of almost all supported breeds has increased significantly. Additionally, it played an important role for the maintenance of HNV farming, especially on islands and in coastal areas (Karoglan, 2011)