Linking local farmers to the global food market

The EBRD is helping to introduce Geographical Indications among Croatian food producers.

Croatia has a rich culinary tradition and is home to a number of speciality dishes that are typically produced by small-scale farmers.

Products such as Baranski Kulen, a pork and paprika sausage from Baranya, and mandarins grown in the specific soil conditions of the Neretva valley, are famous in the region for their exceptional quality.

To help local producers increase their products’ export potential and enter the global food markets, the EBRD has been promoting the use of Geographical Indications (GIs), which distinguish products based on certain characteristics attributable to their place of origin and traditional method of production.

Training local producers

In 2011, the EBRD together with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the Croatian Ministry of Agriculture, several small-scale producers and Agrokor (the largest Croatian agribusiness group) launched a technical cooperation programme funded by the EBRD Shareholder Special Fund. The programme aims to introduce the use of GIs in the origin-linked food sector. Local producers participated in tours of established GI-registered industries in Italy to learn about the financial and marketing benefits of using the label. The programme included training on food safety, quality standards and the GI registration process, as well as training for the Ministry of Agriculture on establishing a GI certifying commission. The project also produced guidelines to assist private and public stakeholders to develop GIs.

Guaranteed local food products

As a result, 2012 saw Baranski Kulen registered to the GI scheme and the Neretva mandarin submitted for registration, enabling local farmers to capitalise on their know-how and helping the Croatian government become a leader in GI development for the region. Soon, traditional Croatian products will join the ranks of Parma ham, Roquefort cheese and other delicacies exciting taste buds across the world.