ZAGREB, 16 March 2022 – Agriculture Minister Marija Vučković on Wednesday presented a new land consolidation bill aimed at facilitating the integration of small irregular plots into larger and more regular plots as preconditions increasing production, cultivating land and modernizing local infrastructure.
Money set aside to enforce the law will consolidate 18,000 hectares, but there is interest in consolidating more, the minister told parliament.
Twenty-three local units interested in consolidating 46,600 hectares responded to the ministry’s call for applications last October, she told Independent MP Marijana Petir, who asked if the consolidation funds could be increased with interest.
HRK 313 million has been set aside for land consolidation until 2026, including HRK 263 million from the EU Recovery and Resilience Facility and HRK 50 million from national funds.
According to the bill, consolidated land cannot be divided for 99 years, the minister told Luka Brčić of the ruling HDZ, who asked whether Croatia was considering preventing a further division of inherited land.
Land consolidation is of strategic interest for Croatia, the minister said, rejecting claims by Bridge MPs that the new law would be unworkable and that everything was transferred to local government units.
Vučković dismissed as incorrect the claims of Bridge MP Miro Bulj that 700,000 hectares of land were uncultivated.
Advocating for the minister, Stipan Šašlin from HDZ asked Bulj why he didn’t do in Sinjsko Polje what the municipality of Draž in Baranja did by consolidating more than 800 hectares of land and building an irrigation system of HRK 25 million.
Selling land to foreigners will mean ‘game over’, says Beljak
Krešo Beljak of the opposition Croatian Peasant Party said allowing foreigners to buy land would mean “game over” for Croatian farmers and agriculture.
The law will be unworkable due to numerous obstacles, ranging from unresolved property rights relationships to cadastre, the opposition said.
Processes should be simplified and faster, said Ružica Vukovac of For a Just Croatia, adding that the land had not been consolidated for 30 years.
Anja Šimpraga, from the ruling coalition’s SDSS, said the bill offered a new approach and was a huge step forward.
Ljubomir Kolarek (HDZ) said the new law would reclaim agricultural land that is little or not used because it is unconsolidated.
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