Along with Turkey and Italy, Croatian hazelnuts are considered among the best and most sought after in the world for chocolates, especially the long native Istrian variety.
Harvesting of hazelnuts is currently underway in Croatia. Yields are about 30 percent lower this year due to frost and hail, but the quality is good.
Croatia has to import around 1000 tonnes of shelled hazelnuts to meet its needs. This shows that there is plenty of space to plant new plantations and that there are plans to plant 140 hectares of new plantations with EU funds. The new planting should be completed in the spring.
Prices are dictated by Italy and Turkey
The yield this year is much lower than last year and the production costs per hectare, due to more frequent protection, are up to 2,500 kuna higher. The purchase prices of hazelnuts on the stock market are dictated by fruit powers like Italy and Turkey. It is now around 5.5 euros per kilogram.
PP Orahovica has already started the purchase, Josip Tokić recount THS. With the subcontractors, he adds, they have been cooperating for a long time and know they will get a good price for their nuts. They estimate that they will put just over 1000 tonnes on the market this year. And first-class raw hazelnuts on top of that.
Most will go to Ferrero, the famous Italian manufacturer of chocolate and confectionery products like Nutella and Ferrero rocher. Ferrero is the second largest chocolate producer and confectionery company in the world.
Pavle Bijuklija from PP Orahovica says that the fact that Croatia has to import large quantities of hazelnuts shows that there is a lot of room for new orchards.
Valentin Falamić de Rakitovica plans to grow 8-10 hectares of hazelnut plantations, with the help of EU money. As PP Orahovica is the largest nursery, it has already supplied certified planting material of Istrian long hazelnuts. Everyone sees a future in this production.
Croatia exports hazelnuts and imports expensive hazelnut spread
Everything that Croatian producers produce, they export. Raw, in their shell or processed hazelnuts for chocolates and desserts. Neither buyers nor producers, most of whom are around Orahovica and Donji Miholjac, are happy that the the national confectionery industry is importing again.
It would be much better if the hazelnut crop was processed immediately in Croatia. That is why PP Orahovica announced the construction of a factory in order to bring to market the finished product – toasted chopped hazelnuts and hazelnut flour and spread.
“Without the support of the EU, it will be difficult. The problem is the tenders that haven’t been advertised for big projects like this for a long time, so we’re still in an absurd situation. Our raw material is processed in Italy, from where we then import expensive spreads and roasted hazelnuts for national confectioners. And all this makes national production, which is already fragile, very expensive ”, THS reported.