UNDP in Zadar presented the book Traditional varieties and breeds of Dalmatia

Apr 27, 2015

PHOTO: The cover of Traditional varieties and breeds of Dalmatia

Zadar, 27 April 2015
– The publication Traditional varieties and breeds of Dalmatia presented today in Zadar represents the first comprehensive inventory of agricultural biodiversity of Dalmatia, its traditional plant species, varieties and breeds that have economic value and have been proved to be very important for the life of the people in this area over the centuries.

Big sized, with plenty of photographs on its 600 pages, the book is almost of encyclopedic range, and is intended for experts in the fields of agriculture, rural and sustainable development, farmers and all in love with Dalmatia. 

The book was designed as part of the COAST project, which in the period from 2006 to 2013, was conducted by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and in cooperation with the Ministry of Environmental and Nature Protection. The aim of the project was to promote green rural development of Dalmatia based on local resources, traditions and environmental protection, and was implemented with financial support from the Global Environment Facility (GEF). 

"The results achieved through the COAST project showed that green business has a positive impact on the state of biodiversity and can be an opportunity for economic development of rural areas of Dalmatia. Through programs of promoting green business projects worth nearly HRK 200 million were carried out, and the most common themes were organic farming, cultivation of native varieties and breeds, agricultural and agro-tourism, and adventure tourism and shellfish, said Hrvoje Dokoza, Deputy Minister of Environmental and Nature Protection, at the book presentation. 

During the COAST project about 100 green jobs were created, with an emphasis on sustainable development and creating better opportunities for local farmers in order to slowly outgrow the emigration and cultivation of all those features that make Dalmatia unique and recognizable beyond the Croatian borders. 

„For a region blessed with hundreds of kilometres of coastline and crystal-clear Adriatic waters, 'green business' is also viewed as a more durable alternative to 'sun and fun' as major tourist attractions. This comprehensive catalogue of native varieties and breeds is one of the steps towards green development of Dalmatia,“ said Louisa Vinton, UNDP Resident Representative in Croatia from 2010 to 2014 who also attended the book presentation.

Dalmatia has no chance and no need of taking part in the global market competition of agricultural products and industrially produced food. Its great opportunity is in creating its own economic niche through ecological cultivation and the production of authentic, traditional, distinctive agricultural products, which hardly even need exporting and can be sold through domestic consumption and the tourist industry.

The Analysis of green development options for rural Dalmatia demonstrate the potential for creating between 8,000 and 10,000 new working places in the real sector – ecological agriculture, agro-tourism and aquaculture, while the expected contribution to the growth of BDP of Dalmatia is 3 to 4 %.

An extra motive to take this development potential seriously is the fact that Croatia has the opportunity to use funds from the EU for encouraging rural development. Croatia will have 300 million euros annually from the most important fund, the European agricultural fund for rural development (EAFRD), at its disposal.

"I am pleased to say that there is an increasing number of those who are trying to live on the land of their ancestors while doing traditional activities, but also introducing innovation. Great potential exists in this area for the development of rural tourism and I hope that the number of those who take advantage of the support provided will grow," stressed Zadar County Prefect Stipe Zrilić.

The authors of the publication are renowned Croatian scientists in the field of agronomy and biological sciences: Roman Ozimec, Francis Strikić, Jasminka Karoglan Kontić, Edi Maletić and Zdravko Matotan. Editors are Snježana Mihinica and Roman Ozimec.

The book was published with the support of the State Institute for Nature Protection, the Public Institution "Krka National Park", Zadar County, the Public Institution ReraSD for the coordination and development of the Split-Dalmatia County and the Dubrovnik-Neretva County.