Croatia can be divided into three geographic and climatic zones: the lowland zone in the north of the country, which has a continental climate, the Mediterranean coastal zone in the south, and the mountainous zone stretching across the central part of the country. Various types of climate, relief and soil are favourable for the production of a wide range of agricultural products, from field and industrial crops to vineyards, continental and Mediterranean fruits and vegetables. Agriculture and fishing generate 8.1% of Croatian GDP.
Of a total of 3.15 million hectares of agricultural land, 63.4% is cultivated and the rest is pasture land. 83.3% of the cultivated land is privately owned. The Agricultural Land Act regulates concessions for the exploitation of agricultural land owned by the state. Farming covers domestic needs for cereals and sugar, as well as industrial crops to a large extent. The total area used for vineyards amounts to 59,000 hectares. Wine production is represented by 30 larger winemaking companies, 35 production co-operatives and about 250 family businesses. Wines made of indigenous grape varieties are becoming increasingly popular on the European and world markets.
Cattle-raising has always played an important role in this region. Some world famous products are slavonski kulen (famous Slavonian salami), dalmatinski pršut (Dalmatian smoked ham), istarski pršut (Istrian smoked ham) and paški sir (cheese from the Island of Pag). Fishing and fish processing have traditionally been the most important activities along the coastal part of Croatia and on the islands. There are currently 15 fish-processing factories in Croatia, which produce 15,000 tonnes of various fish products per year. The 2000 output of fresh-water fish amounted to about 4,800 tonnes, and salt-water fish and other sea food to about 24,000 tonnes. A new production line, tuna breeding for the Japanese market, was launched in 1997. Large quantities of fish are exported.
Of a total of 1.96 million hectares of the Croatian forests and woodland areas, 80% are state owned and the rest are in private hands. Conifers make up 13 per cent of the forests, while oak and beech are among the more important broad-leafed species. The production of food, beverages and tobacco generates 20.2% of Croatian GDP. The Croatian food industry includes some of the most successful Croatian companies: 12 out of the 50 Croatian companies with the highest revenues in 2000 are producers of food, beverages and tobacco. The major export products of these companies are: Vegeta (food seasoning), biscuits and wafers, chocolate, canned fish, soups, olive oil, cigarettes, beer and alcoholic beverages.
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