ZAGREB, Oct 13 (Croatia Sun News) – On Saturday the manufacturer Nase Klasje inaugurated a new plant for producing fresh pasta near Zapresic, just west of Zagreb. Over HRK 38 million has been invested in the factory so far, with HRK 15 million in co-financing from the European Regional Development Fund.
Inaugurating the 3,000+ square metre plant, Deputy Prime Minister Davor Bozinovic said this investment was an example of good synergy between entrepreneurs and local government, and that it was in line with the government’s policy of partnership with local government.
“It’s important to create conditions so that companies like Nase Klasje can progress and expand production. It’s the only way we can move forward, create new values and connect innovation, knowledge and tradition,” he said.
Nase Klasje owner and director Zoran Simunic said the company’s goal was to boost exports. Over the past seven years, the company has been exporting over 35% of its product and the goal is to surpass 50%. The company exports to ten countries, from Greece to Germany, and a contract was signed last week to export to Sweden.
Simunic told reporters Croatia still did not produce enough pasta and that import was considerable, although it dropped from 94% in 2000 to 50% in 2009, despite a constant rise in consumption.
Croatian Chamber of Commerce president Luka Burilovic said the food industry accounted for the highest share in total employment and GDP, and that agricultural and food products accounted for 14% of commodity exports last year.
Over the past 20 years, pasta production in Croatia has faced increased competition due to the liberalisation of the market, which prompted some companies, including Nase Klasje, to see this market openness as an opportunity and invest in new plants to increase production and exports.
Nase Klasje employs 40 people and plans to hire another 12. It was established in 2001 as a greenfield investment in food production.
(€1 = HRK 7.4)