Croatian retailer Studenac has announced it is strengthening its ties with family-run farms in the country's northeastern region of Slavonia, as part of its 'One Step Closer to Community' programme.
The proximity retailer, which boasts more than 1,200 stores across Croatia, is working with the Jabuka and Osatina associations of small farmers, through which it hopes to provide a market for their fruits and vegetables as well as boost the local economy.
'Small And Essential'
“At Studenac, our purpose is to have stores that are ‘both small and essential’ for their local communities – and we realise that small farmers are an essential part of their communities and of the country’s food supply system,” commented Marlen Mešinović, commercial director at Studenac.
“We’re proud to be able to use our nationwide reach to offer Slavonian farmers access to a greater base of consumers for their world-class products.”
The Slavonia region is known as the 'breadbasket of Croatia', due to the high level of agriculture there. Studenac has had a presence in the region since last year, when it acquired the local Lonia Trgovina store chain, part of a series of acquisitions that the group has made since it was taken over by private equity fund Enterprise Investors in 2018.
Studenac said that it plans to expand its outreach to family farmers throughout the country, developing ties with local communities throughout Croatia.
In a separate initiative, some 40 Studenac employees picked five tonnes of apples at a family-run orchard near the Slavonian town of Valpovo in late September (pictured), which Mešinović hailed as a "win-win" solution for the retailer and the communities it serves.
“Our employees get the chance to develop relationships outside the workplace, close to nature, and we also help family farmers who may be having trouble finding seasonal workers," he said.