Bizarre story about HDZ’s ajvar and official beekeeping jars for honey

Freepik/@ svetlana_cherruty

Original article (in Croatian) was published on 15/09/2022

Marin Miletic called out HDZ for selling ajvar in jars that should only be available to Croatian beekeepers. It sounds bizarre, but it’s true.

Marin Miletic, Member of Parliament from Most, asked on Facebook whether HDZ had stolen honey jars from the Croatian Beekeeping Association. Although the story may sound funny at first glance, Miletic’s name-calling is not without basis. However, there is no evidence that HDZ stole the jars, as the Most representative suggests.

“HDZ’s thievery goes to such an impudence that they use official beekeeping jars and fill them with ajvar, then stick HDZ labels and sell it. HDZ is such a machinery of evil sorcerers who, using their dark magic, turn something as holy and good as honey into HDZ’s ajvar. Or is it that the Croatian Beekeeping Association (HPS) is a branch of HDZ, so HPS sells them beekeeping jars for honey? I don’t want to believe this, it’s easier for me to accept that the HDZ members stole jars from the HPS!”, wrote the representative of Most.

Namely, as the web portal announced on September 13, HDZ participated in the event called “Micina ajvarijada” held in Slavonski Brod, where members of the local branch of HDZ presented their own homemade ajvar. Information about HDZ’s production of ajvar can also be found on the website of HDZ of Brod-Posavina County. “Micina ajvarijada” is a humanitarian event organized by HDZ and is held in memory of their deceased member Milan Dasovic.

However, as Miletic rightly points out, HDZ’s ajvar is packed in jars that should contain honey. The Croatian Beekeeping Association does have an official honey jar that can be purchased exclusively by beekeepers. You can easily see this on their website, where a special section is dedicated to the so-called national jars.

“Yes, these in the photo are national honey jars of 580 ml”, confirmed Drazen Kocet, president of the Croatian Beekeeping Association, in response to our inquiry.

“The Croatian Beekeeping Association does not have an organized sale of the national jar in the store. The Association has a contract with the distributor of the jar ‘Agronom Pozega’, which sells it according to the contract concluded with the Association. Only beekeepers registered in the records of beekeepers and apiaries have the right to purchase a jar. The Croatian Beekeeping Association also made it possible for those beekeepers who are not members of HPS to purchase a jar when the project itself was launched. It is a project jointly managed by HPS and the Ministry of Agriculture, which from the very beginning participated financially in the purchase of a certain part of 4 molds for the production of the national jar”, explains Kocet.

However, the president of the Croatian Beekeeping Association cannot explain how their “national jars” ended up with HDZ members who filled them with ajvar instead of honey. Namely, there are several different ways HDZ could have gotten these jars.

“It is possible that the jars were bought by a beekeeper who gave them to be used for these purposes. It is also possible that the jars were collected from honey buyers, which HPS has no insight into. However, we must also mention the problem with the distributor who ordered 200,000 jars in 2018 with a volume of 580 ml, which was not accepted by beekeepers and, in fact, there was no interest in buying it. On several occasions, there were attempts to find a solution for the beekeepers to buy those jars under extremely favorable conditions because it was causing the distributor a storage cost problem,. At one point, the distributor puts the jar on the market against the contract that was made with them. We reacted to this and on August 30, 2022, we held a meeting with the distributor and reported this to the Ministry of Agriculture, to find a solution. It is possible that these are precisely those jars that at one point were available on the market for sale to other citizens”, says the president of the Croatian Beekeeping Association.

HDZ of Brod-Posavina County responded to our previous inquiry a day after the publication of this article. They say that the jars were donated to them by Stjepan Aracic, vice-president of the Zrinski Beekeepers’ Association from Slavonski Brod and former president of the Basic Branch of the HDZ “dr. Ante Starcevic”.

“What is extremely important to say is that the national jars from the Croatian Beekeeping Association were not used for packing ajvar at this event, but jars that did not meet the criteria due to slightly poor quality and did not pass the tender of the Croatian Beekeeping Association. Because of this, these jars are available for purchase by all citizens. The specific jars were purchased at the Agronom store in Bukovlje, and they are TO82-typee jars of 580 ml, and had cost HRK 1.89. We also emphasize that ajvar was not sold, as was clumsily stated in some media, but was the subject of collecting donations in exchange for which our members could leave a voluntary contribution”, HDZ said.