One of the more successful stories of Croatian cattle breeding is that of selling lamb. Young lamb from Lika, Kvarner and Dalmatian islands, Dalmatian hinterland, regularly found its market in restaurants and shops of more active tourist areas. Although the market is full of foreign lamb, mostly from Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Romania, domestic lamb has its own special aroma and recognition. How many times have we wondered whether Pag or Cres lamb is better, regularly enjoying any dish made with this resistant species!
Uncertainty about selling lambs is bigger this year than ever before. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, it is unclear when restaurants and hotels will open, and it is difficult for private customers to buy an entire lamb. Easter is usually the time when large number of lambs are sold for the first time, as lamb dishes are traditionally cooked in Croatia. This symbol of the lamb of God, sacrificed yet so pure - Agnus Dei - is in the deep heritage of many Christian nations of the world, and the biblical story of Abraham, Isaac, and the sacrificed ram further links all Abrahamic religions into one.
Manufacturers are now worried about the recession, not so much because of the virus pandemic. Few will opt for increased spending, and unsold lambs will give additional headaches to livestock farmers who will have to feed larger herds in the coming winter. According to the Croatian Agriculture and Food Agency, which says that there are about 60,000 sheep in the area of Lika, Dalmatinska Zagora and Gorski Kotar, around one hundred thousand lambs are on the market this spring.
In Dalmatia, there is a lot of thought about donating lamb to various vulnerable groups of society, which speaks not only to the great sheep soul but also to ways to reduce costs. This is especially true of Ravne kotari and Bukovica, which are the leading regions in sheep farming. In Dalmatia, it is drought, there has been no rain for a long time, the karst is depleted of aromatic herbs, and more wolves and jumps have appeared, doing damage to the herd. Other sheep farmers in Lika and Gorski Kotar sell quarters of lamb and develop their own deliveries.
Solidarity with sheep herders is now a major solution. All things can be agreed, sales can go in smaller quantities, and both buyers and manufacturers will be pleased. In times of such crisis, the strength of the local livestock breeder and the innovativeness of the sales channels are visible, so we hope that everyone at the tables will enjoy the fruits of their work!