Turistička zajednica grad Metković

Modern improvements

The life of the Neretva farmer was hard but also beau­tiful and fulfilling, in concord with the rules of the river and led with measure and wisdom, mindful of the balance between nature and man.

Neretva man, while under­taking the first primitive im­provements and at same time hunting, fishing, sowing and harvesting, did not substantially change anything in the charac­ter of the area. He respected the nature of the swamp and tamed, through great toil and hard work, only a small arable area until the mid 20th century. The area of land turned to agriculture increased after the first real systematic improve­ments in the second half of the 20th century and changed the balance of the region, disturb­ing the established harmony. It introduced a new method of parcelling land leading to a polder landscape (fertile plots of land contained by dams and irrigation channels) and the cul­tivation of the Neretva swamps had many advantages involving intensive agricultural produc­tion.

New technologies increased trade and one of the most valuable crops was mandarins, where the valley of the Nere­tva was the most northern point where they could be profitably grown. Many varieties of peach, nectarine, plumb, apricot, apple, etc. were intensively grown. All sorts of vegetables (the most popular are different varieties of cabbage) are now produced in the upper parts of the valley, where mandarins do not grow so well due to the lower winter temperatures.

The delta had kept some of its original character despite these dramatic changes and its protection, together with that of the wilder reaches of the val­ley will increasingly become a feature of how the valley is managed. The Neretva fanner of today is ecologically con­scious and will plan his future around sustainable development and the preservation of natural habitats.

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