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”Every citizen who decide to buy a domestic product, essentially decides to support the creation of new jobs and the decision to make existing jobs safer and better paid, it’s a decision to improve the competitiveness of domestic products and, finally, it’s also a decision to grow their purchasing power.” said Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Milutin Simović, in an interview for Newspaper ”Dnevne novine.”…
Podgorica, Montenegro (5 April 2018)– ”Every citizen who decide to buy a domestic product, essentially decides to support the creation of new jobs and the decision to make existing jobs safer and better paid, it’s a decision to improve the competitiveness of domestic products and, finally, it’s also a decision to grow their purchasing power.” said Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Milutin Simović, in an interview for Newspaper ”Dnevne novine.”
1. What do you expect from the realization of the Program of promotion of domestic products and services, which you start in cooperation with the Ministry of Economy and the Chamber of Commerce?
We expect a better understanding of the importance of purchasing domestic products. Every citizen decides to buy a home product, essentially decides to support the creation of new jobs and the decision to make existing jobs safer and better paid, the decision to improve the competitiveness of domestic products, and finally, it’s also a decision to grow their purchasing power. At the same time, the decision to purchase a home product is also a decision for more funds for better education, health, culture, sports, social care. This project is an expression of partnership primarily to valuable producers and responsible representatives of the trade sector, with the participation and support of the Government and line ministries and the Chamber of Commerce.
The production unit must raise the volume of production in order to ensure the continuity of supply, to provide the required quality, modern marketing and, certainly, price competitiveness. There are already such a number in Montenegro as well as many others who are on the path to achieving these goals. This promotion program should improve their visibility and draw attention of consumers.
A encouraging message is that the partners in this project are six major trading chains. I see this as more than a clear message of partnership with producers, a message of understanding the needs of modern consumers who are increasingly looking for a product: high quality, health safety, a good connection of tradition and modern technology.
I expect, this project will develop the inclusion of the tourism sector. I am sure that we will have a positive response from the sector as well, because it will increase the attractiveness and recognizability of our offer through greater involvement of domestic, organic, autochthonous products and gastronomic specialties.
Certainly, the role of the Government is important in creating a favorable business environment, in encouraging all these sectors, in eliminating all forms of unfair competition: dumping, excessive imports, gray economy or any other type of unfair trade.I think in Montenegro we have already overcome the long-standing complex of inferiority, as the heritage of the past. There are already generations of valuable and self-confident entrepreneurs who have proven themselves in all these sectors, have won the most demanding standards and become a regional and wider example of successful businessmen.
2. So far, two quality products have been protected by the quality label. When can decisions about other products be expected to be adopted and which ones?
Yes, we have protected two products – “Pljevaljski sir” with the designation of origin and “Njeguška pršuta” with a geographical indication. There are currently two products under the protection procedure: “Crnogorska goveđa pršuta” and “Crnogorska stelja”.
With the intensive educational campaign and technical assistance of the Ministry of Agriculture, the groups of producers of these products have recognized the importance of product protection, which adds value to these products. It is a way to give significantly recognizable domestic products a significantly better market value, and a higher profit for the hosts who produce them. In addition, the recognition of the area on which the protected product is produced is enhanced. It is this link that can be valorized through tourism. This is nothing new, all of these benefits are based on the experience of European countries, which have created the systems of protecting their traditions in food production for centuries, with the goal of preserving their identity, knowledge and skills, tradition, landscape that gives a specialty in the process of globalization of markets and quality products.
It is precisely in order to have as many Montenegrin products as possible on the map of EU protected products, when we become a member, we are working intensively on the preparation of other groups of producers, all products that have the potential for protection, such as olive oil, honey, cassava leaf cheese, wine, vines brandy and others.
3. How to fix the foreign trade balance and raise the competitiveness of domestic production?
Reducing the foreign trade deficit in the agricultural sector is our long-term goal, we are committed to working and we believe that the results will not be missed.
Investments in the agricultural sector that are being implemented and increased from year to year, will contribute to modernization of agricultural production and processing, better and more economical use of available resources, increasing the quality of agricultural products. This will enable our producers, among other things, to increase their competitiveness, both in the domestic market, as well as in the regional and wider markets, especially in the big European countries, as a future member.
Better placement of domestic products in our market is certainly a priority that we want to achieve through this project. We are working on creating the conditions for the domestic product to be present, visible, available to consumers – both to our citizens and to tourists. This will contribute to the reduction of the foreign trade deficit. It is the responsibility of all of us in Montenegro – the governments, local self-governments, the economy, the citizens, the civil sector and the media.
4. How much would the association of Montenegrin producers contribute to the better placement of their products on the market?
Bearing in mind the size and structure of our farms, it is clear that association is the key to their strengthening and better positioning in the market.
In the practice of countries with developed agricultural production, numerous advantages of association have been confirmed. In addition to combining the offer and thus creating a better position in negotiating with purchasers, they can significantly reduce production costs through joint investments, use of equipment, warehouse space, mechanization, and more. In addition, united farmers will be stronger in their demands and messages towards the state. We need this – strong agricultural producers, informed, educated, organized, in order to partner and, even more successfully, work on improving their production and market position.
5. To what extent do producers use the support provided through the Agrobudget and how much does it help in better positioning on the market?
Realization of measures and support projects over the past years has shown great interest of farmers for support. We endeavored to reach the information campaign in direct contact in the field to every municipality, as well as numerous local communities – to every farmer who can be a beneficiary of support. We continue with this and when it comes to this year’s Agrobudget and the first public call for IPARD support. The bundles of presentations are confirmed by the interests and wishes of the farmers to receive support, an indicator that valuable hosts recognize the opportunity to develop their own farms, and generate more revenue for themselves and their families. I am convinced that the interest is an indication that the Government, listening to the needs of the producer, and the European path of Montenegrin agriculture, made a good move by introducing newspapers and creating new support measures, additional care for young farmers, with a significantly increased amount of Agrobudget. By reducing the support criteria, we expand the scope of users. With all activities in support of expansion of production, introduction of standards, improvement of quality, as well as harmonization with food safety standards, we expect that the results of agrarian policy will enable us to have significantly more producers who will be able to offer quality and competitive domestic markets, consumers and tourists product. With this campaign, we expect to significantly help them in the part of better placements of their domestic products.
Source: Government of Montenegro