17 April 2013
Within the final stage of the FAO project "Development assistance to farmers in remote areas of Montenegro", agricultural machinery worth 280.000 USD was handed over to the seventeen farmers' associations, established within the project. Transfer of ownership over the equipment has been signed by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Petar Ivanović and FAO Field Programme Officer, Gerold Boedeker.
The project worth 6.6 million USD, funded by the Government of Luxembourgh and implemented by FAO since 2006, was aimed to help improve lives of people from the remote regions of Kosovo and Montenegro. After seven years of implementation, it resulted in a number of benefits including increased capacities and self-confidence of farmers, along with 2 to 3 times increased income of the households which participated in the project, expected to be officialy closed in July 2013.
“The project focused on supporting farmers on the North-East of Montenegro, through provision of technical assistance, equipment, support for farmers’ networks establisment, as well as through various trainings for farmers, including on improvement of animal forage production, handling new equipment, and on using new seed varieties to yield more and better quality forage crops”, said Minister of Agriculture Petar Ivanović, highlighting Government’s commitment to strengthen farmers’ long term capacities so they could “survive the European market tomorrow”.
"This is significant step towards sustainability of agricultural production and farmers’ competitiveness on the North”, said Milko Živković, President of the Farmers Union of the North. “Besides equipment, this project provided us with essential knowledge on various aspects of efficient farming, as well as so much needed enthusiasm”, he added.
Regional project included northern part of Montenegro and part of Kosovo territory. Initialy, the project included municipalities of Andrijevica, Berane, Bijelo Polje, Plav i Rožaje. As of 2009 it has been expended on four additional municipalities - Pljevlja, Zabljak, Mojkovac i Kolašin.
FAO Field Programme Officer, Gerold Boedeker emphasized particular importance of farmers’ networking and expressed hope that the project will be replicated in other regions of Montenegro. “The knowledge and the technology applied in the project will be available to other farmers in Montenegro, and I hope that they will be encouraged to develop their own businesses”, said Boedeker, expressing belief that farmers will use to the best extent the agricultural machinery they were granted.
“Agriculture in remote areas can secure not only existence, but can bring profit as well. This project is strong evidence against long standing prejudicies that modern farming is reserved for lowlands”, said Sašo Martinov, FAO Deputy Project Manager.
Establishment of a number of farmer associations and unions on the North of Montenegro, young farmers clubs paved the way for better utilization of capacities of remote areas, for more dynamic life in villages as well as for increased optimism of local population.