Montenegrin potential in Quality and Consumer Health Policy

Montenegro has significant potential in the production of higher quality products, but it is still underused. It is necessary to encourage agricultural producers to improve and standardize product quality and thus become more competitive in the domestic and foreign markets. Incentives to raise product quality and establish schemes to achieve higher standards, especially by linking primary production and processing, can significantly increase the possibilities of marketing agri-food products on the domestic market, especially through tourism. This is possible by introducing food quality and safety systems, and by assisting the involvement and preparation of producers for registered quality schemes. This type of support needs to be provided continuously both before and after EU accession.

Through the measures of the Agro-Budget, the Ministry supports informative and promotional activities, which indicate the specifics of products in terms of their quality. The promotion should be based primarily on consumer interest in quality, traditional food, and authentic Montenegrin products, so the best marketing channel is tourism. The offer of quality food is very important in that sense, tourists are looking for traditional, authentic Montenegrin products.

Given that small family farms predominate in Montenegro, usually limited by hilly and mountainous terrain, high quality food products are a key point of competitiveness of the agricultural sector. Despite the significant potential of geographical indications, this sector is still underdeveloped and producers do not use geographical indications to gain a competitive advantage. A key challenge for manufacturers is to gain knowledge and experience of procedures for geographical indications and work in associations.

The national market is characterized by small size and lack of consumer awareness of geographical indications of food products. A planned and long-term campaign on the national market to increase consumer awareness is significant. Montenegro has well-known traditional products and significant emigration to the EU and around the world. This represents the potential for exporting products with a geographical indication of origin. So far, most traditional products have been exported illegally because a ban on the export of most animal products to the EU is in force. In order to explore this rich export potential, it is necessary to support traditional processors of famous products through education and investments in order to obtain an export number for the EU. Support for registration at national and EU level will be useful for known traditional products.

What is evident is the lack of knowledge among farmers about the advantages and principles of the geographical indication system. In addition, there is a low level of consumer awareness of geographical indications. Therefore, policy support to improve farmers’ knowledge and consumer awareness would be very useful. The national market is very small and is further constrained by the lack of consumer focus on food products with a geographical indication of origin. A well-planned longterm campaign at the national level is important to increase consumer awareness of geographical indications of origin. Montenegro has well-known and recognizable traditional products among the former Yugoslav republics, as well as a significant number of emigrants to the EU and around the world. So far, Montenegro has not registered any product with a geographical indication of origin at the EU level. Both internal and external support for the registration of known traditional products at national and EU level would be useful. Both Montenegrin and EU legislation allow for cross-border registration, but there are no procedures between neighboring countries that would allow for cross-border registration of products with a geographical indication of origin and additional production opportunities for a larger number of small farmers

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Extracted and reworked from the document: “Report on BPs on quality schemes and consumer Health in Montenegro”. The report is one of the deliverables under the activity ” Exchange and knowledge transferring of Best practices on quality schemes and consumer health ”   WPT1  ”Improving the coss-border framework conditions for the valorization of the agri-food and fisheries value-chain” .

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