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Boosting Montenegro’s food industry: Addressing the import-export disparity

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Milutin Đuranović, head of the Association Committee for Food and Agricultural Industry within Montenegro’s Chamber of Economy (PKCG), has drawn attention to a significant disparity between food imports and exports in the country. He emphasizes the urgent need to fortify and promote the market position of domestic products, particularly within Montenegro’s food industry.

Đuranović highlights a striking statistic: food imports surpass exports by a staggering factor of 16. Despite the implementation of various measures, the outcomes have fallen short of expectations. These figures underscore the pressing need for action.

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The Montenegrin government possesses several tools to address this issue, including the Agrobudget and strategies to enhance the competitiveness of domestic products. However, Đuranović stresses that these efforts must be systematic, continuous, and robust to yield significant results.

For instance, Đuranović points out that Montenegro’s food imports exceed 700 million euros, with total food and beverage imports surpassing 900 million euros. This trend not only contributes to inflation but also signifies a notable increase in foreign dependency for essential food items.

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Đuranović proposes a compelling solution: if each consumer allocated just one additional euro to purchase locally-produced goods, food imports could decrease by a substantial 237 million euros, equating to a quarter of the current import volume. Moreover, a complete shift to domestic products could reduce imports by a third.

The economic implications are clear: when consumers opt for imports, 80% of their spending exits the Montenegrin economy. Conversely, supporting domestic products ensures that 80% of expenditures remain within the country, fostering economic stability and growth.

Addressing concerns about land degradation and urban sprawl, Đuranović advocates for legislative measures to protect agricultural land from commercial development. He emphasizes the vital role of rural investment in sustaining food production and securing the nation’s agricultural future.

Consumer awareness is key. Đuranović urges politicians, government officials, and citizens to actively promote and purchase domestic goods. Furthermore, he calls on trade companies to prioritize local products, thereby bolstering their presence in the market.

Đuranović also discusses the challenges facing the dairy industry, highlighting the need for substantial investments, ongoing maintenance, and narrow profit margins. He underscores the importance of increased government support for agriculture, viewing it as an investment rather than a mere expense.

In conclusion, Đuranović urges concerted efforts to strengthen Montenegro’s domestic production capabilities. By prioritizing local products and investing in agricultural sustainability, Montenegro can reduce its dependency on imports and foster economic resilience and prosperity.

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