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The potential of organic production is not fully utilized – In ten years, the number of producers in Montenegro has tripled

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Montenegro’s potential in the organic agriculture sector has not been fully exploited, despite the increased development in this area after the enactment of the first Organic Farming Law 20 years ago. The current registry counts 516 organic producers.

Ivana Vojvodić, the director and quality manager at Monteorganica, a company for the control and certification of organic agriculture, stated that over the two decades, various activities were undertaken to overcome the limited production of small farms and the lack of tradition, knowledge, and resources that hindered the faster development of organic agriculture in Montenegro.

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Efforts have been made to promote the sustainability of organic agriculture, provide support for production strengthening, conduct research, offer education, advisory services, market access, marketing, and raise public awareness about organic production, which is crucial for Montenegro’s economic development, Vojvodić said.

Monteorganika was established in 2005, and since then, several international support projects have been implemented in Montenegro. The National Association of Organic Producers was founded, a new law was adopted in 2013, followed by regulations on conditions for the production, processing, packaging, and storage of products. The registry of producers was established, and last year a draft of a new law was prepared to align with EU regulations.

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Vojvodić mentioned that a project, in collaboration with the Danish Government, the Ministry of Agriculture, and the Biotechnical Faculty, was implemented from 2009 to 2013, worth two million euros. This project strengthened the sector’s infrastructure, serving as the basis for further development.

As a result, the registry of Monteorganica now includes 516 organic producers, compared to 160 in 2013 when the project concluded.

In 2013, 22 certificates were issued, including 20 for organic status and two for the transitional period. In 2022, 185 certificates were issued, including 170 for organic status, 11 for the transitional period, and four for both the organic and transitional periods.

Vojvodić highlighted that among organic products, plant-based products dominate, including fruits, crops, and beekeeping. Processed products include juices, olive oil, various types of flour, and teas. However, processed dairy products, meat, and consumable eggs are less represented.

Monteorganica is the only certification body registered in Montenegro in the field of organic agriculture and the first accredited for conformity assessment in any certification area in the country. Unlike many certification bodies in the Balkans, Monteorganica was not established with the support of international projects but developed from domestic resources.

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