Montenegro - Policy support to HNV farming
In the last several years, the Montenegrin agricultural policy is marked by persistent efforts to respond to the pressing needs of agriculture and rural areas in the country alongside the harmonization of the national support measures with the CAP requirements.
The extensive farming practices, characterized by low levels of mechanization and/or chemical inputs and especially the low levels of marketed production are considered as a significant barrier to contemporary market competitiveness. On the other hand, the traditional and extensive characteristics of Montenegrin farming are recognized as an opportunity for organic production and marketing of environmentally-friendly products. Montenegrin agricultural policy is trying to balance these often conflicting development approaches (market competitiveness vs. environmentally-friendly).
As a result, direct payments in the livestock sector are being paid to animals in both intensive and extensive farming systems. A minimum and maximum threshold by farm is set – cattle between 3 and 50 animals; sheep between 20 and 300, goats between 10 and 300. This effectively leads to supporting mainly commercial family farms and excludes the majority of the semi-subsistence farms. The local breeds received a top-up payment to the basic direct payment.
A positive feature of the Montenegrin support approach is that it aims to support all farms/animals/areas above the specified minimum sizes. This means that the farms that are targeted by the policy can rely on some support every year. The drawback of this approach is that when the overall agriculture budget is decreased this is reflected in reduced payments per LU or hectar. This doesn’t allow secure planning ahead especially when larger investments are concerned.
At the same time, investment support is also provided to extensive livestock production systems in order to fulfill the minimum EU standards on the basis of tender calls.
The measure on sustainable use of mountain pastures was introduced in 2010. Since then, a total of 2025 holdings and 25 250 LU of cattle, sheep, goats and horses are supported by a headage payment of 20 Euro/LU for a minimum of 5 LU. The support is given to the agricultural holdings practising transhumance for at least two months in a year.
Support to revitalisation and reconstruction of old olive trees is also provided. The requirement for reimbursement of revitalisation costs is an olive grove put in order and revitalisation of minimum 10 trees.