LJUBLJANA – Montenegrin Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Milutin Simović and Slovenian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Dejan Židan signed Tuesday Action Plan on cooperation between the two ministries in the field of agriculture and rural development, forestry, food safety, beekeeping and aquaculture. The Action Plan defines specific activities that the two sides will carry out in accordance with the needs of Montenegro and the challenges toward EU membership, Public Relations Service of Government of Montenegro stated.
Further concrete steps in cooperation between the two ministries were defined at the meeting, organised within the framework of the Joint Commission for the implementation of the Agreement on Economic Cooperation between Montenegro and Slovenia.
DPM Simović briefed his Slovenian counterpart about the activities of the Government and relevant ministry to meet the requirements for membership in the European Union and the challenges administration is facing. He stressed that many challenges lie ahead, and that Montenegro’s goal is to complete accession negotiations during the term of the current government. Underlining the challenges, Minister Simović gave special attention to Chapter 11-Agriculture and Rural Development, 12-Food Safety, 13-Fisheries and 27-Environmental protection. He said that help and support of Slovenia and other countries that have gone through the process of accession would be welcomed.
Slovenian DPM Židan said that Slovenia recorded growth in food processing and exports, and it is facing different challenges, but it is ready to provide every kind of support and assistance to Montenegro. He informed Mr Simović about activities concerning the support that Slovenia gives to its agricultural producers with an emphasis on the support scheme for young farmers aimed at attracting young people to engage in agriculture. DPM Simović stated that this year Montenegro predicted support for young farmers so that they receive a grant in the amount of 10,000 EUR and an additional interest-free loan from the Investment Development Fund. The two ministers agreed to exchange information and experience regarding implementation of this scheme.
The two officials also discussed forestry concessions and Mr Židan noted that Slovenia has changed the concept of awarding concessions, saying that they established a state enterprise that manages the forests which in the short term brought them significantly more revenue for the budget. DPM Simović said that Montenegro is going to change the concept of forest management and that Slovenian model is something that can be implemented in Montenegro, noting that the analysis are being conducted that will result in recommendations for changing the concept of forest management.
Agricultural land policy was also one of the topics that were discussed during the meeting. DPM Simović said that the definition of the new agricultural land policy and its better usage is the challenge for Montenegro, but with the help of Slovenian experts Montenegro will try to define a new model of sustainable management of agricultural land.
Minister Židan thanked Montenegro for the support to the Slovenian initiative to declare 20 May as World Bee Day. DPM Simović expressed satisfaction about the fact that Montenegro was one of the first countries which adopted the initiative.
DPM Simović accepted the invitation of Minister Židan to visit Agra Fair which will be held in Slovenia late August. The meeting of agriculture ministers under 16 + 1 initiative (China and 16 countries of Central and Eastern Europe) will be also held during the fair.