The third "Bijelo Polje Business Forum - BBF" has ended: Development and connecting agriculture with tourism is one of the best ways for the economic development of Bijelo Polje and Montenegro
Bjelo polje business forum - BBF, the third in a row, gathered more than 100 participants, and the central topic was "Development of agriculture in the function of supporting the development of tourism".
Opening the 3rd Bijelo Polje Business Forum, president of the municipality Bijelo Polje Petar Smolović pointed out that Bijelo Polje has exceptional potential for the development of both areas and the possibility to develop them together, and that connecting agriculture and tourism is one of the best ways for further economic prosperity of Bijelo Polje and Montenegro.
"The combination of tourism and agriculture is our chance for development. That's why we have to work on creating national brands, on raising the quality of products, on ensuring that Montenegrin hotels and retail chains have our own domestic products, because we make that 'invisible' export through tourists who visit our country" - the president pointed out. Smolović.
He suggested creating a catalog of Montenegrin products for companies that received loans from the state.
"To know in one catalog what are food products, what are wood industry products, etc. Then let's say to those exclusive hotels that you don't have to take all their products, but you have to take at least some of them" - said Smolović and added: "The tourist who came to Montenegro did not come to try Macedonian tomatoes or Dutch prosciutto. He came to try prosciutto from Mesopromet or Martinović. Now we need to find out where the gap is and what has stopped us from having domestic products in our biggest chains. Why we not have or have very few of our products in exclusive hotels" - said Smolović.
He concluded that the essence of state money used by businessmen from Montenegro through credit lines, but also by all of us citizens, is to buy domestic products. Of course, a domestic product does not mean buying a low-quality product and he added that it is necessary to unify production, consolidate it, raise its quality, certify the products, which will be found on the menu of restaurants and hotels and on the shelves of food and retail chains.
Dalibor Đogović, head of the Office for Local Economic Development of the Municipality of Bijelo Polje, thanked the attendees on behalf of the organizers of the 3rd Bijelo Polje Business Forum - Council for Economic Development of the Municipality of Bijelo Polje and the Office for Local Economic Development (KLER) and invited businessmen and farmers to take an active part during business forum. He sent a message that the development of agriculture and its connection with tourism are an important backbone of the economic development of Bijelo Polje.
"And this year, as in previous years, the Bijelo polje business forum has gathered businessmen, representatives of public administration and stakeholders who should contribute and make this business forum bigger. I hope that you will encourage our panelists with your meaningful and high-quality questions to give high-quality answers, and that we will all together send the message that agriculture and tourism is a very important backbone of the economy of both Bijelo Polje and the North of Montenegro.
Mladen Grgić, director of the Investment Agency in Montenegro, said that more attention should be paid to economic diplomacy, to promote companies that have something to offer abroad.
"It is necessary to standardize products, create clusters and brands, we have to get out of tribal economy and join together. We create local brands and market them through hotel chains, he said, while Miroslav Cimbaljević, Director General of the Directorate for Agricultural Development, emphasized that the Agriculture Development Strategy 2022-2028. year is in the final phase, which is awaited for a long period of time and that it will give clear guidelines in which direction Montenegrin agriculture should move.
Vasilije Kostić, president of the Montenegrin Association of Employers and an economic analyst, said that our mouths are full of sustainable development, but that without the synergy of agriculture and tourism, it is meaningless to talk about sustainable tourism.
"Agriculture cannot be a locomotive of development, because it realizes its activity in the zone of decreasing transfers, because after a certain point the customs revenues are far less than the marginal costs. If there is no developed industrial production, there is no developed agriculture, and not the other way around," Kostić pointed out.
The former president of the Subotica Chamber of Commerce shared his experiences in networking agriculture and tourism and pointed out that Bijelo Polje should be on the map of the region, not just Montenegro.
"Bijelo Polje has mountains, caves, it has an excellent geographical position that it must take advantage of by valorizing these potentials and advantages in the right way and create its own brands by which it will be recognized, and these are definitely Đalovića Cave and Bjelasica Mountain" - stated Vojinović.
Lejla Hasković from the Mesopromet-Franca company said that the Bijelo Polje company is recognized on the market as a carrier of the development of the north and a reliable partner for individual agricultural producers, small and medium-sized enterprises.
"It is necessary to strengthen, improve and modernize agricultural production, develop the food processing industry and connect these two sectors with the trade, tourism and hospitality sector." Our company succeeded in this to some extent, and our further development plans are based on strengthening cooperative production and expanding cooperative networks and integrating agro-industry," said Haksović.
Director of the agribusiness sector of the Voli company, Jaroslav Stupavski, believes that Montenegro has greater potential in agricultural production than tourism.
Presenting the example of the Voli company, which today also has its own production, Stupavski said that Montenegro must choose to work on issuing state land to larger agricultural producers, if it wants a more developed agriculture.
The moderators of the third Bijelo Polje Business Forum, which was held as part of the 19th International Festival of Tambura Orchestras, were the president of the Economic Council of the Municipality of Bijelo Polje, Hasan Ramović, and the secretary of the Montenegrin Association of Employers, Željka Radak Kukavičić.