MenuAgriculture Nature Nature in the service of agriculture Land and practices The Western Balkans Serbia Kosovo Montenegro Macedonia Albania Nature’s services Animal welfare Support to the state Support to civil society Contact
THE WESTERN BALKANS - MONTENEGRO
Montenegro is located in the southeastern part of the Western Balkans. The total territory of the country has 13,812 km², of which 37% is agricultural land (mainly pastures and meadows). Natural conditions in Montenegro are characterized by large hilly and mountainous areas with recognizable relief and only a fewplain areas. The highest mountain is Durmitor, 2,522 m. The Adriatic coast is 293.5 km long. The climate in Montenegro changes from the Mediterranean to the sub-continental and the continental within a very short distance and under the influence of the proximity of the Adriatic Sea and the local relief. In terms of biogeographical zones, the country is almost equally divided between the Mediterranean and the Alpine region, which shows a great contrast in physical conditions at a very short distance.
Agriculture in Montenegro/b>
In 2009, agricultural land covered 37% of the country's territory. Agriculture in Montenegro is very diverse, from the cultivation of olives and citruses in the coastal belt, vegetables, and viticulture in the central part, to extensive livestock breeding, especially in the northern part of Montenegro. Agricultural land is dominated by pastures (324,531 ha) and meadows (126,931 ha), and together represent 87% of the total agricultural land in the country.
Arable land and home gardens cover less than 9% of agricultural land. These systems are gradually decreasing (about 2% since 2005) mainly due to urbanization and construction of infrastructure facilities. On the other hand, the area of orchards (11,899 ha) and vineyards (4,386 ha) is slowly increasing by 7% to 9%. Agriculture is mainly labor-intensive and represents the major or significant source of income for about 50,000 rural households. Agricultural practices are of very low intensity. They are characterized by a low level of mechanization and/or use of chemicals. In modern conditions, it is considered to be an obstacle to market competitiveness. However, these traditional characteristics of agricultural systems are also considered an opportunity for organic production and placement of environmentally friendly products.
High nature value farming in Montenegro
Pastures and meadows in Montenegro are mostly natural and semi-natural and cover 450,000 hectares. They are mostly used extensively in almost all regions and can, therefore, be considered as agricultural land of high nature value (Markovic et al., 2010). They are mostly concentrated in the north and northwestern parts of Montenegro. (SEAP, 2010).
The karst region consists of the central regions of the municipalities of Cetinje and Nikšić and covers 21% of the entire territory of Montenegro. It has a very small area of arable land (only 8%), which is mostly found in sinkholes and depressions. This feature combined with prominent waterlessness limits plants production (except in Nikšić and Grahovo polje). The most important agricultural sector in this region is livestock production, particularly goat and sheep breeding, for which karst pastures are mostlysuitable. In the last few years, there has been a slight increase in the number of cattle in Montenegro, which is probably related to the development of processing capacities.
In Montenegro, traditional orchards are still prevalent, especially in the continental part of the country. Most olive trees are cultivated in the traditional manner, without regular pruning, and with alternate yields. In Montenegro, mountainous terrain limits agricultural production to valley systems and narrow coastal belt. Terraced production and dry walls that retain stones covering very shallow surface soil are traditional practices. This well-organized agricultural infrastructure is extremely vulnerable to depopulation that leads to the abandonment of rural areas. Crop production is carried out only in some valleys, where alluvial deposits are accumulated. It is further restricted by scarce water resources. Most households maintain small family plots near their houses for the production of fruit and vegetables. The dominant agricultural system is extensive grazing of cattle, sheep, and goats on semi-natural pastures.
Click on the country for more detailed information on the current situation and potential for the development of high nature valuefarming