May 26, 2018 - Food imports in April this year, according to data by Monstat published over the weekend, was worth 34.5 million euro while in the same month of 2017 it was 31.8 million.
The "Buy Local" program was launched on April 3rd by the ministries of agriculture, economy, the Chamber of Commerce and the largest chain stores. As stated at the time, the program's goal is to increase the sale of domestic food products, production, and employment and to reduce imports. Organizers provided €115,000 for marketing promotion and labeling spaces in the markets where only local products are available. The program covers over 3,000 domestic products.
Imports of live animals for food production in April this year amounted to two million euro, while in the same month last year it was worth 2.2 million euro. It is the only category in which food imports have been reduced.
Import of meat and meat products remained the same, i.e., at about EUR 7.5 million, while the import of milk, dairy products, and eggs increased from last year's EUR 4.2 million to EUR 4.4 million. Import of fish and fish products rose from 0.9 to 1.3 million euro, and grain and cereal products from 4.3 to five million euro.
The purchase of imported vegetables and fruits increased significantly from 4.9 to 5.6 million euro. Imports of sugar, sugar and honey products remained at €0.9 million. The import of coffee, tea, cocoa, and spices in April amounted to 2.7 million euro or about 100 thousand euro more than in the same month last year. The import of other food products increased from 3.1 to 3.3 million euro.
The organizers of the program announced that this would be their long-term commitment, by which they want to point to the importance of buying domestic products and influencing the Montenegrin economy. They also announced that the program would also include a set of education and advisory support for producers to improve knowledge and marketing functions, as well as to link the tourism industry and domestic producers before the season so that the domestic food would be more present in hotels and restaurants this summer.
"Per certain estimates, for each product that is purchased and is produced in Montenegro, our economy gains between 80 and 85 percent of the total amount. It is precisely this money that is affecting larger salaries, increasing purchasing potential and the standard of citizen’s living. However, the biggest problems of domestic producers are limited production capacities, inability to provide continuous deliveries and required quantities and insufficiently developed marketing functions. We cannot influence what products will be on the shelves of the market, but we are in intensive communication with the chains of commerce, and together we work to create space for smaller producers," said the Ministry of Economy.
Total imports increased by 12.7 percent
Montenegro's total foreign trade exchange for the period from January-April, according to Monstat's preliminary figures, amounted to EUR 851.6 million, which shows a growth of 12.9 percent over the same period in 2017. Exports of goods increased by 14.3 percent to EUR 129.2 million, and imports 12.7 percent to EUR 722.4 million, reported Monstat. The coverage of the exports by the imports amounted to 17.9 percent, which is higher in relation to the same period of the previous year (17.6 percent).
Text by Goran Kapor, on May 26th, 2018, read more at Vijesti