October 15, 2020 - Women in rural areas of Montenegro, who are engaged in agriculture and animal husbandry, have showed how to cope during the coronavirus pandemic, and they should be helped to promote their work. This was assessment made at a conference in Niksic's Technopolis.
The representative of the Association of Olive Growers of Boka, Vesna Djukic, said that women make a significant contribution to agricultural production, food security, land management, management of natural resources, and building climate resistance.
"Women should be helped and it should be pointed out that living and working in the countryside is not just hard agricultural work. It should also be highlighted that there is an agricultural economy where they can find their place, providing themselves with social and economic security, not to mention independence." Said Djukic at the first conference on this topic in Montenegro, organized by the Association of Olive Growers Boka, with the support of the Network for Rural Development of Montenegro.
The goal of their activities is to show women in the countryside that they are involved in many more activities than they think, as well as showing them how to get out of the crisis and continue to live and work, expand agricultural production, and with the introduction of innovations, to give themselves the best possible status.
"Our ideas and efforts in encouraging women to take action and empower themselves is not feminism. It's a model approach so that those who live in the countryside and have much less information and opportunities to learn something new can better promote their work," explained Djukic.
As she said, the daily work of women in the countryside is not visible. They are also the bearers of agricultural production, innovators, and those who first and best responded to the crisis.
"Women are a source of great energy that will preserve the village, traditions, and will give and mark life in the countryside, as well as the production of healthy food, which is increasingly in demand. A woman should also be helped to improve and increase production, "said Djukić.
She stated that it is apparent every day, and with time the situation will become more and more pronounced, that food of ever poorer quality is coming to the market and that there are fewer and fewer choices for a healthy diet.
"Our goal is to have healthy food and a healthy lifestyle, and the village is a feature of both. Women are a pillar of the family, especially those in the countryside. They need help to develop their agricultural production and enter the market in a much safer and stronger position, and be competitive with imported food that may not meet all required standards. We often do not know how this imported food is produced, yet we are forced to use it," said Djukic.
The President of the Network for Rural Development, Ratko Bataković, said that the messages from today's event in Technopolis, attended by about 20 women from rural areas from almost the whole of Montenegro, would help to spread the stories of women in rural areas and their products and services in rural tourism.
"Women are the pillar the family, especially when it comes to rural areas, and when there is no female hand, there is no survival. "Without women, our farms would be closed, and there would be no rejuvenation of the village, so it is necessary to encourage women's entrepreneurship and improve their position in rural areas," Batakovic said.
He said that they are carrying out research, which will be completed by the end of the year, as part of which they visit the villages, collect data, and that so far, they have concluded that more than 90 percent of households have a central role played by women.
"Maybe fewer than five percent of households involved in agricultural production do not include women," said Batakovic.
He illustrated the importance of a woman in the village with the example of friends from Piva, who had to sell property and cattle after the death of their mother because no one had the knowledge to continue the work.
One of the conference participants, Radmila Božović from Grbalj, who is engaged in agriculture and animal husbandry together with her family, said that every woman who meets the right conditions, especially in terms of property, should be engaged in these activities.
"We grow various vegetables and fruit, we have five cows, pigs, we are also engaged in beekeeping. My working day usually starts at six in the morning, and I do all the work slowly. I was born in the village of Babine near Jabuka, between Pljevlja and Prijepolje, where I kept cattle and milked cows, and I started cultivating the land and digging when I came to Grbalj," stated Ms. Božović.
She explained that she finished catering school, but she could not get a job and started cattle breeding.
"I first bought a cow, then rented a stall at the market in Kotor. I started planting vegetables and fruit a little later, " stated Božović.
Responding to the idea that it is unusual to be engaged in cattle breeding and agriculture on the coast, Božović said that there is a lot of land, and mechanization is widespread, but the number of women involved in Kotor is very small.
"Women who are engaged in cattle breeding and agriculture could be counted on the fingers of one hand. There are many more who resell other people's products. However, it is difficult for those who are starting from scratch, " said Božović, emphasizing that they were functioning normally even during the coronavirus epidemic.