Under the EBRD/FAO cooperation, and following discussions with stakeholders in Montenegro, in particular with representatives of Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism and Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the project has been designed to enhance food producers’ market connection with tourism and Hotel, Restaurant and Catering (HORECA) markets, building on lessons learned from previous EBRD-FAO projects related to promotion of sustainable value chains.
The overall objective is to enhance the sustainability of local food systems and the tourist industry in order to boost investment in the two sectors in the longer term, and to contribute to better income of small-scale farmers, job creation and rural development through development of agritourism activities and promotion of gastronomy in rural areas. Specifically, the project will strengthen linkages between agrifood production and the tourism industry in Montenegro in order to improve and diversify tourism offer linked to promotion of high quality food products and strengthen sustainable value chains.
Montenegros’s fast-growing tourism industry already accounts for nearly a quarter of the gross domestic product (GDP), with most of that tourism concentrated in the coastal region. Agriculture remains an important part of the national economy, contributing to about 8% of GDP and providing employment for roughly 1/6th of the population. Montenegro is building on its rich cultural and food heritage and well-preserved natural beauty to become a four-season destination for sustainable tourism. Sourcing high quality local agrifood products would benefit the tourism industry and local agricultural producers alike and will contribute to the development of sustainable (short) value chains and food systems.
Traditional, local food and the tourism connection
Gastronomy and traditional food products play a major role in promoting a country’s national identity and culture, and have become increasingly important to the quality of the tourist experience. Not only is raising awareness of Montenegro’s rich food heritage among tourism operators and tourists essential to Montenegro’s tourism strategy, but the with increased consumer demand for an authentic food experience, hotel and restaurants can promote local cuisine that celebrates their food culture. This can also provide opportunities for small-scale producers to add value to their traditional and origin-linked products through local sourcing by the HORECA sector.
To strengthen the linkages between the two sectors, the project is carrying out the following activities:
Policy dialogue on linking agriculture to tourism
· Gap analysis and recommendations
· Technical workshops and conference to discuss the issues to be addressed and how
· Roadmap to promote market linkages between smallholder agricultural producers/processors and the tourism sector
Capacity building of smallholders and local partners
· Technical trainings
· Site visits and workshops to raise awareness of public decision makers and coaching for smallholders on upgrading their activities to link to formal markets
· Knowledge exchanges (Austria, Italy)
Empowering small-holders and learning from concrete pilot actions for scaling-up in the future
· Identification of key Montenegrin locations for agritourism and local gastronomy
· Pilot in the northern region covering five municipalities that will include identification and inclusion of traditional cuisine in local restaurants and hotels, creation of a gastroroute linking producers to HORECA and the promotion and placement of the local gastronomic offer
Increased awareness of public and private stakeholders about Montenegrin food heritage at the national and regional levels
· Promotion of agrifood products to HORECA
· Publication of Inventory of traditional food product with geographical indication potential
· Delegation participation and workshop at Slow Food Terra Madre
· Delegation participation and roundtable at a major tourism fair
Project coordinator: Emilie Vandecandelaere
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