The Perisic family from Kolasin, a small town in Montenegro’s north-east, bought several bee colonies last year and already enjoying in quality honey from their own production. Fun fact: this work is mostly done by a twenty-year-old student of economics, Milica Perisic.
Together with eight other young enthusiasts, Milica has recently taken up beekeeping thanks to the project of the Association of Beekeepers from Kolasin, which promotes this noble hobby among youth. This association has provided beginners with complete beekeeping accessories, modern literature and detailed training on beekeeping. The European Union, UNDP Montenegro and the Municipality of Kolasin, joined in the ReLOaD2 project, have made it possible for these young people to open their joint “practical apiary”, where they train young women and men from Kolasin to provide proper bee care.
The Perisic family are interested in beekeeping since the COVID-19 pandemic when people have become very interested in natural products. The project of the Association of Beekeepers came at the right time, giving Milica the opportunity and motivation to confidently venture into beekeeping.
Milica believes beekeeping is a serious opportunity for development, even though it is only a hobby for family and friends for now. “First of all, this is a great way to spend my free time, to spend some time in nature and observe these incredible small creatures, but also, this is a great opportunity to make money – and I won’t give up”, Milica says.
She admits that people find it unusual for a young woman to be engaged in beekeeping. “Sometimes they make jokes when I look for books and magazines about beekeeping, because they often think of it as a hobby for older, retired people, but eventually, everyone is interested in learning more about my hobby”, Milica added. She spends a lot of time in Podgorica due to her studies, but she spends every free moment of her time to come to Kolasin. Milica says she can imagine herself living in future in this town which she has perceived as a holdback while she was a high school student.
Thirty-year-old Djordjije Scepanovic has also bought his first bee colonies half a year ago: “I’ve always been interested in this, but somehow, I lacked time and conditions. Then I’ve decided to sign up for training in Kolasin, and with new daily learnings I’m already satisfied with the progress. It is true that I’m a beginner, but I see a perspective in this, because there will be no human species without bees”, he said.
Djordjije is considering beekeeping as his main job. “I’ve suffered an injury that prevents me from continuing with the work I’ve been doing so far, and this alternative appeared at the right moment. I will dedicate myself to beekeeping because it offers so much, and compared to any other job, it also gives you relaxation and enjoyment”, he said.
The Association of Beekeepers has been promoting beekeeping for 20 years, and they see the past year as the most successful in that sense.
Representatives of the Association of Beekeepers note that there is a great demand for bee products, while the current production in Montenegro does not meet the needs of the market. They believe that the economic environment in Kolasin has rapidly improved with the highway construction, adding that an incredible wealth remains unused in rural areas – endemic species and diverse floral flora, which Milica and Dordjije have recognized brilliantly.
Numerous parts of Montenegro, which is the home for a half of all European plant species, represent an inexhaustible potential for beekeeping. “That’s why I recommend everyone who is at least a little bit interested in nature to think about similar ventures”, the President of the Association, Bogoljub Bulatovic, says.
“In addition to the tools and knowledge young people have gained, the entire local community will benefit, because the development of beekeeping improves fruit growing, and thus the entire agriculture. Since the beginning of the project, our membership has increased by 25%. If only two people decide to devote themselves seriously to beekeeping, and there will likely be many more, the landscape of the Kolasin area will change significantly”, Bulatovic pointed out.