The Pester Plateau, part of the Dinaric Mountains in Serbia, is little known to many people. It is one of the last unspoilt mountainous areas, an exceptional natural beauty whose magic is reserved only for the most determined. The harsh climate (down to -30°C in winter) and the scarce infrastructure are complemented by great people and the original product they produce.
Sjenica lamb, one of the typical products in the region, is protected as a national Protected Designation of Origin (PDO). It has adapted over time to the natural conditions, ecosystems and climate, and this impact can be observed in the two municipalities that make up the project landscape: Sjenica and Tutin (Mountain Reference Landscape of Serbia, MRL).
The project team started working on the MRL in early autumn 2021, contacting the main stakeholders informing them about the project and initiating discussions on the current situation of the sector. The situation of this value chain (VC) was complex in the previous two years due to COVID-19, and many producers found the MOVING’s project a good opportunity to review the value chain and try to find new marketing channels. Innovation of systems, while preserving high quality traditional products, is the strategic objective of all VC and community actors.
During the last quarter of 2021, the team conducted interviews and discussed with key informants about what are the main vulnerabilities of the production system and the area. The interviews aligned to the natural rhythm of nomadic pastoralism and producers returning to villages just before the first snows.
The team met with different actors and larger producers during November 2021, while a participatory workshop was held at the end of November, with the support of the municipality of Sjenica. The workshop was attended by more than 25 participants, including producers, representatives of development agency agricultural advisors, public institutions and NGOs. The main concern focused on water availability, as climate changes result in decreasing rainfall, particularly in the spring months, just before the grass mowing season. Trends are strong for increasing summer temperatures, all of which add pressure to water use and animal feed availability.
Our community continues with a strong commitment to jointly meet and raise understanding and awareness of the vulnerabilities and adaptation strategies to keep the value in the region and villages alive.
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