In his twenties, Radovan Jovovic graduate from the police academy in Belgrade’s with the intention of becoming a policeman. However, everything changed during a journey through Europe when he stumbled upon a chicken farm that captivated his interest. Intrigued, he stopped to converse with the farm’s owner, unaware that this encounter would profoundly impact his life. “As I spoke to the owner of the chicken farm, I began to realize that this could be an intriguing business venture to explore,” reflects Radovan.
Upon returning to Montenegro, Radovan pursued his career as a police chief and inspector. Nevertheless, his fascination with starting a chicken farm persisted. With the support of his parents, he took the plunge and established a small farm housing around 700 laying hens. To his delight, the venture proved to be lucrative. The cost of chicken feed was reasonable, and the market prices for eggs were favourable. “As a family business, we managed to earn a respectable income, particularly considering the economic conditions of the 90s,” shares Radovan.
The conflicts and wars that occurred in the former Yugoslavia had a detrimental impact on the business; nonetheless, the company persisted despite the challenges. Radovan explains that economic sanctions imposed on Yugoslavia and the unstable market conditions made conducting business extremely difficult for them. However, around the year 2004, the situation began to normalize, and the market gradually stabilized. It was during this time that Radovan embarked on another visit to Europe, this time with the aim of sourcing equipment and technology that would enable them to expand their operations to accommodate over 10,000 laying hens.
In 2007, they successfully acquired state-of-the-art computer-based technology equipment from Europe. Concurrently, they expanded the physical space of the farm and constructed a new, modern facility with a significantly larger capacity of over 15,000 laying hens. “The investment marked a turning point in the history of our company, transforming it from a small family enterprise into a corporation,” affirms Radovan.
Radovan explains that in recent years, they have encountered additional challenges, including market issues stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic and shortages of chicken feed and raw materials due to Russia’s aggression on Ukraine. “Nevertheless, we have successfully navigated these challenges, which further validates the sustainability and stability of our company,” asserts Radovan.
Being a sustainable and stable enterprise, Alkoset has also been able to capitalize on EU support through the IPARD programme for Montenegro. The company has benefited from assistance in construction, reconstruction, and equipment procurement, including aggregate, thermotechnics, equipment for raising chickens in cages, equipment for laying hens, and the construction of a new facility. “As one of the pioneers to apply for the IPARD programme in Montenegro, I can confidently say that the support we received was a turning point and a catalyst not only for our company but also for numerous other businesses in our country,” adds Radovan.
About the programme
Part of the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA) designed to support reforms in countries in the process of joining the EU, the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance for Rural Development (IPARD) focuses on the agri-food sectors and rural areas of those countries. Through this tool, the EU provides beneficiaries with financial and technical help to make their agricultural sector and rural areas more sustainable, aligning them with the EU’s common agricultural policy.
Photo credits: Alkoset
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