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Katuns Today – Needs and Possibilities

Much has been said about the tradition of going to summer pastures being less and less practiced each year, and less and less farmers are present in the mountains. However, maintaining this tradition is extremely important, not only from a cultural point of view, but also for many other reasons. Our ancestors knew how to take full advantage of the mountain, to use it for their economic prosperity but not to devastate it, while today when options are far greater we have still not found a way to valorize the mountains in a sustainable manner. Of course, katuns as we have described them in this publication, will cease to exist at certain point, unless we find a way to adapt this tradition to the modern times, and provide the farmers with living conditions that modern times can offer. Young people will continue to avoid cattle breeding in this manner, the old ones will disappear, and katuns will remain empty and eventually collapse. It would be devastating for several reasons. Having cattle graze in the mountains is very important for maintenance of pasturelands, which is important economic resource, and a precondition for any further discussion about farming. Cattle breeding as sector will lose its quality. Milk and meat produced in the mountains are of incomparably better quality than milk and meat that come from intensive production on farms, and this should be an advantage of small Montenegrin economy today and in future. And one beautiful and long tradition will become a story only.

In order to avoid this, it is necessary to make efforts to support the cattle breeding in katuns, and encourage continuation of existence of katuns as authentic settlements with all the necessary facilities that modern times can offer. Solar systems are utmost necessity for katuns, and although efforts in this direction have already started, they need to step up and solar systems should be made available to absolutely all katuns in Montenegro. It is necessary to work on the water supply in katuns, on providing stable mobile telephony coverage in the mountains as there are still katuns that are cut off from the world. It is necessary to protect the architectural heritage of the katuns, while making katun huts comfortable for life. And it is necessary to create a tourist offer around the katuns, so that locals have the possibility of additional revenues and are further encouraged to stay in katuns. And finally, we need to make great efforts and to devise measures to make young people see cattle breeding and katuns as profitable business, so that they may decide to continue the centuries-old traditions of their ancestors.