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Through European funds and with good education, your dreams can become a reality

 A conversation with farmer Dijana Marković

Responsible, organised, dedicated, and positive. Dijana Marković is an English teacher who replaced the classroom with a farm and dedicated herself to mushroom cultivation.

When she was a child, she dreamed of becoming an archaeologist. Later, she discovered her talent for languages and aspired to become an English teacher. After completing her studies in English language and literature, she worked as a translator and administrative assistant in a Swiss company. She was also an English teacher in a private language school in Podgorica for ten years.

“The career change came unexpectedly and spontaneously when my husband decided to start mushroom production. He is a lawyer by profession, but both of us come from families where agriculture was a very important source of income, and we were no strangers to working in the fields. However, mushroom production was a new venture for us,” recalls Dijana.

When they heard about the IPARD and MIDAS projects, they decided to apply and build the first facilities on the family estate in Tološi.

“I knew nothing about mushrooms, but I fell in love with this job through years of work and dedication in achieving the best possible quality and quantity of products to be competitive in the market,” emphasises Dijana.

They divided the tasks and responsibilities according to their abilities and complemented each other.

“I believe that my husband and I were each other’s greatest support. But family and friends were always there for us, too. Although they considered agriculture a tough and uncertain business, we always had their support,” said Dijana.

The biggest obstacle was financing.

“It was very difficult to secure funds to start building facilities and begin the production process. Raw materials cannot be obtained in Montenegro, so we sourced them from Serbia, Hungary, and Italy,” Dijana points out.

The greatest success of their family company is that they are now recognised as a reliable partner. In recent years they have were also nominated for one of the most successful companies in Montenegro.

“Furthermore, our customers praise the quality of our mushrooms and speak kindly of us. Most importantly, we’ve been collaborating with the majority of our customers from the very beginning. Thus, we’ve succeeded in earning and retaining their trust,” she concludes.

For women considering a career change her advice is as follows: “Be brave and persistent in achieving your goals. Do not fear the change. Through European funds and with good education, your dreams can become a reality.”