This country item is part of the First Mediterranean CSA Mapping report generated in April 2016.
- Author: Aleksandar Gjorgjievski, President of the Association for Sustainable Social and Economic Development SUNRISE, based in Skopje.
- Local definition of CSA: The native name for CSA is Solidarno Zemjodelstvo (Солидарно Земјоделство). It means Solidarity Agriculture in English. There is no functioning CSA group in the country as of March 2016.
According to ASSED Sunrise’s research and analysis, with a relevant promotion of the CSA model among the farmers and consumers, the first CSA in Macedonia could be set up in a short period of time.
Given the opportunity to be present on the first CSA Mediterranean meeting in Marseilles, France, ASSED Sunrise has established cooperation with Urgenci – France and the other organisations for the future development of Solidarity Agriculture (Солидарно Земјоделство) or CSA in Macedonia.
With the experience shared in Marseilles and the farm visits, as well as their previous engagements in the organic sector in Macedonia, ASSED Sunrise’s President Aleksandar Gjorgjievski feels that its organization has enough motivation and capacity to work on the future CSA initiatives in the region.
National context:The Republic of Macedonia is located in South East Europe in the central part of the Balkan Peninsula. It has a population of 2.107 million (2013 World Bank) and an area of 25,713 sq. km. It has about 50 lakes and 16 mountain peaks over 2000 m high.
The agricultural land size is 1,261,000 ha, of which 509,000 ha is arable land, while 752,000 ha are pastures. The average size of farms is 2 ha, and approx. 18% of the employed population works in the agriculture sector. The share of organic agriculture in total production area is 4,663 ha (certified for organic production).
Although the Association for Sustainable Social and Economic Development SUNRISE has not encountered anything similar to CSA in the country, there is great potential for promoting this model. The basic ingredients for Community Supported Agriculture model, organic farmers, consumers and retail of organic food, can all be found in the larger cities (especially in the Capital city of Skopje).
Agroecology does not yet exist in Macedonia, and there is also very little theory of agroecology included in the programmes of the higher education institutions.
Challenges for the development of CSA
The biggest challenge in the development of CSA in Macedonia seems to be awareness-raising and education about the CSA model among both the producers and the consumers. The economic situation might also be a barrier, due to the lack of available disposable income on the consumers’ side for investing in the prepaid products provided by Solidarity Agriculture.
One of the key future challenges will be the governmental policies’ focus on larger farms. This will reduce opportunities for Community-Supported Agriculture and limit positive conditions for developing agroecology. There is therefore a need to organise the agricultural producers (separate from the official organizations as The Federation of Farmers of the Republic of Macedonia, or The Federation of Organic Producers), in a way that will secure the future processes and assure their dynamic development.
These obstacles could be removed by:
- Including CSA in government policy programs – with subsidies or by minimizing tax etc.)
- Promoting government initiatives at local and national levels to support CSA
- Involving scientific institutions in the processes of developing CSA more systematically
Involving State agencies in the support of agricultural development in Macedonia and the Food quality control agencies.