Sunday, 22 July 2018 | News today: 0

FAO’s Rakhmanin: Macedonian agriculture sector needs innovations

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Macedonian agriculture needs constant innovation, modern production technologies and equipment, enhanced formal linkages among farmers, processors and markets and strengthened rural advisory services, Vladimir Rakhmanin, FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Europe and Central Asia, says in an interview with MIA.

Macedonia is on the right track, and FAO is ready to work with the country on its way forward, but still, there is a long way to go, he says.

‘In the digital era, Macedonian smallholders and family farmers need constant innovation, and they require better support in this endeavor through strengthened, inclusive and pluralistic rural advisory services, with improved links to the agricultural research and education system,’ Rakhmanin says.

In regard to the ability of Macedonian agricultural products to cope with completion on the European market as the country aspires to join the European Union, Rakhmanin says that products from labor-intensive subsectors have better chances in foreign markets, as do products – especially organic ones – with local character.

‘Free trade is beneficial for a country if it focuses production on areas where it has comparative advantages,’ Rakhmanin says, notifying that it is often hard for the small and fragmented family farms in the country to meet international quality and marketing standards.

Rakhmanin  considers as positive and important that countries in the region financially support agricultural growth and rural development, and that social aspects are considered.

‘This said, FAO recommends focusing more on support and development initiatives that help to increase the competitiveness of the agriculture sector as a whole by improving the working conditions of farmers and increasing their access to knowledge, thus enhancing job creation and the establishment of a more robust advisory system,’ he says.

Rakhmanin  also notifies the presence of gender inequalities in the country’s rural areas. The Government is aware of this and acknowledges that equalizing opportunities for women and men is essential for sustainable development in rural areas.

The interview is made on the occasion of Mr. Rakhmanin visit to Skopje on 11 July 2018 and the official signing of the FAO Country Programming Framework for the period 2018–2020.