Friday, 15 December 2017 | News today: 7

Macedonia is at risk of ‘extremely high’ water stress levels in agriculture

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Macedonia is one of the countries facing ‘extremely high’ levels of water stress in agriculture by 2020, 2030 and 2040, shows the latest report of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of Europe and Central Asia (ECA).

In addition to Macedonia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Armenia, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan have been also designated as having extremely high projections for water stress.

ФАО анализа

Serbia, Croatia, BiH and Slovenia are listed as having the lowest risk for water stress, under 10 per cent, alongside Finland, Denmark, Norway, etc. Albania falls in the ‘medium to high’ category of water stress levels, with possible losses of 20% to 40%. It is in the same category as Belgium, Luxembourg, the UK, etc.

According to the FAO analysis, Macedonia is among the Southeastern European countries that  are prone to droughts. The most vulnerable agricultural zone is the Povardarie region, especially the areas of the Crna, Bregalnica and Vardar rivers. Seven per cent of the total population lives on degraded land. 23 natural disasters were recorded from 1997 to 2017 that had affected 1,281,548 people. Economic damages were estimated at $409 million.

Of Macedonia’s total area of 2.5 million hectares, 50.1% is agricultural land with 32.8% being arable land. 3% of agricultural land is considered permanent crops and 64.2% falls on meadows and pastures.

FAO’s recommendations for the entire ECA region suggests sustainable intensive practices both to increase productivity and revenues and to protect natural resources on which production depends. More emphasis should be put on the so called ecosystem approach. According to the report, it is necessary to align national policies and legislation, including sectoral planning (environment, agriculture, food safety, natural resources management, rural development). “It has to be integrated into a joint framework for sustainable development,” the FAO notes.

According to the UN agency, reduction of food and waste loses could contribute to meeting the needs for food in the future and to protecting limited natural resources.