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Minister Ljupco Dimovski
Investors Welcome in High Potential Agriculture Sector
Macedonia’s Ministry of Agriculture is steadily modernising the country’s agriculture sector, encouraging farmers to adopt contemporary practices and bringing the sector up to EU standards. Ljupco Dimovski, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Economy, explains, “The EU’s recent progress report on Macedonia’s agriculture sector is very positive, including concerning our harmonisation with EU criteria. We are now encouraging foreign investment in the agriculture sector and improving the investment climate.”
Foreign investors will find a wealth of opportunities in Macedonia’s agriculture sector, including land at very attractive prices. The biggest recent investor in Macedonian agriculture to date is Agrokor, which has invested in a state-of-the-art warehousing and distribution centre for agricultural products. Another investor has opened a dairy in Bitola, while other agricultural projects are being developed in other locations.
The Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Economy plans to develop an agro-industrial zone designed to serve as an ideal base for processing enterprises. He says, “We want to build a strong processing industry, and we currently have a project through which we provide land for only a token price of €l1 per sq metre in 14 locations. In another project, we are providing land in 19 other locations. One of our success stories is Pelagonia AD Bitola, which has received 18,000 hectares in a concession.”
“Our message to potential investors is that Macedonia has a strong agricultural tradition, top quality products, and exceptional export potential.”
Strong agricultural tradition and high quality products
Wine production is one of many investment opportunities in Macedonia’s agriculture sector. Macedonia already has a well-established wine industry which processes a total of around 250,000 tonnes of wine grapes per year and produces around 130 million litres of wine annually, 90% of which is exported. “Macedonia produces high quality wines and now has some 83 wineries. We export very expensive wines, not just the low cost variety,” the Minister points out. Mineral water and tobacco are other top agricultural products; around 25 million kilogrammes of tobacco are processed in Macedonia every year.
While continuing its efforts to modernise the agriculture sector and implement EU standards, the Ministry of Agriculture is also focusing on boosting Macedonia’s agricultural exports. Ljupco Dimovski concludes, “Our traditional export markets are Germany, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Austria, Slovenia and Russia. Our agricultural exports rose in value from € 240 million in 2006 to € 424 million in 2010 and around € 500 million in 2011. Our message to potential investors is that Macedonia has a strong agricultural tradition, top quality products, and exceptional export potential.”