Macedonia - Policies support for HNV farming
The agriculture policy support in Macedonia prior to the EU accession process was characterized by ad hoc policy decisions that were frequently changing. The harmonization with the CAP began in 2004, and rural development policy was introduced in 2007. Since then the overall agriculture budget has increased significantly and in 2009, the ratio market support vs. rural development was six to one.
Direct payments are provided to all animals above a certain minimum – 5 for cattle, 10 for goats and 30 for sheep. The support is digressive and farms with up to 80 LU receive 100% of the support, while farms with more than 300 LU receive 20%.
In Macedonia, as in Montenegro, some of the most commercial sheep farms are utilizing the mountain pastures so these direct payments are indirectly contributing to the maintenance of the extensive sheep grazing system.
The support to organic farming includes meadows and pasture in organic livestock production as well as for sheep and goats in organic production. The support for organic sheep and goat breeding is 50% on top of conventional direct payments. It is also digressive: 100% of it is paid to sheep flocks up to 500 heads, and only 10% of it is paid to flocks above 2,000 heads. In addition if farmers sale their produce as organic, they receive another support of 2-5% of the amount but not more than 2500 Euro. The area of organically certified pastures, meadows and wild plants was 205 ha in 2009.
Support to the local breed of Busha cattle, one of the best adapted breeds to the mountainous conditions of the Balkan region, was introduced in 2009, but was not implemented in 2010 and 2011.
In addition to IPARD measures focusing mostly on investments in farms, processing and marketing, and diversification of rural activities, Macedonia is also financing rural development measures with its national budget. One of them – supporting shepherds’ salaries, is the only measure implemented for nature conservation in rural areas. It is introduced in 2009 and the budget for 2011 is 50 000 Euro. It is reported to have a limited uptake mostly due to the low level of salary payment as compared to the social payments that shepherds usually receive in addition to their shepherding payments.