On March 31st, in Strumica the first National Conference on Macedonian Agriculture and Climate Change, was organized with mutual cooperation of the project “Institutional Support to FFRM” We Effect – FFRM, USAID Adaptation to Climate Change in Agriculture project and the Swedish Embassy in Macedonia. The event aimed to present the negative influence of climate change to the agricultural production and to share measures and techniques that would help farmers to reduce adverse effects in vegetables, orchards, vineyards and livestock.

“The Republic of Macedonia is yet at the beginning of realization of the strategic goals for addressing climate change. The agricultural producers and rural families, as direct beneficiaries of the land and the natural resources, are the most dependent on these decisions and solutions. The challenge of dealing with climate change is a long process which requires huge support through public awareness and joint engagement and cooperation of all agricultural stakeholders.” –  noted in his remarks, Petar Gjorgievski, president of the Rural Development Network of the Republic of Macedonia as implementer of the USAID Adaptation to Climate Change in Agriculture project.

“Climate change will have the most negative influence on the agriculture. Therefore these gatherings are useful for us, the farmers, to learn and familiarize with new agricultural technologies for climate change adaptation which will help to protect the production.” – said Nikola Stamenov, president of FFRM.

The professors from the Agricultural Institute and the Faculty for Agricultural Sciences and Food in Skopje, shared the results and achievements of the implementation of different adaptive measures in agricultural production. A couple of farmers also shared their experiences and positive examples.

Climate change is a reality all around the world, and according to the experts’ analyses, Macedonia can expect extreme temperature variations which will have negative effects to the agricultural sector. As roughly half of Macedonia’s rural population is economically dependent on agricultural production, the need for prompt action and practical adaptive methods is growing.

Conclusions of the First National Conference on Macedonian Agriculture and Climate Change

1. Due to the negative impact of climate change such as increase of air temperature, intensity of solar radiation, heat waves, intensive precipitation, hail, as well as shortage of rain during the vegetation period followed by long drought periods, agricultural producers in the Republic of Macedonia face large challenges in dealing with it.

2. Challenges in dealing with climate change are a process where agricultural producers should invest their capacities in adapting production to this phenomenon, but also seek large support by the public (raising public awareness) and joint efforts, cooperation and coordination of all relevant institutions.

3. Continuous evolution regarding selection of new cultures, new technologies and new practice of agricultural production management with reference to climate change results in the need for involving science and research expertize to ensure implementation of sustainable agricultural production.

4. New technologies and acquired knowledge, as well as raising the awareness of agricultural producers regarding adaptive measures to climate change should be transferred by actively involving the agricultural advisory services as part of their regular practice in providing advisory services for successful planning and realization of agricultural production.

5. The future policy of Macedonia regarding agriculture and rural development should take into account the need for adaptation of agricultural production and promotion of farming practices that are compatible to the new climate conditions and contribute at the same time to preservation of natural resources.

6. The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water-Economy should make a needs assessment of agricultural producers for the purposes of additional support and adaptation to climate change in agriculture within the framework of the support measures of the agriculture and rural development programs.

7. Coordination is needed among institutions and organizations from the region for the purposes of timely exchange of information and experience, as well as set up of similar measures that would contribute to successful practice in overcoming negative effects of climate change. Cooperation is particularly important in creating joint regional climate change prevention system.