The priority of the Government is to increase the agricultural land and the yield and quality of agricultural products. It will also mean higher revenues for all families dealing with agriculture and animal husbandry. The policy will be directed towards increasing industrial processing facilities that will be export-oriented and create products with higher added value. Important tasks in the field of agriculture: direct agricultural subsidies to profitable and market-oriented agricultural holdings; budget transparency of the National Program for Agriculture and Rural Development; consolidation of agricultural land per farm; and horizontal integration of entities in the agricultural food sector and the formation of cooperatives.
The Government will provide annual financial support for agriculture amounting to 160 million EUR. Additional financial incentives will be available to increase agricultural areas and the basic herd. Increased support will go along with increased fairness and transparency, in order the funds to come to the right farmers and herdsman. For this purpose, a system based on aerial imagery will be put in full operation, in order to determine the current state of agricultural land, and reduce the opportunities for abuse. At the same time, the system will be changed to speed up and simplify procedures for granting subsidies and easier access to EU funds for rural development.
In line with the reforms envisaged in the tax system, citizens whose main activity is agriculture and are eligible for lump sum taxation, shall be exempt from paying tax.
Older agricultural population, with experience of 15 years and over 64 years of age, will be allowed to use retirement benefits.
The Government will introduce subsidies for oil for agricultural machinery with mechanism to prevent possible abuses.
The Government will set up obligations for payment of purchased agricultural products to be made not later than 90 days after the purchase. The law will introduce bank guarantee obligations for the planned purchase of agricultural products. For that purpose, the Government will mediate negotiations between producers and buyers of agricultural products (wheat, rice, vegetables, fruits, grapes, etc.) to arrange purchase and purchase price no later than 30 days before the start of the purchase.
In terms of agricultural land, the Government will undertake the following activities:
- review of already granted state agricultural land and categorization of land according to its quality. Size and duration of the concession will be established base on these parameters
- regionalization of agriculture based on soil and climatic conditions of the regions planned for crop and livestock production, and development of lists of recommended crop varieties, taking into account traditional production.
- enlargement of agricultural land will be done through the exchange of parcels with or without changing their form, until complete change of borders of land plots in view of getting larger land areas with proper form, suitable for agricultural production.
- arable land will increase by investing in irrigation systems.
The government will introduce the possibility for increased financial support to farmers under the age of 35 years, up to five years from the commencement of agricultural activity. Young farmers under 35 will be exempt from lease of state-owned land within the first 3 years. In addition, we will ensure increased participation of the state in adding to the cost of agricultural mechanization. In order to secure easier use of IPARD funds, the Government will introduce financial support for interest on loans raised from commercial banks for investments within IPARD programs.
The government will introduce simulative measures for production of animal feed, alternative crops, organic production, produced and placed seedlings of horticultural crops, production of better quality planting material, construction of infrastructure to poorly accessible mountain farms. It will encourage construction of modern storage facilities and purchasing and distribution centers in production areas for specific agricultural products whose capacity will be over 5,000 tons, and the creation and protection of products with recognizable brand, a sign of quality or geographical origin.
The Government will propose amendments to the Law on Tobacco under which purchase of tobacco will be regulated by classification into three quality classes and according to the proportional representation of harvests (lower, middle and upper).
Support of development of the manufacturing industry will be implemented through co-financing of construction and reconstruction of production facilities, supply of equipment for wineries, fruit, vegetables and milk processing and production of dairy products. As part of this policy, the Government will assign urbanized state land in major production regions (Strumica, Gevgelija, Bitola, Prilep, Rosoman, Berovo, Resen, Ohrid, Tetovo, Gostivar, Valandovo, Lipkovo, Kicevo and in other regions).
In order to increase the quality of products, the Government will support the installation of digital hydro meteorological stations in every major manufacturing region. We will provide reliable and cheaper protection of crops and plantations to reduce the use of pesticides. In this regard, we will strengthen the control of the import and sale of pesticides.
In husbandry, we will encourage allotment of state agricultural land to real dairy farmers, an increase of 20% over basic subsidies to registered dairy farmers in order to stimulate the development and professionalization of husbandry as the core business, financial support for young farmers in the purchase of the first herd, greater support to milk producers, support for artificial insemination of sheep and synchronized production of lamb for export to EU markets.
Animal health is a key factor in providing healthy food for the citizens of Macedonia and the increase of exports. We will reduce the VAT rate to veterinary medicine, take over the registration of veterinary medicinal products originating from the EU, subsidize the introduction of new accredited methods and accreditation of laboratories dealing with safety control of food intended both for export and for use on the domestic market.
We will establish an intervention fund for the agricultural and food sector to stabilize the income of farmers as precautionary measure and compensation upon considerable declines.
The Government will implement the Strategy for Sustainable Development of Forestry in the country, with the participation of all stakeholders in the field of forestry and hunting, as well as citizens from non-governmental organizations. In this regard, will transform PE "Macedonian Forests" in order to guarantee responsible management, increased productivity and satisfactory financial results.
An important objective of the Government will be to increase forestall areas in the country, better preservation of forests and protection from illegal logging by transferring the sector forest police from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management, in the competence of the Ministry of Interior.