VIDEO INTERVIEW | Nikolovski: We are doing a strong promotion of Macedonian wine so that it is recognized

Ljupcho Nikolovski - min. for Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management / Photo: "Sloboden Pechat" - Dragan Mitreski

Experience and practice teaches the farmer that every year in agriculture is a year of uncertainties, a year of fear, but also a year of joy and celebrations. What will be present depends not only on the labor of the farmer and on the natural conditions, but also on the state policy developed and implemented in agriculture by the competent Ministry of Agriculture. With the policy of the Ministry of Agriculture through the concrete measures that are taken, farmers are expected to recognize their opportunity and start working, investing, producing and living from agriculture as an area.

- We listen to the farmers directly on the ground and their suggestions become an integral part of the policy for the development of agriculture. Their demands become an integral part of the programs and policies of the ministry, as well as of the laws in the field of agriculture. After the meetings with the farmers and their indications, we came to the realization that in the past 15 years, Macedonia had a populist model of subsidizing agriculture that did not give the expected results, on the one hand, and together with the farmers, we decided that we should enter into a bold reform, on the other hand . It is our determination to build and develop agricultural policy in partnership with farmers. In these two months, our economic-social partners, the Federation of Farmers, Tikvesh Family Wineries, then the international partners and all others are working in the field daily to inform farmers about the measures we have taken so that agriculture can develop and farmers can use them . We called this year 2023 the "Year of New Opportunities", which means a new subsidy model that we want to inform farmers about and use, then new investment opportunities for the rural development program. The request from the people who are exclusively farmers and who live from agriculture asked to be separated as a category from all others for whom agriculture is not their basic or main activity, and we accepted their request and it became part of the programs of the Ministry of Agriculture. This was emphasized by the Minister of Agriculture Ljupcho Nikolovski in today's edition of "Morning Press" on Slobodna TV, where he spoke about several issues regarding agricultural policy.

The new financial support measures in 2023 to support agriculture cover various production areas and numerous farmers.

-Compared to the previous period when measure after measure were adopted in different periods, now we inform the farmers that from the first of April to the end of November there is an open call for co-financing for what they request that they need. We expect with the support of our advisors in the business plan to write what they need and submit requests. We have set clear goals and the information should be available to all farmers to familiarize themselves with the open opportunities. We are now implementing measures from the previous program of 2022, where there are more measures and where we received 2700 requests. The Ministry concluded 103 contracts for the purchase of breeding livestock, then 340 contracts for the "drop by drop" system, and our goal is to encourage and create conditions for the establishment of 2000 small farms, and to support small family businesses - emphasized the Minister of Agriculture Ljupco Nikolovski.

The Ministry encouraged several entities to organize a food and beverage fair and other events for the promotion of farmers' products. At the same time, the participation of numerous wine producers in international wine fairs was noted, where Macedonian wine was noted and evaluated as high quality.

- The events we organize are aimed at promoting small producers of food and beverages. Last year, more than 250 food and beverage producers in partnership with Slow Food and other economic-social partners organized the First National Food Fair, through which citizens could see the entire production of numerous small producers. The reactions were particularly positive from producers and citizens since the organization of this fair and we want it to be traditional. We want everyone who produces to be registered and the current number is 500 producers and I believe it can be higher, noted Minister Nikolovski

- Macedonia is the second country after Greece in the region in terms of wine production, that is, we are in a better place than the countries of the former Yugoslavia in terms of wine exports, which reached 60 million euros. At the same time, Macedonia ranks 29th in the world in terms of wine exports. We have reason to be proud in terms of wine exports compared to previous decades. Namely, the export structure is not dominated by bulk wine, but wine with a label and wine as the final Macedonian product. Just as an illustration of how great the progress is in this branch, last year 200 small family wineries were registered, and there were 30 large wineries. The ministry supported these small wine producers with a grant of 10 euros for the provision of equipment because we want this production to increase and present ourselves with quality wine to domestic citizens, foreign tourists visiting our country and foreign markets. With the changes in the law on wine, we encouraged the creation of 500 new labels of Macedonian wine brands - noted Minister Nikolovski.

The Ministry of Agriculture supports several events for the promotion of wine with the participation of producers from Macedonia in the past period.

- Since 2018, we have increased the technical support in the area of ​​wine promotion several times. The Ministry made a decision to provide support by covering the costs for the work of the stands for each of our wineries or partners, for organizing an event or for participating in a wine fair. In May, Macedonia will be presented with wine in Chicago and we are doing a strong promotion of Macedonian wine so that it will be recognized. I am happy that we can also present our autochthonous variety "Stanushina" and "Vranec" at some events, and I am happy if we increase the area with this variety. However, this production is conditioned by the negotiations for our membership in the European Union.

Watch the entire conversation with Minister Ljupco Nikolovski in the video:

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