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The agriculture sector plays an important role in Macedonia’s economy through its contributions to GDP (agriculture accounts for 12% of GDP), employment, trade and the rural economy, with the country’s nearly half the population living in rural areas. About 49% of the total land area is agricultural land, split evenly between cultivable land and pastures. Of the cultivated land, about 80% is used by approximately 180,000 private family farms. As in many Western Balkan countries, almost half the populations live in rural areas.
Officially, almost one fifth of the working force is employed in agriculture, 14.8% of the value added of the manufacturing sector in the food industry and around 10% of exports is generated in agriculture. The combination of Continental and Sub-Mediterranean climate, characterized by long, warm summers and short, not too severe winters, and fertile soil provide generally excellent conditions for production of a range of food products.
The major contributors to exports within the food products segment, by a wide margin, are fruit and vegetables (40.8%) and beverages (29.0%). Within the beverages part wine is the most important component. Commendably, as of 2009, the Government has made the HACCP standard obligatory for all food producers.
More information on the Macedonian Agribusiness and Food Processing Industry is available in our brochure.