Mainstreaming of the National Land Consolidation Programme (MAINLAND)

©FAO/A. K. Kimoto

The majority of agricultural holdings in the Republic of North Macedonia are smaller than two hectares, compared to the 16.6 hectares that is the average farm size in the European Union. They are made up of multiple parcels (around seven) - often distant from each other and lacking access to irrigation and road infrastructure. Fragmentation of both, the ownership and use of agricultural land is one of the greatest challenges for the country’s agricultural sector, having adverse effects on the productivity, competitiveness and efficiency of farms, and preventing further modernization and economies of scale.

The European Union-FAO funded project ‘Mainstreaming of the National Land Consolidation Programme’ (MAINLAND) aims to improve competitiveness of the agriculture sector in the Republic of North Macedonia in line with European Union accession requirements. 

 

BACKGROUND

The European Union-FAO funded MAINLAND project is implemented by FAO in close cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Economy (MAFWE) of North Macedonia.

Until 2022 the project will assist the country’s MAFWE to manage and implement the National Land Consolidation Programme by developing the expertise and strengthening the technical and administrative capacities of the Ministry and key national stakeholders at central and local level, in both the public and the private sector.

PROJECT OBJECTIVES

The main project objective is to assist agricultural landowners and local rural communities in overcoming the unfavourable structure of the agricultural land as a main resource for the economic activities in the rural areas in order to:

  • increase the competitiveness of the agricultural production,
  • improve the living conditions in rural areas,
  • provide sustainable use of natural resources.

 

 

FOCUS ON FIVE MAIN ACTIONS

Awareness rising

Awareness rising

In order to raise awareness, understanding and interest for land consolidation among local stakeholders, the project in close coordination with the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Economy organizes public campaigns, community workshops, local information meetings, as well as farmer-to-farmer activities throughout the country and in the selected land consolidation project areas. Media events, site visits and a broad range of communication tools have been used to communicate how the EU, FAO and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Economy work together to support agricultural land consolidation in North Macedonia.

Knowledge and capacity development

Knowledge and capacity development

Bringing in FAO expertise and strengthening the technical and administrative capacities of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Economy at central and regional level, key public agencies and private consultants is at the heart of the MAINLAND project’s efforts. Training programs for different target groups have been developed to help build the capacities to successfully manage and implement a National Programme of several land consolidation projects at the same time.

Administrative and managerial procedures

Administrative and managerial procedures

Development of administrative and managerial procedures and tools for operating the National Land Consolidation Programme will be achieved by activities to:

  • Further improve the national legal framework as a basis for an operational National Land Consolidation Programme;
  • Build up the institutional framework for land consolidation (development of procedures for selection of land consolidation projects, feasibility studies, re-allotment planning and detailed technical design of agricultural infrastructure; construction and implementation of land consolidation projects, etc.)
  • Develop a Rural Development Programme (RDP) support measure for land consolidation and integrated rural infrastructure;
  • Develop digital tools for the National Land Consolidation Programme

Land Consolidation Projects

Land Consolidation Projects

Preparation and implementation of sound and feasible Land Consolidation Projects. Based on a countrywide feasibility study the project has identified the most feasible areas in the country with the highest need and potential for land consolidation. After the feasibility stage, activities have been conducted to select 24 project areas in total, prepare 15 Feasibility studies in the selected land consolidation project areas, prepare nine land re-allotment plans and nine design packages for agricultural infrastructure works, and fully implement four land consolidation projects, including construction of rural infrastructure.

Monitoring and evaluation

Monitoring and evaluation

The project will establish a framework (procedures and tools) within the country’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Economy to monitor and evaluate the outputs and impact of the project and the future National Land Consolidation programme, as well as systematic environmental impact screenings and socio-economic assessments of the land consolidation projects, taking into consideration national and EU legal framework requirements. The project will also assist in specifying the needs of an integrated Land Management Register to be developed in the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Economy to support the implementation of the National Land Consolidation Programme.

PROJECT OUTPUTS

  • Raised awareness and understanding about land consolidation among local farmers and landowners, as well as important local stakeholders;
  • Potential areas with highest need for land consolidation in the country identified;
  • 24 project areas selected, 15 feasibility studies carried out, 9 land consolidation projects designed and 4 land consolidation projects fully implemented;
  • Capacity to implement the land consolidation programme strengthened at national and regional level in both, the public and the private sector;
  • Administrative and managerial procedures and tools for operating the National Land Consolidation
    Programme established;
  • Framework for monitoring and evaluation of land consolidation projects established (including environmental and socio-economic impact assessment).

NEWS

Coming from a family with a long tradition in agriculture, Ljupco Angelovski, a young family farmer in the village of Egri, North Macedonia, wanted to modernise his farm when he took it over from his parents. His land, however, was fragmented into 15 tiny plots scattered in different locations. Ljupco is a strong advocate for land consolidation and one of the 214 landowners who participate in the EU-FAO funded MAINLAND project in Egri village. He is very happy that his village Egri is the first approved majority-based land consolidation project in North Macedonia, after the land re-allotment plan was adopted by the majority of landowners in January 2020.

The land re-allotment plan for Egri reduced the number of land parcels by almost fourfold from 874 plots to 260. The 214 landowners now have the same amount of land, but in regularly-shaped parcels that allow for better farming practices.

Through the MAINLAND project, Ljupco’s land has been consolidated into three regularly-shaped parcels with an average size of two hectares, up from just 0.4 hectares beforehand. His land also has better access to agricultural infrastructure, now that the project is improving agricultural roads, drainage and irrigation channels. These improvements are expected to increase land use efficiency, improve yields and allow for farm modernisation to boost his farm productivity and competitiveness.


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