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October 2004

ICT needs for improved agriculture in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

Published by the FAO Regional Office for Europe

An FAO commissioned study of: ‘Needs Assessment for Information and Communication Capacity Building for Improved Agriculture in three East European Countries: Romania, Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (T.F.Y.R. of Macedonia) – conducted by G.C. Holt, University of Reading, UK – assessed ICT infrastructure and application for agricultural research in five Macedonian agricultural organizations and their partners.

Most of the arable land of T.F.Y.R. of Macedonia (approx. 80 percent) is cultivated by small farmers (average farm size 1-3 ha). The rest is under production by large private ex-combinates or is still under state-owned, loss-making combinate management. Much of agriculture production is irrigation dependant with old but functioning systems (20 000 to 40 000 ha in east central Macedonia). Researchers find themselves providing services to the new large agriculture enterprises, while the new, still weak producer organizations or small farmers cannot or do not want to pay for these services. Farmers’ education levels and technical knowledge are relatively high, but a lack of openness to new technologies, a shortage of available markets and small production volumes are impeding innovation. Political conditions have led to an environment in which investments in the university and extension systems are less efficient, thus further delaying reform.

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