Mainstreaming of the National Land Consolidation Programme (MAINLAND)


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) has worked to improve competitiveness of the agriculture sector in the Republic of North Macedonia in line with European Union accession requirements. 



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

In the period from 2017 until 2022, the project assisted 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.


The main project objective was 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.




Awareness rising

Awareness rising

To raise awareness, understanding and interest for land consolidation among farmers/agricultural landowners and key national stakeholders, the project in close coordination with the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Economy organized 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 were used to communicate how the EU, FAO and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Economy have worked 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 (MAFWE) at central and regional level, key public agencies and private geodetic companies was at the heart of the MAINLAND project’s efforts. Training programs for different target groups were conducted, which helped to build the national capacities to successfully manage and implement the National Land Consolidation Programme. In total 125 MAFWE employees, 24 National Extension Agency (NEA) staff, 20 specialists from other public agencies, and 45 experts from private sector were trained. 

Administrative and managerial procedures

Administrative and managerial procedures

Developing administrative and managerial procedures and tools for operating the National Land Consolidation Programme, were part of the MAINLAND efforts, including support to:

  • Improvements in the national legal framework for land consolidation;
  • Building up the institutional framework for land consolidation (development of procedures for selection of land consolidation projects, feasibility studies for land consolidation, land re-allotment planning and technical design of agricultural infrastructure improvements; implementation of land consolidation projects on the ground, etc.)
  • Development of a Rural Development Programme (RDP) support measure for land consolidation and integrated rural infrastructure;
  • Development of digital tools for the National Land Consolidation Programme implementation

Land Consolidation Projects

Land Consolidation Projects

Implementation of land consolidation projects on the ground, involving more than 6 200 farmers/landowners in the feasibility phase and 2 550 farmers/landowners in the re-allotment phase was achieved through

i. Preparation of a Countrywide Feasibility Assessment for land consolidation, to identify the most feasible areas in the country with the highest need and potential for land consolidation. 

ii. Selection of 21 potential land consolidation project areas.

iii. Preparation of 14 feasibility studies for particular land consolidation areas, including Logovardi, Optichari, Trn, Zhabeni (Municipality of Bitola), Sokolarci, Spanchevo, Cheshinovo, Chiflik (Municipality of Cheshinovo-Obleshevo), Dabjani (Municipality of Dolneni), Konche (Municipality of Konche), Kozhle (Municipality of Petrovec), Carev Dvor (Municipality of Resen), Stojakovo (Municipality of Bogdanci) and Leshani (Municipality of Debarca). 

iv. Preparation of nine re-allotment plans and technical designs for improvement of agricultural infrastructure (for majority-based land consolidation projects) for Konche, Egri, Logovardi, Opticari, Trn, Dabjani, Kozhle, Sokolarci and Spancevo.

v) adoption of seven re-allotment plans by landowners/ farmers; and

vi) construction of agricultural infrastructure (drainage and irrigation networks and access roads) in one land consolidation project area (in the village of Egri) 



Monitoring and evaluation

Monitoring and evaluation

The project established a framework (procedures and tools) within the Macedonian Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Economy to monitor and evaluate the outputs and impact of the current and future projects under the National Land Consolidation Programme, including systematic environmental impact screenings and socio-economic assessments of the land consolidation projects, taking into consideration national and EU legal framework requirements. The project assisted MAFWE in specifying the needs for establishment of an Integrated Land Management Register to support the implementation of the National Land Consolidation Programme.


  • 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;
  • 21 project areas selected, 14 feasibility studies carried out, land re-allotment plans developed for 9 project areas, accompanied with plans for improvement of drainage, irrigation and roads networks, and 1 land consolidation project with constructed agricultural infrastructure 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).


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 the farm he took over from his parents. His land, however, was fragmented into 15 tiny plots scattered in different locations. Ljupco is one of the 214 landowners who participate in the EU-FAO funded MAINLAND project in Egri village. 

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 regularly-shaped parcels that allow for better farming practices.

Through the MAINLAND project, Ljupco’s land was consolidated in three regularly-shaped parcels with an average size of two hectares, up from just 0.4 hectares before land consolidation. His land has better access to agricultural infrastructure, now that the project improved 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.

For young farmers in the Macedonian village of Spanchevo, land consolidation is more than just consolidating and enlarging land parcels. It’s an opportunity for enhancing the overall farming landscape, including agricultural infrastructure - better access to the field or public roads and renovated drainage systems.

Through the sustainable management of agricultural land and water resources, smallholders and family farms in Spanchevo will not only be able to improve food security and resilience, but also pass down the tradition of rice production to younger generations.

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