agriculture

Sectors agriculture and rural development together make the first pillar and primary focus of the Green Growth Platform. These sectors are in GGP focus because we have an understanding that there is an underutilization of the natural resources and perception of social and economic inequality when compared to other sectors. With our activities we assist farmers and other sectors stakeholders to achieve a better understanding in the areas of agricultural development, agribusiness and agricultural markets.

We assist farmers with tackling challenges in the area of agricultural development, agribusiness and agricultural markets. Our team is specifically focused on international agricultural development that has the knowledge and skills how to create enabling environment for development of the agri-food industries in Western Balkans and Eastern Europe. In this area we are specialized how modern technologies can leverage the process of agricultural development.

Areas of activity


The main aim of any agricultural policy should be to help address the world’s long-term food security. Agricultural policy should help equal distribution of agricultural products and affordable price to those who need it in the most efficient manner, and provide a safety net for farmers that does not distort markets or planting decisions. Inefficient planning and short-term strategy for agricultural policies lead to increase or reduce of production, disrupting markets, and mostly results in shortage or oversupply when meeting consumer demands. Therefore, such policies are counterproductive and against real farmers.Agricultural policies that distort trade and production, such as price fluctuation, quotas and subsidies should be risk managed. Even with government support, farmers should be able to make decisions based on pricing, demand and climate conditions.

Our country level approach leverages partnership and advisory to:
  • » Decision-makers in priority agricultural sub-sectors to identify key problems and provide best solutions;
  • » Share key findings through events, workshops and webinars;
  • » Train local organizations and government entities to understand, create and apply best agricultural policy evidences from EU and the region; and
  • » Promote and facilitate the adoption of the most effective agricultural solutions.
Solutions:
  • » Make right decisions at right place and time – experts from Western Balkans and Central Eastern Europe bring unbiased expertise and agricultural policy views in agribusiness development and agricultural extension.
  • » Step ahead of competitors – Our fast decision solutions allows farmers to adjust quickly, appreciate the implications of agricultural policy changes and support for capital investments in agriculture.
  • » Easy to understand and apply CAP insights – With key analysis, you get a better grasp of the latest developments to help your decision-making and get close to CAP in terms of competitiveness and market-oriented farmer.
  • » Save your valuable time and reduce costs – GGP may serve you as one-stop-shop adviser for all your information, news and analysis related to your country’s agricultural policy and strategy.

Precision agriculture is a broad term commonly used to describe particular farm management concepts. Advancements in technology have enabled the practice of precision agriculture to expand, providing even greater advantages for farmers and agricultural operations, including yield monitoring and crop scouting.

By offering instructions of how to use this new technology, precision agriculture management concept is based on observing, measuring, responding to inter, and intro-field variability in different crops, thus giving great assistance and value to the farms.

Precision farming services ensure that you have access to all the information needed to make effective and successful decisions about agriculture production, sustainability and equip farm managers with the detailed information required to make better decisions and maximize productivity.

Properly implemented, precision farming philosophy, using grid sampling and mapping services, will help farmers to apply the right amount of fertilizer/pesticides at the right time and place on their farm.

Why PA is future that cannot be avoided?
New technologies and tools that policy makers can now use to track and predict food insecurity before it happens, allowing both farmers and policy makers to increase their adoption capacity.
  • » Improved Prediction - From satellites to ground-based remote sensors on the farms, we can forecast the drivers of food insecurity with increasingly higher degrees of accuracy and precise decisions on the spot.
  • » Improved Information - Slow policy prescriptions in developing world should not be obstacles for the farmers, as the true first respondents to any crisis are the farmers themselves.Farmers will receive agricultural information in local languages, increasing agricultural productivity in rural areas.
  • » Improved Data - There is an explosion on farming data producing globally, which is utilized by agricultural companies and farmers themselves to improve crop yields.We need the ability to combine satellite data with direct observation of sample target populations to create highly accurate predictions of when and how large targeted crop will be at its maximum optimized level and ready to harvest.
  • » Improved Policy - Yet improved policy will not come from national strategy or government alone, nor policy itself lead to greater food security for farmers and the rural communities who depend on them. We will need efforts and initiative to create technology innovations that directly benefit farmers.
  • » Improved Response - On one hand, PA can help us better predict farm production and adapt to its effects, but on the other hand, there is still a global need to understand and begin producing with. Political will and leadership is needed to ensure that the economic gains from advances in technology are more widely distributed so that all farmers, not just the large-scale and corporation one, have the ability and access to modern PA tools.
By using precision agriculture services, farmers are potentially achieving the following:
  • » Significantly decrease the costs for plant nutrition and pesticides;
  • » Decrease water usage;
  • » Avoid the risks of weather changes;
  • » Fulfill the rigorous standards for food-safety;
  • » Fulfill environmental standards;
  • » Increase the available funds for re-investment;
  • » Make hard operation easy.

E-Agriculture involves the conceptualization, design, development, evaluation and application of innovative ways to use information and communication technologies (ICT) in the rural areas, with main aim to improve the communication and education process between involved stakeholders in the agricultural sector.

For example E-agriculture can be about delivering agricultural information and knowledge services such as market and input prices and extension services directly to farmers, via smartphones or other devices. Nowadays, small-scale farmers acknowledge the need for e-agriculture strategies, but most countries are yet to adopt a strategic approach in making the best use of ICT developments in the agricultural sector.The ICT opportunities and challenges for the agricultural sector emphasize new modern revenue streams and improve the livelihoods of the farmers and rural community.

The existence of e-agriculture strategy and its alignment with other government plans will prevent e-agriculture projects and services from being implemented in isolation. The outputs of e-agriculture policy are not static and changes in a country’s strategic context will require a dynamic approach to continuous updating so that it remains relevant.

Based on the e-agriculture vision and usage of ICTs, GGP team can assist you in creating strategies that include an e-agriculture vision, an action plan and a framework for monitoring and evaluating of the results.

Solutions:
  • » Bridge the gap between agricultural researchers, extension agents and farmers;
  • » Improve access to climate-smart solutions and deliver knowledge how to handle them;
  • » Provide wider business opportunity for local communities, especially women and the younger population;
  • » Assist with implementing regulatory policies, frameworks and ways to monitor progress;
  • » Increase access to financial services for rural communities, thus help them to secure savings and find affordable crop insurance; and
  • » Facilitate market access for inputs as well as product marketing and trade.

National and international database on farm information through collaboration between the public sector, agribusinesses and producer organisations in Western Balkan is highly needed. Small-scale farm’s business modelling approach is optimized in various ways, which include different farm planning activities such as: financial and economic feasibility on the farm, risk analysis, impact of agricultural policy decisions on each agricultural sub-sector, input and market-related price volatilizes on the farm and the long-term strategy and agribusiness projections.

Only agriculture with a useful ICT tool can make fully integration of the small-scale farmers within the value chain. This ICT tool has the possibility to:
  • » obtain operational and business information
  • » update on local and EU agricultural practices
  • » make financial and managerial strategies for profitable and sustainable farming
  • » make a common platform to share experience on farming businesses and farming systems can make fully integration of the small-scale farmers within the value chain.

Solutions:
  • » Fully integrated approach for empowerment of small-scale farmers through analyses and financial modelling of various small-scale households and understanding the economics of small-scale farming in given region or country.
  • » Developing several phases that include the process of identifying, constructing and evaluating different small-scale farms and their needs of integration within the value chain.
  • » Creating high quality, agricultural policy-relevant evidence and needs, together with national policy
  • » Technical assistance to apply for agribusiness support via IPARD Funds or any other eligible fund.

Small-scale farms in emerging markets are counted as one of the most important drivers of the local and rural economy. Regional food processors, traders and exporters should have strong relationship with small-scale farmers and offer support in different ways to achieve their growth potential.

Combination of different local stakeholders and long-term strategic and action plan are needed to be undertaken and professionalize the agribusiness to prepare it for sustainable growth. The marketing support small agribusiness receive, varies from strengthening of the management team to development of a marketing plan and from enhancing the network of farmers to implementation of new accounting or ERP software on their farm.

How GGP deals with development in agriculture and food market and in the effort of making market work for the poor?
  • » In partnership with experts and consultants in the field, we design and implement randomized evaluations to measure the effectiveness of programs and policies for agro-food marketing aimed at helping the poor and makes food affordable for them.
  • » Development of training resources to support the professional development of agro-food marketing.
  • » Series of events and webinars that provide helpful resources and information to new M4P approaches an opportunity for professional development for already established and interested parties.
  • » Our staff members are available to provide both in-person and remote training's and workshops for organizations that serve farmers (on-site and off-site events). GGP is able to tailor our training's to meet the needs of a variety organizations dealing with agro-food marketing and M4P.
  • » GGP also regularly consult with organizations seeking to enhance their knowledge of agricultural marketing development and expand their services for farmers and consumers

Baring in mind the importance of the sector, the Government of the Republic of Macedonia has significantly increased the support for the sector in the last 6 years. For the period of 2007-2011 the governmental financial support for the agricultural sector was 320 mil. EUR. In 2012 this amount is 130 mil. EUR.

This year the Government has introduced a new 5-year Program for financial support for agricultural and rural development with a budget of 725 mil EUR. Several new directions have been announced. In this context, GGP recognizes two aspects as crucial for the sustainable development of the Macedonia agriculture sector.

First, significant increase of budget for support of capital investments in the agriculture from 10% to 22% or on average about 37 mil EUR each year;

Second, all of the measure from the direct income support, starting from 2013, will be connected with fulfilling the criteria defined in local GAP. From 2015, fulfilling the local GAP will be mandatory for each of the farmers applying for direct income support or support for capital investments. Having in mind the above, GGP believes that there is a significant interest and potential for promotion and implementation of the Global GAP standard in the Republic of Macedonia.

The similarity of the agricultural sectors in the courtiers in the region (ex. Kosovo, Albania) broadens the GGP’s perspective outside the border of the Republic of Macedonia. The reasoning behind this idea is the following: Absence organized and consistent effort for implementation of food safety standards is nonexistent. There is significant amount of agricultural production (fresh fruits and vegetables) in all of the regional countries. There is evident Governmental willingness to support implementation of standards for food safety and sustainability. In order to keep the competitive edge in today’s modern markets of fresh agricultural production, accepting these standards is a paramount both for the business sector and the Governments as facilitators. GGP believes that by having an organized approach performed by well trained staff and sustainable budget will result into broader acceptance and implementation of the Global GAP standard both in Macedonia and in the region.

Women living in the developing countries traditionally have contributed to productive activities such as agriculture (mostly small-scale), agro-processing crafts and home industries, trade and commerce.Therefore, a tendency to underestimate their economic roles and under count their participation due to inadequate data and prevailing definitions of economic activity always exist.

While modernization has opened up economic opportunities in the rural areas, on the other hand it has led to a decline in traditional sources of income for many women, e.g., those engaged in the production of handmade and homemade items.

In the agricultural sector, the introduction of mechanization and new technologies generally has discouraged small-scale producers and disrupted traditional food systems of production and complementary between the roles of the two sexes in the smallholder family.

Low agricultural productivity due to lack of knowledge and technology on the whole, lack of income-generating opportunities and social services in rural areas have caused women to emigrate to the cities or shift their activities to another sector.

Solutions:
  • » Recognizing and enhancing women's actual and potential role in productive and social activities and their contribution to the national development process;
  • » Facilitating women's access to productive resources, services and social and economic benefits derived by national or EU funds;
  • » Strategy for reducing social, legal and economic constraints that depress women's ability to effectively participate in and benefit from productive and other development-oriented programs; and
  • » Capacity building of the institutions responsible for fostering social and economic participation of rural women in the development process.

Rural tourism can be defined as “untouched national treasures” that encompasses a wide range of attractions and activities taking place in rural areas. It is essential for the visitors to experience agricultural and/or natural environments of the country.

There are a wide and innovative set of rural and agri-tourism products and services available to the traveling public. It includes agri-tourism, agricultural fairs in rural areas, special events and festivals, the celebration of village historic sites, country fairs, etc. The extent to which these benefits are realized remains the subject of much debate. Certainly, there is evidence to support the claim that, as a vehicle of economic growth and diversification, rural tourism can make an important contribution to rural economy both at the level of the tourism operators and more widely in the local economy.

Solutions:
  • » GGP team works with destination stakeholders and tour operators to develop appropriate new products, supported by an effective PR and marketing program.
  • » Using our wide network of expert associates, we devise social and environmental safeguard policies, implement portfolios of revenue-raising methods, develop products and services and build local capacity to the economic value of local resources in a sustainable manner.
  • » Our team can integrate strategies that engage all interested parties and build supply-chain links between tourism, local enterprises, education and agriculture.
  • » We design and deliver strategies ensuring knowledge of the unique history and culture of destination informs visitors and local populations.
  • » GGP team can conduct well-researched and evidence-based feasibility studies and optional appraisals for a variety of tourism developments including eco-tourism trails.
  • » GGP team have experience in working with academic institutions and non-governmental and public sector organisations to carry out research on specific tourism issues and to design environmental indicators and development frameworks with focus on individual destinations or on a specific study area.

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