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Enabling small-scale agribusiness to sell “from their doorway”

More than half of agribusinesses in North Macedonia are small-scale. These are often family owned, primarily grow for their own consumption, and rely on domestic labour. Many of them grow, collect and/or process products of non-animal origin – from fresh fruits and vegetables to processed products like jams and marmalade, home-made pasta and even beer, often applying traditional recipes.

Despite the difference in size and individual capacities from their large-scale counterparts, there is no separate regulation to allow for the sales of these products by small-scale farmers and food producers. This limits their potential to offer products locally, to earn additional incomes and to protect the legacy of local authentic food and traditional recipes.

With IME support, Slow Food Macedonia – member of the global movement for authentic food products – is facilitating policy reform and promotion in favour of small-scale farmers and producers.

Slow Food Macedonia first analyzed the constraints in local laws that currently prevent small-scale producers to sell their products at the farmgate. They also assessed the challenges and positive practices from the region and the EU. The full Analysis is available HERE.

Based on their findings and assessment, Slow Food developed a Flexibility Rulebook, outlining the minimum standards for production facilities, hygiene, equipment and materials that small-scale producers need to meet in order to sell their products. Through a wide consultative process with the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Veterinary Agency, and industry actors, the Flexibility Rulebook now needs to be adopted as a bylaw.

Slow Food Macedonia is also building a registry of small-scale producers to keep them informed about the relevant regulation, funding and promotion opportunities, and to allow customers to find them.

The new bylaw tailored to capacities and needs of small-scale producers will enable sale “from farm gate” to local customers but also to tourists. The possibilities are plentiful. Small-scale producers will utilize their full (economic) potential, increase their sales, create more jobs and contribute for sustainability of small and family-owned agribusinesses.