The measure has as a general objective the support for investments, destined to the improvement and rationalisation of processing and marketing of agricultural production in order to accomplish progressively the accordance with the Community standards, contributing thus to the increasing of competitiveness and added value for these products, being in the same time a sector with a big potential in creating new jobs.
The agro-food processing sector is of great importance to the Macedonian economy. This is due to the volume of production, its share in the employment as well as the dependence of the agricultural sector on the food processing industry. There is a strict correlation between agro-food processing and the pace of farm modernisation. The processing plants have a “pulling effect” on their suppliers (agriculture holdings) for quality improvement of raw materials. Therefore, they considerably stimulate modernisation of farms.
The processing plants are increasingly interested in large uniform deliveries of raw materials, which meet the required quality standards. This condition may be fulfilled only in the case of deliveries provided by large specialised farms or smaller farms associated in agriculture cooperatives or producer groups. The establishment of competitive and viable processing and marketing structures is one of the key priorities of the structural adjustment of the sector. The improvement of marketing structures is a decisive precondition for the successful development of the country’s agriculture.
Consequently, the operational objectives are focused towards improving the conditions for agricultural products processing and marketing in order to enhance their competitiveness on both domestic and foreign markets. To achieve competitiveness and processing efficiency, the EU requirements must be met. The food industry has to be rendered more effective and flexible to meet the changing market requirements and consumers’ demands, this can be done by increasing the production of value added products and thus providing primary agricultural producers with benefits. At the same time, implementation of necessary environmental standards linked to the processing plants operations are targeted under this measure.
The investments attempt to address the encountered weaknesses in the concerned priority sectors:
1031 Wine production
1032 Fruit and Vegetable processing (including fruit and vegetable collection centers)
1033 Milk and milk products (including milk collection centers)
1034 Meat processing (including slaughter houses)