The Balkan region has taken a step forward in co-operative development with the inauguration of the new Union of Agricultural Co-operatives of Macedonia.
The Union was established in Skopje and compromises of newly formed agricultural co-operatives and long-standing co-operatives.
It was created out of a democratic decision of its now-members and the Union’s objectives include: institutional representation of its members as well as information and service provision to its members.
In a statement, Cooperatives Europe, the Europe region of the International Co-operative Alliance, said: “Macedonia boasts a huge agricultural potential – both in quantity and quality of products and production – in horticulture, dairy, and wine sectors alike.
“The opportunities for market growth are abundant, as are the opportunities for widened distribution, branding, the development of new products, collaborations, and investments.”
Since it was founded in March 2012, the Union continues to collect new members.
Cooperatives Europe and COSV, along with seven partners (DGRV, Euricse, Cecop, Confcooperative, Legacoop, ZZS, FNCuma) have been working on a co-operative development project in Montenegro since June 2011, with the support of the European Commission.
These will help to form a network of co-operatives, from Montenegro to Albania, Macedonia and other Balkan countries.
“Through this network, partners and stakeholders alike wish to develop opportunities for investment, growth, and collaboration based on the local territory while bearing in mind the pre-accession context of many Balkan countries,” Co-operatives Europe explained.