SFYN Conference: introducing Macedonia!!

De YFM organiseert in het weekend van 10 december een internationale jeugdconferentie. De komende week stellen de deelnemende naties zich voor. Vandaag Zwitserland!
Okay, the lead was in Dutch, but the rest is in English. It is an interntationalconference we are organizing, right? YFM Netherlands is proud to receive a group of European youth that works on a better, cleaner and more fair system of food production. The weekend of December 10th, Terra Madre Day – the day on which Slow Food members worldwide will come together to support each other, make plans for the future and share food – will be filled to the brim with discussions, presentations, workshops and good times. This week the international representatives will introduce themselves on this website. Today, it’s Darko Karakolevski from Macedonia! I love the smell of blog posts in the morning!

“It is not easy to swallow, the title of this article that is, but nor are more than 90% of the food sold on the market today. I’m not talking about what is on YOUR table for dinner, its more about what is on OUR tables and daily munch-list!
Oh, I forgot to introduce myself to you! Then, officially, hello! My name is Darko Karakolevski and I come from the small country Macedonia. I live in its capitol city Skopje, where I was born and raised. I’ve recently finished my studies in Agronomy more specifically in “Food Science and Technology”. Right now I’m demonstrator and research assistant at the laboratory of cereal biotechnology and the laboratory of malt and beer technology. But the education doesn’t stop here, it’s now continuing and I’m doing a masters research in plant biotechnology. In couple of words “I’m a nice guy” 😀

I’ll begin this with assumption that you don’t know too much about Macedonian food system?
Well, unlike some countries (most of the developed countries) Macedonian agriculture is still with over 60% of the arable area in a so called “extensive” agriculture. What that means is that the average Macedonian farmer owns not more than 0.3 hectares of arable land and cultivates it individually. On the other side, there is a strong influence from the “BIG” agricultural companies that are the “Zombie-Capitalistic” version of the so called “Agriultural Cooperatives” that grew big in the socialistic era. Macedonia was part of the Federation of Yugoslavia where a big agricultural re-form was taking place couple of times. What this means is that the average Macedonian farmer is now being crushed between the industrial magnates of the present and its shadow of the past. Cooperatives used to join in forces of the farmers to create bigger arable area, but in this “Agrarian Reforms” the governments both now and then gave big financial support to the cooperatives encouraging them to use more land, spend more fertilizers and pesticides and so on.

Thus the “Intensive Agriculture” was born!
Even in the time of extreme industrialization farmers kept farming the traditional way the arable land mostly around their houses. In this way preserving the tradition and still overcoming the crash of the socialistic system, and the extreme amplitudes of success and income rate of today’s “Agricultural Companies”. So basically Macedonian “small” farmers know Permaculture, sort of. But the troubles don’t stop here. The constant threat from the un-loyal competition, such as big supermarket chains and agro-stock market wholesalers, is ruining the position of the small local producers who usually place their products on the well established infrastructure of green markets trough out Skopje and other cities in Macedonia.The problem mainly sits in the poor awareness of the “Average Macedonian Consumer”. With proper education and propaganda, these issues may come to an end. That’s why we are all taking action right?

This article is reaching the 500 words limit so, for the end I’d say that I’m getting tremendously excited about the meeting!!! And I can’t wait to see you all and meet you in person. We will have a blast!!!”
The same goes for us, Darko! Thank you and see you soon!