Apples for every pupil in North Macedonia!

The pupils from the Institute for rehabilitation of children with hearing and speech impairments “Koco Racin” in Bitola, North Macedonia, receiving apples.

As part of We Effect’s IISEE project intervention, funded by Sweden, and implemented by our partner NFF, the Ministry of Agriculture of North Macedonia was supported in distributing apples as healthy snacks to 186 000 pupils in the country, while apple farmers got the opportunity to increase their incomes through improved purchase and placement of their apples on the domestic market.

Through the Ministry’s program for encouraging consumption of fresh fruits, our partner NFF along with the Euro Cost company from Resen is distributing 743 000 kilograms of home-grown apples from Macedonian farmers to 350 primary schools throughout the country, i.e. to 186 000 pupils.

Some of these little beneficiaries are the pupils from the Institute for rehabilitation of children with hearing and speech impairments “Koco Racin” in Bitola, that we visited to see how the distribution of the apples is happening on the ground.

As part of this field visit, we also met with the farmers who are supplying the apples as cooperants of Euro Cost company, sharing their experiences about this new model of work, based on the market system development (MSD) approach.

Essentially, the benefit of this model is that the apple producers have the opportunity to unite, and as a group, to improve the quality of their products, packaging and market connections. On the other hand, the final beneficiaries, in this case the primary school pupils, receive a healthy product of domestic origin in their school lunch.

The farmers, along with the representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture, the representatives of our partner organization NFF, the representatives of Euro Cost company and the representatives of We Effect in the distribution warehouse of the company, in Resen, North Macedonia.

But most importantly, this mechanism enables the installation of a systemic solution for the purchase and placement of agricultural products from groups of producers and improvement of the market linkages in the apple sector that will enable easier access to the market for smallholder farmers from the Resen region. It is expected that the intervention will stabilize their income and improve the attractiveness of this type of agriculture in the country.

And to some extent this is already bearing fruit. One of the important results of the intervention is that the buyout price of the apples has increased. Instead of selling their apples for the regular price of 8-9 denars, the smallholder farmers involved in this intervention are receiving 12 denars per kilogram of apples.

Ultimately, the aim is for this model of intervention to spread to other areas. In this context, already in 2023, the intervention continues with other fruits, vegetables, milk and dairy products that will be distributed to the schools as healthy snacks.

Home-grown Macedonian apples to be distributed to the primary schools throughout the country.

Written by

Ljiljana Mitevska