“The people must eat, and we must continue cultivating the land”

Memet Sinani working in his bean field, North Macedonia. Photo: Blagojce Najdovski
Memet Sinani working in his bean field, North Macedonia. Photo: Blagojce Najdovski
As the corona pandemic unfolds and as the wider consequences for food security come more to the fore worldwide, Macedonian farmers are rising to the challenge, doing everything in their power to keep the country fed. One of those farmers is Memet Sinani, producer of wheat, beans and other crops, member of We Effect’s partner organisation, the National Federation of Farmers of North Macedonia.

“We must cultivate the land, the people must eat,” he says. And although concerned about his personal safety, he still manages to joke: “I don’t think that the coronavirus will find me in the field. It’s just me and my tractor there. But just in case, I always carry a mask in my pocket!”

During this time of the year the farms are buzzing with activity, but the question that arises is: Even if farmers do their duty, will the markets match up?

According to Memet, “there will be no problem with ploughing, sowing and production, but there might be a problem with sales.”

Delayed or interrupted supply chains may lead to consequences for farmers who will not be able to ensure placement for their products. “For the time being there is no problem but whether we will experience problems in the coming period depends on the measures adopted by the state,” says Memet.

The farmers have done their duty. It is now over to the government and the industry to be kind to them. The authorities should make special efforts to keep agriculture running smoothly, markets well supplied and consumers still being able to access and purchase food despite income losses.