Agriculture covers almost 50% of Macedonia’s surface area, contributes approximately 16% of the country’s GDP and provides employment to 36% of the workforce. Less than 10% of agricultural land is irrigated and rural livelihoods are vulnerable to climatic factors, as annual crop water deficits can reach up to 450 mm in some eastern regions. Agriculture is expected to be exposed to prolonged heat waves, more severe droughts and floods, crop moisture deficits, especially during summer, increased exposure to new pests and diseases. In some regions, without adaptation measures reduced yields of wheat of 21% between 2000 and 2025 and 25% between 2040 and 2050 and a reduction in maize 56% in 2025 and 86% in 2050 are predicted. For livestock breeding, higher temperatures predict slightly reduced reproduction and prolonged conception, increasing non-productive days. Future climate risk is intensified by Macedonia’s relatively low productivity associated with a lack of adaptive capacity to the present climate. The length of the growing period will increase as the number of frost days is projected to decrease greatly, however productivity losses from temperature and rainfall regime changes are expected to offset any potential gains.
This section provides insights into the climate change impacts on agricultural productivity indicators and the trends in agriculture related socio-economic indicators.