Russia’s war in Ukraine has negatively affected North Macedonia’s agricultural exports. Growers like Ljube Pampulevski and other apple growers in Debar, exported more than half their crop to Russia. Now, the war in Ukraine has sent relations with Skopje into a tailspin, and exporters are hurting.
Of course, North Macedonia has signed up in full to the Western sanctions slapped on Moscow. However, Russia hit back in December with temporary restrictions on all plant products from North Macedonia, citing the discovery of a “highly dangerous” stink bug on imported apples.
“At the moment, apple growers who sell a large percentage of their product on the Russian market are severely affected by the temporary ban on imports of Macedonian products, specifically fresh fruit and vegetables,” said Dejan Beshliev, executive director of the Macedonian-Russian Chamber of Commerce.
Pampulevski, who is president of the Fruit Growers’ Association ‘Blagoj Kotlarovski’, said that after Russia comes Bulgaria, the second biggest market for North Macedonia agriculture. “The Bulgarian market is next on the list,” he said. “They need apples, especially because their domestic production has decreased recently.”