Agriculture is still of great importance to the economy of Northern Macedonia, but the sector that has increased most during the 1990s is the service and service sector.
According to countryaah, Northern Macedonia’s economy is heavily dependent on the outside world, and it has been hit hard by the region’s many conflicts. By participating in the economic sanctions against the former Yugoslavia, it was suspended from its dominant export market. At the same time, a Greek trade blockade against present-day Northern Macedonia disrupted much of the country’s business. At the end of the 1990s, some economic recovery took place, but as a result of the conflict in Kosovo in 1998-99 and the ethnic unrest in the country, the economy deteriorated again. During the 1990s, the country received loans from the IMF against the implementation of agricultural reforms and privatization of business. All in all, these measures slowly led to an improvement in the economy, but at the same time also led to widespread protests against increased price levels.
Agriculture is still of great importance to the country’s economy. Livestock (sheep and cattle) account for just over half of agricultural production.
Arable farming is mainly located in the river valleys. About 20 percent of the agricultural area is irrigated (including Bitola and Prilep). The most important crops are wheat, barley, corn, rice, tobacco, cotton, sugar beet, citrus fruits and grapes. The milling units are generally very small.
Northern Macedonia imports more agricultural goods than it exports, but the country has the condition of becoming self-sufficient.
Raw material resources and energy consumption
Northern Macedonia has limited mineral deposits. The most important export products are nickel iron as well as steel and oil products. Copper ore is mined in the eastern part of the country, lead and zinc ore in the eastern part of the country, nickel at Kavadarci in the south and brown coal at Suvodol in the south-east.
Most of the energy demand is covered by coal and oil; coal is mined in the country while oil (mainly crude oil) is imported. Renewable energy types contribute just over 24 per cent to total production. Some rivers are utilized for water energy, but the wind power is poorly developed. Nuclear energy is missing.
After the Second World War, extensive industrialization took place. However, the industrial investment has been relatively unilaterally focused on heavy industry based on existing mineral deposits (especially iron).
The Skopje area developed from the Second World War until the country’s independence into one of Yugoslavia’s most important industrial centers. In addition to the metallurgy sector (including iron and steel mills), there is the engineering, food and textile industry as well as the chemical industry, which is also in Veles. In Kavadarci is a large iron and nickel plant. During the 1990s, the industrial sector was gradually privatized. Most recently, privatization has reached SMEs, while the larger, often obsolete companies are still owned by the state.