Funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Seal of Quality and Agribusiness Assistance for Macedonia project aimed to enhance the competitiveness of Macedonia’s food production and processing industry. This enabled it to achieve a greater market share in the domestic market and access select export opportunities. The project further transformed the Seal of Quality, started earlier under Land O’Lakes’ highly-successful Macedonia Agricultural Marketing Activity (MAMA) project, by promoting the increased production and consumption of quality domestic food products, enhancing consumer awareness of food quality issues and heightening collaboration among individuals and companies in the Macedonian food sector.
The project bolstered fruit and vegetable growers and processors’ ability to identify and satisfy domestic and international markets. The project accomplished this by helping clients develop new products, increase access to new technologies, and establish new and strengthen existing market linkages—including strategic partnerships with retailers. To facilitate additional exports, Land O’Lakes supported the sheep sector’s farmers and processors by implementing international quality standards that improved quality and production of meat and artisanal cheese. We also played a supportive role in the USAID-funded Macedonia Competitiveness Activity program led by Booz Allen Hamilton, which expanded lamb exports.
The Seal of Quality Agribusiness Assistance for Macedonia project met or surpassed all targets and goals. Highlights of its impact included:
- We assisted 20 meat and dairy companies to earn an upgraded “Seal of Quality” for 99 products using 87 new technologies;
- Assisted 11 fruit and vegetable companies to receive British Retail Consortium (BRC), Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HAACP), International Organization for Standardization (ISO) or European supermarket Good Agricultural Practices (EurepGAP) certification, introducing 17 new production technologies; and
- Worked with four lamb and sheep dairy production facilities to implement improved processing and quality standards to deliver meat and dairy products to EU markets.
Of the meat/dairy sector companies assisted through the Seal of Quality effort, 48 percent experienced an increase in sales revenue of at least 15 percent, and 42 percent of fruit and vegetable companies or farms we assisted increased revenue or decreased marketing costs per unit. The project provided technical training to over 8,100 participants—both directly to firms and in concert with in-country business service providers—via 134 training sessions, seminars, and workshops.