Macedonia's rural areas suffer devastation, depopulation: report

Source: Xinhua| 2017-07-18 23:25:38|Editor: yan
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SKOPJE, July 18 (Xinhua) -- Rural areas in Macedonia occupy around 87 percent of country's territory but the fact that these areas are suffering devastation and depopulation is a serious concern for the country in general, an analytical report said Tuesday.

The report, which was developed by the Federation of Farmers of Macedonia (FFRM) and the Macedonian Platform against Poverty, was presented Tuesday at a press conference in Skopje.

Professor Emel Tuna, one of the authors, said rural poverty had become a serious problem for Macedonia, with less than 50 inhabitants living in 21 percent of villages, a maximum of ten in 104 villages, while internal migration reached 34 percent.

"About 87 percent of Macedonia's territory is rural, encompassing about 45 percent of the country's population," she said.

According to her, state of agriculture is an important factor affecting rural poverty, because it is the primary activity of a large portion of the rural population.

Professor Tuna also voiced concern on the fact that about 77 percent of the rural population active in agriculture belonged to the category unpaid labor, which is more visible among rural women.

"63 percent of these women are not active, do not have access to education, and if employed, take half the salary that a man would take for the same job. Moreover, rural women are deprived of the right to property, and are not aware of the traditional discrimination," Tuna said.

Biljana Petrovska, of FFRM, said that statistical data on rural poverty were never presented while there were given only recommendations.

According to the authors, the analysis is based on official data from the State Statistical Office, World Bank, European Commission, Freedom House, Transparency International, UNDP, and Center for Research and Policy Making etc.