Albania, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, and Turkey are the five countries with the status of "candidate".

Economic importance of agriculture (updated March 2019)
Albania Montenegro North Macedonia Serbia Turkey
Total area   (km​2​) 28 750 13 812 25 713 88 407 783 562
Population (million) 2.8 0.6 2.1 7.2 78.7

Population density (km2​)

97 45.0 83.5 81.9 100.4
GDP (USD) 13 billion 4.84 billion 10.9 billion 42.5 billion 851.5 billion

GDP per capita (USD)

4 320 7 782 5 311 5 900 10 940
Percentage share of agriculture in GDP 22.9 8 2.9 7.5 7.5


Agriculture in Albania

Agriculture is one of the main sectors of the Albanian economy, generating approximately 23% of the country's GDP and providing employment to around 43% of the total employed.

Utilised Agricultural Area (UAA) is 1.18 million ha, which is 40.5% of the total land area of the country. Half of the UAA is arable land, 43% is permanent grassland and 7% is land under permanent crops.

Agricultural production has increased at an average rate of 3-3.5% since 2003. The increase in yields has been substantial for grapes, potatoes, milk from cattle and goats, eggs, fruits and fodder. Fruit production (including grapes) increased by 70% between 2000 and 2008, animal production by 21% and arable crops by 10% (even though wheat areas decreased markedly). The production of vegetables has increased notably, particularly in greenhouses.

The most predominant problems are:

  • migration from rural areas,
  • very limited size of holdings (average of 1.2 ha – compared to 14 ha in the EU),
  • poor marketing of products,
  • underdeveloped irrigation and drainage systems,
  • low technological level,
  • weak organisation of farmers and low level of development of the processing industry.

EU agricultural trade with Albania

The Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) put into contractual provisions the preferences granted under the autonomous trade measures applied since 2000, by which most Albanian agricultural products had duty and quota free access to the EU. The exceptions were live bovine animals and meat of bovine animals, sugar and wine (for sugar and wine, tariff quotas were agreed).

Regarding imports from the EU, the two sides agreed on:

  • elimination of the customs tariffs for the products defined as non-sensitive;
  • gradual liberalization for the mid-sensitive products in the transition period lasting until 2010;
  • constant customs protection for the highly sensitive products, and duty free quotas for common wheat and wine.

In spite of the favourable treatment, Albania has a significant trade deficit in agricultural products with the EU.

The EU is Albania’s main trade partner with around 66.7% of Albanian agricultural exports destined to EU markets and 57.8% of Albanian imports coming from the EU.

The country remains a net importer of agricultural and food products.

Related information

Albania's overall accession process

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Accession negotiations with Montenegro opened in June 2012, with Chapter 11 – agriculture and rural development opening in December 2016. Montenegro has to meet two closing benchmarks: an implementation plan for the establishment of an integrated administration and control system and an implementation plan for the setting up of a paying agency.

Agriculture in Montenegro

Montenegro has a surface area of 13,812 square kilometres, which represents 0.35% of the EU. Agricultural land accounts for 38% (517,000 hectares) of the total territory. Covering a relatively small area and benefiting from a Mediterranean climate, Montenegro’s agriculture is quite diversified – from growing olives and citrus fruits in the coastal region, through to early seasonal vegetables and tobacco in the central parts and extensive sheep breeding in the north.

The average size of utilised agricultural land per holding is 4.6 hectares but it is important to underline that 72% of the agricultural holdings are up to 2 hectares in size. The farm structure is dominated by small family farms, which produce mainly for their own consumption.

Agriculture is by far the largest activity of the rural population – more than 60,000 households obtain their income partly or entirely from agriculture.

EU agricultural trade with Montenegro

The SAA gives Montenegro unlimited duty-free access to the EU market for all agricultural products with the exceptions of baby-beef and wine, for which duty-free quotas apply. The SAA provides gradual improved market access for Community exports to Montenegro, albeit asymmetric, unilateral protection of Community geographical indications for agricultural and fishery products and a wine and spirit drinks protocol granting reciprocal concessions for certain wines and the reciprocal recognition, protection and control of wine, spirit drinks and aromatised wine names.

Montenegro joined the Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA) on 6 September 2007 and is a member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Montenegro is a net importer of food products. Neighbouring CEFTA countries are the main exporting/importing destinations, accounting for around 80% of the trade. Serbia is the main partner, accounting for over 55% of agricultural imports and 40% of total exports.

Related information

Montenegro's overall accession process

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North Macedonia

Agriculture in North Macedonia

North Macedonia is a land-locked country that is prevalently mountainous and intersected by large valleys. Hills and mountains account for around 79% of the land area with the balance made up of plains (19%) and natural lakes (2%).

Out of the total territory of the country:

  • 1.261 million ha or 50.1% is agricultural land (cultivated land, permanent pasture and meadow, land used for permanent crops and kitchen gardens);
  • 44.3% are under forests;
  • while about 4% are water and other surfaces.

In 2013, cultivated land represented around 509,000 ha or about 40% of total agricultural land. From the total cultivated land, 81% are under arable land and gardens, 3% are under orchards, 4% under vineyards, while the meadows represent 11%.

The country is largely hilly and mountainous; the combination of Continental and Sub-Mediterranean climate, characterized by long, warm summers and short, not too severe winters, and fertile soil provide generally excellent conditions for the production of a range of food products.

The structure of the agricultural sector is characterized by small-sized family farms, owned or leased, and highly fragmented into small parcels. The state firms are generally much larger.

Almost the totality of the gross agricultural output (around 70%) is generated by crop production, notably wheat, and vegetables as the main contributors. Potatoes, tomatoes and peppers dominate the vegetable production and make North Macedonia a net exporter of processed vegetables. Other important agricultural products are fruit, cereals, tobacco and grapes for wine production as well as for direct consumption. Livestock output has a lesser importance; dairy farming with cow milk production dominates this sub sector.

The agriculture sector contributes to GDP for nearly 10% and is relatively stable. As in many Western Balkan countries, almost half the population live in rural areas. Officially, almost one fifth of the working force is employed in agriculture. Agriculture has always served as a shock absorber for the socio economic and structural changes in industry and other sectors of the economy.

The agri-food processing industry has always played an important role in North Macedonia. Over the last 10 years of privatisation, the industry suffered from political changes and difficulties in adaptation to market economy. The recovery and market-oriented focus is gaining ground.

EU agricultural trade with North Macedonia

The SAA gives free access to EU markets for almost all the country's agricultural products. Exceptions remain for sensitive products such as wine, baby beef, fisheries and fish products, for which duty free tariff quotas have been agreed.

Regarding the market access for EU products, the SAA allows for the complete elimination of tariffs for the non-sensitive products and the gradual liberalisation until 2011 for the mid-sensitive products. For the most sensitive products custom protection will remain. A number of import quotas into the country have been agreed. The most significant products having a tariff rate quota (TRQ) are certain citrus fruits, certain meat products, maize, (sunflower) oil, sugar, olives and animal feed.

North Macedonia joined the Central European Free Trade Agreement in 2006 and became a member of the WTO in April 2003.

The product groups accounting for the largest share of EU agricultural and food exports to the country (in value) are meats, food preparations, edible oils, and fruits.

Tobacco, vegetables, wine and fruits are the main imported agriculture commodities into the EU. Tobacco and tobacco products represent more than one quarter of total agricultural imports from the country. Wine is mainly imported as bulk wine. The country is also a net exporter of processed and preserved vegetables, such as processed peppers or preserved gherkins, cucumbers and mushrooms.

The EU is the most important trading partner of North Macedonia as far as agri-food and fishery products imports are concerned. However for exports the majority is exported to the CEFTA countries, mainly to Serbia.

The country remains a net importer of agricultural and food products.

EU–North Macedonia relations

North Macedonia was the first country from the region to sign the Stabilization and Association Agreement in 2001. North Macedonia submitted an application for EU membership on 22 March 2004. At the end of 2009, the Commission judged that the country reached a sufficient degree of compliance with the membership criteria and recommended to open negotiations. This recommendation was repeated in subsequent years.

As a candidate country, North Macedonia is eligible for the five components under the IPA assistance, including the Rural Development component – IPARD. The IPARD programme sets out detailed objectives for the agricultural sector and describes measures to achieve them.

Related information

North Macedonia's overall accession process

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Accession negotiations with Serbia opened in January 2014. Negotiations on Chapter 11 – agriculture and rural development have yet to open.

Agriculture in Serbia

Serbia's utilised agricultural area is 3.44 million hectares, which accounts for 43% of the total territory. Arable land is the predominant land use (73%) followed by permanent grassland and crops. Characterised by rich land resources and a favourable climate, agriculture represents a vital sector of the Serbian economy.

Of the 631,552 agricultural holdings, nearly half of these are less than 2 hectares using only 8% of the area. Serbian terrain ranges from the flat and rich lowlands of Vojvodina in the north for crop farming and vegetable production, to hilly terrain in central Serbia and high mountains on the eastern, western and southern borders of the country, suitable for sheep and cattle breeding, and fruit and wine production.

Serbia has significant comparative advantages in agriculture, thanks to the abundance of high quality agricultural land, a strategic trading location and good general educational background.

EU agricultural trade with Serbia

The SAA gives Serbia unlimited duty-free access to the EU market for all agricultural products with the exceptions of baby-beef, sugar and wine, for which duty-free quotas apply. The EU provides an annual duty-free quota for 181,000 tonnes of sugar and sugar products and a baby-beef quota is fixed at 8,700 tonnes. Serbia benefits from a duty-free TRQ of 67,300 hl for wine, of which 55,000 hl must be quality wine and 12,300 hl bulk wine.

The SAA provides gradual improved market access for EU exports to Serbia, albeit asymmetric, unilateral protection of Community geographical indications for agricultural and fishery products and a wine and spirit drinks protocol granting reciprocal concessions for certain wines and also reciprocal recognition, protection and control of wine, spirit drinks and aromatised wine names.

Serbia is a member of CEFTA since September 2007 and is currently negotiating membership of the WTO.

Related information

Serbia's overall accession process

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Agriculture in Turkey

Agriculture is of key importance to Turkey, both in social and economic terms. About half of Turkey's total land area is devoted to agriculture, which is slightly above the EU average. Turkish accession would therefore add about 39 million hectares to the EU's agricultural area. This would represent 20% of the EU agricultural area. In 2014, 21% of the workforce was employed in agriculture.

The farm structure in Turkey shows similarities with some of the new EU countries. According to the 2011 census, there are approximately 3 million agricultural holdings in Turkey (compared to approximately 12 million in the EU), most of which are family farms employing family labour. Holdings are smaller than EU average (6 ha, compared to an EU average of 13 ha).

Subsistence and semi-subsistence farming is an important characteristic of Turkish agriculture. These farms are typically characterised by productivity of the factors of production being low and only a small fraction of production being marketed.

In the arable crops sector, Turkey is a major producer. In 2017, the production of cereals in Turkey (including rice) was 36 million tons. As regards nuts, Turkey is a major world player, in particular for hazelnuts (largest world exporter). Turkey is very competitive in terms of quality / price ratio thanks to its climate and low labour costs.

For other crops, Turkey appears to be a competitive producer (in EU and world terms) of certain grain legumes such as chickpeas and lentils, of cotton, and of some qualities of sugar, tobacco and olive oil. For animals and animal products, Turkey has a highly protected market including import restrictions. Turkish meat consumption per head is about 1/5 of EU average, for sheep meat, it is higher than in the EU. Consumption of cow milk is at half the EU level, while eggs are consumed at a slightly lower level than in the EU.

EU agricultural trade with Turkey

Turkey is the EU's 9th largest destination and 8th largest supplier of agricultural goods.

Turkey has a trade surplus with the EU (EUR 816 million in 2017) mainly due to exports of edible fruits & nuts, vegetables, preparations of fruit and vegetables as well as tobacco and tobacco products. Turkey also has important trade relations and a trade surplus with countries in the Mediterranean basin and the Gulf region.

The EU mainly exports food preparations, bakery products, oilseeds, cereals and tobacco products.

Bilateral trade liberalisation in agriculture is asymmetrical: Turkey has granted relatively lower preferences on agricultural products than the EU. As regards Turkish exports to the EU, the situation is very different. Roughly 80% of Turkish agricultural exports to the EU enter duty free.

Related information

Turkey's overall accession process

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Potential candidates

Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Kosovo have the status of "potential".

Economic importance of agriculture (latest update March 2019)
Bosnia and Herzegovina Kosovo
Total area (km​2​) 51 209 10 908
Population (million) 3.8 1.8
Population density (km2​) 75.1 165
GDP (USD) 17.3 billion 7.2 billion
GDP per capita (USD) 5 093 3 900
Percentage share of agriculture in GDP 3.3 10

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Agriculture in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Agriculture is one of the most important economic activities in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In 2016, the country had 2.2 million hectares of agricultural land, out of total area of 5.113 million hectares of the country, of which 1.6 million hectares was arable land and 600,000 hectares were pastures.

Bosnia and Herzegovina is relatively poor in agriculture resources: large parts of the country are mountainous (66% of the territory is considered mountainous or hilly) and only 20% (approx. 1.0 million ha) is suitable for intensive farming. High availability of grassland and mountainous pastures suggests a potential advantage for production of livestock and dairy products. Orchards and vineyards cover approximately 100,000 hectares.

The structure of the agricultural sector is characterised by small sized family farms, which to a large extent are produced for home consumption – over 50% of agriculture holdings are estimated to be less than three ha.

Agricultural production in Bosnia and Herzegovina is dominated by crop production, with livestock production representing less than one third of the total output. Slight increase of this share in recent years is due to the increase in cow milk production. Economically, the most important sub-sector of the country's agriculture is vegetables. Of considerable importance are also fresh cow milk, maize and potatoes.

EU agricultural trade with Bosnia and Herzegovina

Since 2000, Bosnia and Herzegovina is benefiting from the autonomous trade measures (ATM's) granted unilaterally by the EU allowing for free access to the EU market for almost all agricultural products, except for wine, some fishery products, sugar and baby beef, where tariff quotas apply. Initially granted for a five-year period, these measures were extended until 2015.

The SAA put into contractual provisions the preferences granted under the ATMs, and in addition, included other trade issues, such as services, procurement, intellectual property rights and competition. The SAA between Bosnia Herzegovina and the European Union entered into force in June 2015.

Bosnia and Herzegovina joined the Central European Free Trade Agreement on 6 September 2007. Bosnia and Herzegovina is not yet member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

The EU remains Bosnia and Herzegovina’s key trading partner for agricultural goods. In 2017, exports of agricultural products to the EU made up 35% of total agricultural exports. Imports of agricultural products from the EU accounted for 52% of total agricultural imports.

The product groups accounting for the largest share of agricultural and food imports (in value) of Bosnia and Herzegovina are beverages, cereals, tobacco, edible preparations, sugars and dairy products.

Out of the total exports of the country, edible preparations, beverages, fruit and vegetables account for the largest value. The export to the EU consists mainly of sugars (isoglucose), vegetables, fruits and nuts, animal or vegetable fats and oils and raw hides and skins. The predominant kind of vegetable exported to the EU is mushrooms (fresh, chilled, dried or frozen). The most exported fruits are fresh plums and frozen raspberries.

The country remains a net importer of agricultural and food products.

EU-Bosnia and Herzegovina relations

Bosnia and Herzegovina participates in the Stabilisation and Association Process and is committed to engage in necessary political, economic and social reforms leading progressively to a closer relationship with the EU and to a potential future accession.

The negotiations on a Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) were launched in November 2005. On 16 June 2008, the SAA was signed, but only entered into force in June 2015.

The EU is the largest provider of financial assistance to Bosnia and Herzegovina with €690 million in EU pre-accession funds.

Related information

Bosnia and Herzeggovina's overall accession process

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*This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence.

Agriculture in Kosovo

Agricultural holdings are very small and mostly semi-subsistent. Average land holding per family is about 3.2 ha, of which on average 1.6 ha is arable land, typically fragmented into six to eight plots. 97% of holdings are less than 5 ha, while there are less than 1% of holdings above 10 ha.

Similarly, herd size is small. The majority of agricultural households with cattle have 1-3 cows. Besides being one of the most important sectors of the economy, agriculture also provides a social safety net for a large number of poor and elderly people that depend on subsistence farming for their livelihoods. Food expenditure represents a high proportion of total household expenditure.

EU agricultural trade with Kosovo

The SAA between the EU and Kosovo entered into force on 1 April 2016. The SAA represents the first comprehensive contractual relationship between Kosovo and the EU and an important milestone in Kosovo's European integration process. It put into contractual provisions the preferences granted under the autonomous trade measures.

Regarding trade of agricultural products, Kosovo enjoys a quasi-full duty-free access to the EU market with the exception of agricultural products of headings 0102 (live bovines), 0201 & 0202 (beef meat), 1701 & 1702 (sugar), and 2204 (wine).

For fruits and vegetables, the ad-valorem duty is reduced. For wine, Kosovo enjoys a specific quantity of 20,000 hl out of the total quota of wine (50,000 hl) available for the Western Balkans.

In addition, the SAA affords Kosovo a TRQ of 475 tons of baby beef at reduced duty. Regarding the market access for EU products, the SAA allows for the complete elimination of tariffs for non-sensitive products and the gradual liberalisation for the mid-sensitive products. For the most sensitive products, custom protection remains.

Related information

Kosovo's overall accession process

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