Formal and informal networks in rural areas





In the framework of the Regional Research Promotion Programme in the Western Balkans (RRPP), the Public Policy Research Center (CENTAR) takes part in a research ‘The impact of socio-economic structure of rural population on success of rural development policy’.

The project is financed by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and lasted 12 months, until July 2015.

Leading project partner is the Association of Agricultural Economists of Republic of Macedonia (AAEM), while co-partners are CENTER and individual researchers from the Faculty of Agriculture and Food Science, University of Sarajevo.

The goal of this research is to support the socio-economic development in rural areas by understanding motivational factors behind the behavior of rural population, as well as the structure and organization of their formal and informal networks. Research results will serve as a basis for recommendations to policy makers and local communities, in order to increase effectiveness of the rural development policy instruments, and ultimately to mitigate the social disparities between rural and urban population.

Members of the regional team have, at the first meeting in October in Skopje (Macedonia), discussed common problems in rural development policies of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia and Serbia. Key identified challenges in all three countries are: inconsistencies of rural development policies, farmers don’t have much or any information about programme, and they have low level of trust in institutions. For these reasons farmers are not easily ready to apply for rural development programme. During the meeting team has examined criteria for selection of regions in which field research will be conducted. Decision was to select one region with more intensive and one with less intensive agricultural production in each of the countries. At the same time members have agreed on the structure and content of questionnaire for field research in rural areas of three countries.

Field research which has begun at the end of November simultaneously in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Macedonia, should provide answers to the following questions: How much farmers know about rural development programmes and subsidies offered in each of three countries? How they evaluate application process? How they evaluate their experience with using measures of rural development programme? What are the key motives behind their decision to apply or not apply for measures of rural development programme? Who supports and advises them on rural development programme?

In addition, this research will help us to map and to determine structure of formal and informal social networks which farmers use in order to advance production at their farms; motives and reasons for cooperation with other farmers, as well as motives and reasons behind farmers' decision to participate or not participate in organisations and/or associations in rural areas. 

See more at Regional Research Promotion Programme in the Western Balkans RRPP


Regional team of the project by the end of February visited Fribourg University (Switzerland). On that occasion, training for the members was organized, and preliminary research findings were presented and considered. Members of the regional team also dealt with methodological challenges in further statistical data processing. 

At the regional team meeting held on 2-3 April in Belgrade project team reviewed the final findings of the research, as well as the final structure and content of the monograph that will be the end result of the project. Also, members of the project team reported on which scientific conferences will results of a project be presented and in which scientific journals they will be published.

At the meeting in Belgrade members of the regional project team have established uniform approach in preparation of national policy briefs, which will be presented to relevant stakeholders in the countries encompassed by the project (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, and Serbia).

Research findings have been published as scientific papers and policy briefs. Research results and policy recommendations were presented in May at the RRPP Annual Conference in Ohrid (Macedonia) and at the round table in Belgrade on 24 June 2015.

Article: The impact of socio economic structure on rural population on sucess of rural development policy, Ohrid 2015

Announcement of the round table in Medija center

Report from the round table

Policy brief

The Monograph: The Impact of the Socio-economic structure of Rural Population on Success of Rural Development Policy in Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia. Authors: Ana Kotevska, Natalija Bogdanov, Aleksandra Nikolic, Dragi Dimitrievski, Aleksandra Martinevska Stojcheska, Emelj Tuna, Tatjana Milic, Ana Simonovska, Ruzica Papic, Lenka Petrovic,  Mirza Uzunovic, Emir Becirovic, Branka Andjelkovic, Dragan Gjoshevski and Nenad Georgiev. August, 2015 The authors are researches from the Association of Agricultural Economists (AAEM) of the Republic of Macedonia, Public Policy Research Centre (CENTAR) from Serbia, and individual researchers from the Faculty of Agriculture and Food Science, University of Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina.