The Vardar planning region extends in the central part of the Republic of Northern Macedonia and covers the middle catchment area of the river Vardar, the lower streams of the tributaries Bregalnica and Crna Reka and the extreme western part of Ovchepole.
It covers an area of 4042 km or 16% of the territory of the Republic of Northern Macedonia. This region includes 9 municipalities in which 215 settlements are located. The region is characterized by an extremely low population density of 38 inhabitants / km (compared to the country average of 81 inhabitants / km) and a large concentration of population in urban areas (about 69%). Almost half (four) of the municipalities in the region are rural.
The Vardar planning region has excellent climatic conditions for the development of agriculture and especially viticulture. Agricultural land covers an area of 145,699 ha (12% of the total agricultural area in the Republic of Macedonia), of which arable land is 70,006 ha and pastures 75,666 ha. In this region there are about 45% of the total vineyards in the country. The total area under forests is 150,009 ha (15% of the total forests in the Republic of Macedonia). The wood mass is 8.8 million m (11% of the total wood mass in the country), while the planned cutting edge of the wood mass participates with 10%.
Of the mineral resources in the region, the most important economic importance are ferronickel ores, and perlite, talc, quartzite and diatomaceous earth are present.
Water resources of the region are the lower reaches of the rivers: Vardar, Crni Drim, Bregalnica, Babuna, Topolka and Otovica which give the opportunity to build 6 hydro reservoirs, of which three have been raised so far – “Tikves”, “Lisice” and “Mladost”.
Natural and cultural-historical heritage
From the abundant natural and cultural-historical heritage in the region, the nature reserve “Tikveshko Ezero”, the natural monument “Demir Kapija” and the archeological site Stobi stand out, which are important resources for the development of tourism.
The long tradition of wine production enables the development of wine tourism. The region also has the potential to develop mountain tourism through the construction of the Kozuf ski resort.
Population and demographic characteristics
According to the 2002 census, the Vardar planning region had 154,535 inhabitants. The region is characterized by an extremely low population density of 38 inhabitants / km 2 with a high concentration of population in urban areas.
The region has exceptional potential for economic development. The central position in the country, Corridor 10 and the highway, the proximity of the two airports (Alexander the Great and the cargo airport Stip), the railway and the river Vardar as recipients are preconditions that make the region an exceptional business destination.
The existing road infrastructure in the Vardar planning region consists of about 909 km of local roads, 56.5 km of highways, 60.5 km of highways and 577 km of regional roads.
Part of the railway line Skopje-Veles-Gevgelija-border with Greece in the length of 106.6 km passes through the Vardar planning region, as well as part of the line Veles-Bitola (45 km), the line Gradsko-Sivec (16.3 km) and part of the line Veles – Kocani (15.6 km). The total length of the railway network is 183.5 km, which is a density of 44.2 km per 1000 km, which is above the national average of 27 km. In this region are located three airports for commercial aviation (Peshirovo – Sveti Nikole; Crveni Bregovi – Negotino and Rosoman – Kavadarci).
The region borders the Skopje planning region and has relatively good and fast access to Skopje International Airport in Petrovec, Skopje.
It is important for this region that part of the Thessaloniki-Skopje oil pipeline passes through it, which extends along Corridor 10.
In terms of electricity, TPP Negotino has a special significance, and in this region is the Dubrovo substation, which has a central place for transmission of electricity inside the Republic of Macedonia and to (from) Greece. In the area of Negotino there are opportunities for coal mining for electricity generation, but this option should be further explored.
The use of the hydro potential of the river Vardar with the energy project of the Vardar valley is of special interest as an energy potential of the Vardar region.
The Vardar region has a large number of sunny hours a year, as well as a significant presence of wind, so there is a possibility to use the energy of wind and sun.