Dutch-Albanian joint venture starts raspberry farm

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times May 22, 2015 09:03

Dutch-Albanian joint venture starts raspberry farm

TIRANA, May 20 – A Dutch and Albanian joint venture has introduced modern berry cultivation techniques in Albania such as the cold treatment of plants to postpone harvesting.

Under a Dutch government funded project, Superberry Albania is already cultivating raspberry, a rare fruit in Albania and has already had the first harvest, in the area of Divjake, southwestern Albania. The project targets contributing to poverty reduction through creation of economic activity, employment and improved income, says the Dutch embassy in Albania.

For Superberry Albania the coming weeks will be an exciting period on how the first harvesting will turn out.  A Dutch farming expert is advising them this first period.

“One of the challenges is to attract enough farmers to get trained and contracted, to get workers insured, the product certification, but also to farmers who will have to cooperate more with each other,” the embassy said.

Instead of going through the whole production chain themselves, this joint venture plans to introduce packaging and distribution for the whole group of farmers. “Working in cooperatives is needed in Albania to scale up production, but given their historic past, people are not really fond of it,” experts say.

Despite some important challenges, the advantage of harvesting twice a year, once outside the common season, access to fertile land and many farmers make it a promising picture for the project to succeed. Interestingly, the project intends to hire mainly women, because they are better pickers.

Lack of organization creates a vulnerable position for farmers in Albania in the value chain, making them an unattractive segment for most banks, a study financed by the Dutch embassy in Tirana has found out.

“Although climate and soils are excellent for farming, targeted agri policies, infrastructure in rural areas, a solid regulatory framework and effective monitoring quality and food safety standards by the government, transparent land ownership systems, access to good quality agri inputs and access to markets, enforceable securities for banks are partly absent or poorly developed in Albania,” the study found.

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times May 22, 2015 09:03