Albanian Agriculture Competitiveness (AAC) Program

Given the importance of agriculture to the Albanian economy—it provides income for nearly two-thirds of the rural population and accounts for close to a quarter of the country’s gross domestic product—AAC has the potential to make a lasting contribution to sustained economic development and improved livelihoods across the country. The program works with producers, suppliers, and processors along promising value chains to increase productivity, improve quality, and access better markets in Albania. The program’s value chain approach assesses constraints to competitiveness and provides long- and short-term technical assistance, training, linkages to financing, and targeted performance grants to address these constraints. AAC has expanded the number of postharvest handling facilities and collection points in the country, and has developed export of watermelons and cabbages. The market information system developed by AAC addresses information constraints by providing daily price reports on 22 market commodities in Tirana and four regional markets. A major project focus is to transition management of the system to the Albanian Ministry of Agriculture to ensure its sustained availability.

Sample Activities

  • Increase productivity, improve quality, and access better markets in Albania.
  • Assess constraints to competitiveness and provide long- and short-term technical assistance, training, linkages to financing, and targeted performance grants to address these constraints.

Select Results

  • Watermelon exporters entered new markets in Norway, Russia, Switzerland, and Hungary, exporting 9,000 metric tons of watermelon—a 60 percent increase from the previous year, with a value of $3 million.
  • Launched the Taste of Albania program, a national brand aimed to identify Albanian produce of the highest quality in an effort to build the reputation of Albanian produce.
  • Progressive farmers from Albania’s coastal areas are supplying personal-size watermelons to ASDA Supermarkets, the British subsidiary of Walmart, the world’s largest food retail chain. AAC facilitated the initial contact between a local export company and ASDA. The program also assisted the selection of a watermelon variety suitable to the British market, enabled members of Divjaka 07 Farmers Association to meet European Standards, and mentored the exporter in trade logistics.

Client: U.S. Agency for International Development
Contract: 2007–2013