- Last Updated on: June 23, 2009
Albanian Farmers Supply U.K. Retailers
With USAID assistance, progressive farmers from Albania’s coastal areas are supplying personal-size watermelons to ASDA Supermarkets, the British subsidiary of Wall Mart, the world’s largest food retail chain.
In front of the second, 20-ton truck of watermelons bound for the 36-hour refrigerated journey across Europe, Mr. Josif Gorrea, Managing Director of Bruka Seedling Company, beamed with pride for what this shipment not only meant for his company but also for Albanian agriculture in general.
“Importers from the European Union are becoming aware that Albania is capable to become a reliable supplier of quality products,” said Gorrea. “This is an exciting day.”
USAID’s Albanian Agriculture Competitiveness Program facilitated the initial contact between a local export company and ASDA Supermarkets. USAID mentored the buyer on trade logistics, helped select a watermelon variety suitable for British tastes, thereby enabling the Divjaka 07 Farmers' Association to meet European Standards.
Albania, located on the shores of the Adriatic Sea has a number of advantages for the production of specialty crops like watermelons, namely its proximity to the European Union, a specialized workforce and unique agro-ecological conditions. Yet, to date, farmers and traders have had difficulties meeting EU standards and accessing markets.
USAID is currently implementing a comprehensive program to capitalize on these competitive advantages to develop the agricultural value chains, which include introducing advanced production technologies, providing market information and market intelligence, and most importantly, developing the capacity of agribusiness entrepreneurs, like Mr. Gorrea, to penetrate and sustain export sales.
“The support of USAID is not only benefiting our farmer association, but all farmers and traders of Albania,” said Mr. Gorrea. “We now know that it is indeed possible to compete in the world’s most demanding markets.”