Swiss Ambassador Adrian Maître visited Lushnja and met with successful exporters ‘Doni Fruits’ and their supplying farmers and collectors who are currently working to obtain the Global G.A.P group certification.
“I’ve learned that there is a lot of requirements for the standards to be fulfilled. They guarantee the quality of the products and the environment, and both are very important for the final customers and the market” – said Ambassador Maître after visiting a melon greenhouse that follows Global G.A.P. requirements.
“The solution for Albanian exports to access higher value markets is complying with required EU standards. It opens doors to EU supermarkets” – said Ejup Ahmeti from ‘Doni Fruits’.
In Kemishtaj, Swiss Ambassador visited BioBes, company with a long family history in gathering and packing medicinal plants in several regions in Albania. Their cornflower field as well as other operations in the country provide 400 rural families with their main source of income.
Swiss-funded RisiAlbania project supports BioBes investments in drying technologies and their expansion of cultivated medicinal and aromatic plants. The company aims to increase their share of cultivated plants from a current 6% to 51% in 2022, as well as apply organic certification for all of its products.
“I have seen a huge opportunity and potential for employment, new jobs, incomes and investment for Albania. This is what the country needs, and what the citizens and the young generation in particular and also the private sector need” – stressed Ambassador Maître during his visit at this organic plot.
With RisiAlbania’s support, agribusinesses have created 25 quality jobs for young women and men so far. The project is targeting 100 full-time jobs to be created by the end of 2019, and about 300 by the end of the project through its agribusiness partnerships. In parallel, Risi agribusiness partners have invested 200,000 € so far, and the project aims to catalyse a total 750,000 € of productive investments in 2019.
While private agribusinesses are motivated to expand their business and investments, they often are challenged regarding international and EU standards. This is where RisiAlbania is playing an intermediary role by introducing these standards, opening new market opportunities and improving employee working conditions. Adhering to EU standards is a promising start for further expansion of businesses and for more employment opportunities in the private sector.