For Immediate Release
TIRANA, SEPTEMBER 25, 2013 Today USAID announced the launch of two new projects to support agriculture development in Albania. USAID/Albania Mission Director, Jim Barnhart introduced award recipients, AAC (Albanian Agriculture Competitiveness) Lushnje and Creative Business Solutions (CBS), in a ceremony attended by USAID/Washington’s Assistant Administrator of the Bureau of Europe and Eurasia, Paige Alexander, and the Minister of Agriculture, Rural Development, and Water Administration, Edmond Panariti, and several representatives of agriculture businesses, banks, and business associations.
AAC Lushnja was awarded an almost three-year $960,000 project to provide technical assistance to Albanian agricultural producers to increase the production of high-value commodities and support competitive commercial farming.
CBS was awarded an almost three-year $1.49 million project to work with banks and financial institutions to develop better agriculture lending services and products, as well as assist farmers and businesses improve their financial accounting and reporting, business plans, and loan applications.
USAID has been active in supporting Albanian agriculture since it began work in Albania in 1992. Early work focused on food security and basic agricultural techniques. Recent work focuses on making Albanian farmers and agribusinesses more competitive in domestic and export markets through advanced techniques, quality control, marketing and packaging. Much progress has been made over the past twenty years, but Albania still has a 7:1 import to export ratio for agriculture. Access to finance is one of the main concerns for companies. In fact, only approximately 2% of private loans go to the agriculture sector. More than 50% of the workforce is active in agriculture, and agriculture provides an important employment buffer and rudimentary social safety net during times of economic contraction.
Last updated: October 10, 2013