For Immediate Release
Farmers across Kosovo gathered in Pristina to promote local produced strawberries on June 5 through June 8. The Strawberry Promotional Days are organized by USAID in partnership with Kosovo’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Development, to link Kosovo’s strawberry farmers with consumers. The promotional event should not only expand the market for fresh strawberries and jams, but also inspire more domestic farmers to begin cultivating the berries as well, according to officials.
“USAID works with roughly 100 growers to actively promote the adoption of new strawberry varieties and technologies, as well as innovative ways of handling, packing and marketing the soft fruit, “ said Mission Director Maureen A. Shauket as she talked to the farmers joined by Minister of Agriculture Blerand Stavileci. “The efforts are helping those producers sell everything they can grow, all while supporting USAID’s wider goals of fostering growth, creating jobs and generating exports,” concluded Shauket.
The 17 participating farmers reported selling 2,300 kilograms of fresh strawberries the first day. One of those farmers, Halim Baftiu, predicted he alone would sell 700 kilograms by the event’s end. More than 11 tons of strawberries were sold, which is more than 22,000 euros.
At the farm and nursery level, USAID has introduced new strawberry varieties, along with new methods of cultivating the fruit, to Kosovo. In addition, USAID, through its New Opportunities for Agriculture program, assists growers to meet international standards, including Global G.A.P. The voluntary good agricultural practices certification covers food safety, sustainability, worker welfare and the responsible use of water and other resources.
To further expand sales of Kosovo’s strawberry crop, USAID plans in coming weeks to stage a similar promotional event in Tirana, the capital of neighboring Albania and a promising export market.
Last updated: May 20, 2014