For Immediate Release
TIRANA, JANUARY 22, 2010 Today, USAID launched a new initiative to support the development of Albania’s agricultural markets. In a ribbon cutting ceremony at Tirana’s Wholesale Market, USAID official, Sean Huff, and Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Food and Consumer Protection, Tokli Thomai inaugurated the new Market Information and Trade Facilitation Office. The office, in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Consumer Protection and the Agri-food Traders Union, will collect market data for select agriculture commodities, disseminate information regarding prices, availability and market trends to wholesale traders, and facilitate sales transactions between farmers and wholesale traders.
At the ceremony Mr. Huff described how the office would address several issues constraining the development of Albania’s agriculture sector.
“Timely and accurate market information is key to reducing uncertainty about market trends. It enhances competition among farmers, traders and consumers, and enables farmers to respond effectively to market demands,” said Huff. “Through programs like the opening of this new information office, USAID hopes to enhance the competitiveness of the Albanian products in domestic and international markets.”
USAID’s Albanian Agriculture Competitiveness program supports input suppliers, farmers, processors and traders to increase productivity, improve quality, respond effectively to business opportunities, and establish long-term business relationships.
Although the concepts of market information and trade facilitation offices are relatively new to the region, its application is expected to result in a significant increase in sales transactions and reduce the reliance on imported fruits and vegetables.
Initial steps have already begun to produce results. Since USAID and the Ministry of Agriculture launched Albania’s first multi-media information system in January 2009, SITA (Information System for Trade and Agribusiness) has been providing thousands of farmers and traders with daily wholesale and retail prices for 22 commodities from four major markets around the country. The information is sent through newspapers and the internet notifications and also broadcast throughout the day on two national television channels. SITA also produces weekly and monthly market analysis reports.
For more information about USAID activities to support the Albanian agriculture sector, please visit http://albania.usaid.gov
Last updated: October 31, 2013