Agricultural Entrepreneurs Reshape Kosovo’s Agricultural Sector

Speeches Shim

Friday, February 19, 2021
Farmers carrying the packs of harvest

Over the last six years, Kosovo’s agricultural entrepreneurs have continuously reshaped and increasingly transformed the agricultural sector.  Through USAID’s Agricultural Growth and Rural Opportunities (AGRO) activity, agricultural entrepreneurs increased land under cultivation by 4,048 additional hectares across 13 fruit and vegetable value chains.  The combination of the increased area under crop production and improved aggregation capacity resulted in $165 million in domestic and export sales.  Within six years, the activity created 5,440 new jobs (with 41 percent of these new jobs going to women, 44 percent to youth, and 18 percent to minorities), while attracting $16 million in private investment from farmers, strategic partners, municipalities, and other stakeholders.

More importantly, USAID assistance nurtured partnerships that will ensure the sustainability of systemic improvements and innovations in the agriculture sector.  Prior to AGRO, small-scale farmers in Kosovo produced traditional crops, like wheat and maize, and were isolated with farms scattered throughout Kosovo with no means of aggregating their produce.  USAID’s assistance brought all the players in this sector together, built trust among the strategic partners, and helped small farmers achieve economies of scale by working with others in similar positions.  This focus on the catalytic role private sector actors can play in Kosovo’s agriculture sector helped to change the way the sector works. Today, agricultural entrepreneurs have achieved a critical mass and are investing their own capital, developing their own capacity and market linkages, and defining a cadre of trusted suppliers prepared to contract and more strategically plan production.  New crops, such as asparagus and berries, new technologies, and additional hectares under cultivation are found in almost every Kosovo municipality.

USAID partnered with Kosovo’s Ministry of Agriculture, which contributed $3 million to the activity, allowing more agricultural entrepreneurs to receive grant funds and quality training in the production of berries and medicinal herbs.  The Ministry’s full collaboration also resulted in the adoption of more efficient procedures for its own grants program.  The Ministry of Agriculture continues to work through the established national associations, rather than individuals, to form and communicate grantmaking policy and serve as an important example of self-reliance in Kosovo. 

Last updated: March 05, 2021

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