Albanian grains remain in warehouses due to the lack of a market

2023-11-12 13:00:00, Denoncim CNA

Albanian grains remain in warehouses due to the lack of a market

In Albania, the areas planted with wheat and corn increased this year, but farmers say that they are not selling the production because of the very low price that is affected by the import of cereals.

In Gjirokastra, the production of wheat went this year for the needs of family consumption, while the cost of grain production was lower than last year.

Farmers say they will be in trouble for new plantings if they don't sell this year's produce.

Cereal producers increased this year the areas planted with wheat and corn in Albania due to the increase in the price of wheat in foreign markets last year, but also favored by a support scheme of the Albanian government.

In the Gjirokastra area, especially in the Drino Valley, the interest of some farmers who rent land increased, but they also faced production challenges.

Clinton Beqari, who cultivates wheat, corn, oats and alfalfa in this area on an area of ??about 500 hectares, talks to the Voice of America about this year's production.

"We plant wheat, oats, alfalfa, corn, we plant them all and in total there are 4 crops, about 500 hectares. To some extent we have done well with corn production, wheat has not been in very good production this year. But we hope for an increase in the trading price, because the price is very low at the moment for both wheat and oats and corn".

"The price of wheat, corn and oats this year has decreased to about 30 allek per kilogram from 50 allek per kg last year. The production is being stored in the warehouse and if the selling price does not increase, we risk bankruptcy," says Clinton.

Low prices for the sale of wheat may prevent farmers from planting new crops this year, says Balin Bineri, a specialist at the Gjirokastër Agricultural Services Directorate, for the Voice of America.

"The price is very low compared to previous years, but even compared to the total expenses with income, this will cause the balance to put the farmer in difficulty and thus a part of the farmers who have planted for trade, maybe even can be somewhat inhibited in new plantings.”

Mr. Bineri further says that the subsidy scheme brought an increase in the area planted with wheat in the three districts of Gjirokastër, Përmet and Tepelën, but a return to the previous situation is expected.

The area planted with wheat increased in all areas of the district by about 250 hectares more than a year ago and it is about the plantings of last autumn, but the expectations are that for this year the cultivation of wheat will fall and go to those levels that have been before.

According to the data of the Ministry of Agriculture, about 4 thousand farmers were supported at the national level for planting wheat with about 5 million USD, while the areas with wheat increased by about 4.5% compared to last year.

Mr. Bineri says that a series of factors must be considered to encourage the cultivation of these crops, while also ensuring competitive markets in relation to the import of cereals.

While Mr. Beqari says that this year there is a reduction in the price of chemical fertilizers, but production costs continue to remain high.

"This year, the prices of chemical fertilizers have fallen somewhat, but the problem is that we bought them expensive last year, and this is last year's production, despite the fact that it comes out a year late, but all of them were bought very expensive."

However, Clinton says that he will continue planting as he has received corn and wheat seeds for this year as well.

"We will definitely plant this year as well. We have taken all the measures, we have the land, we have received the seeds and we are prepared for everything. We will continue to work until we go bankrupt, we have no other choice. We have entered into this "dance" and we will throw it to the end".

According to the farmers themselves, one of the factors affecting the low selling price of wheat and corn is the import of grain.

Albania meets about 50% of its needs from domestic production and the rest is mainly imported from Serbia, Ukraine and Russia.

Most of the grain import, about 40% according to the data of the Institute of Statistics, was realized this year from Serbia and the import prices are mainly 31-32 lek per kilogram.

According to the General Directorate of Customs, during this year for the period January-July, about 130,351 tons of cereals were imported, while in 2022, 135,409 were imported, while in 2021, about 159,000 tons of cereals were imported./ VOA

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