Recently a study was conducted at request of UNDP FAO-Albania, who is engaged in the Economic Recovery & Resilience project. This project aims to revitalize the competitiveness of SMEs after the 2019 earthquake in Albania. Within the framework of this project attention is also given to dairy farmers, from whom the industry shows a decline during recent years in terms of productivity and number of cattle. Bles Dairies Consultants Dirk Harting and Wytze Heida prepared a baseline study in cooperation with regional representative Gojart Smaja, mapping the current constrains of the fresh milk chain from dairy farmer to dairy processor.
The Albanian Dairy Market
The Albanian dairy market is largely informal, typical in lacking traceability in terms of food safety and has low productivity/efficiency due to smallholder farming concept. Hence, for Albania – being a candidate country for EU membership – there is a need to develop these areas for its dairy industry in order to become competitive against international markets (and standards).
Further dairy development
In the baseline study, recommendations are presented about possible ways to further develop formal market channels and integration of informal channels into formal market channels, addressing economy of scale in production and ability for the sector to monitor and to guarantee food safety aspects of fresh milk.
Many opportunities in Albania
We find that Albania offers many opportunities and potential for its dairy industry to further develop. The dairy consumers market is fresh milk oriented and dairy processors are strengthening their relationship with dairy farmers, offering services in collecting fresh milk and extension services for farmers to improve their production techniques. Possibly, this baseline study will assist in the process of preparing a comprehensive (national) dairy development plan.