One of the most profitable fields to invest in Albania is Agriculture. The market is dominated by imports and the land is not getting in use by locals, for many reasons. One of them is the lack of investments and funds in this field. The favorable climate and low-cost rural workforce make Albania a good investment destination in the agricultural sector. Compared to other countries in the European Union, where the agriculture sector represents around 2 percent of GDP and 6 percent of jobs according to the statistics of Eurostat, the agriculture sector in Albania is a significant sector in the country contributing the highest part to the GDP with an average annual contribution of 20 percent and employing more than half of the workforce, according to the Institute of Statistics (INSTAT).
Although it is expected that the sector will develop quickly, it remains inefficient and labor-intensive, dominated by small agricultural producers. As of 2009, there were 353,000 registered farms in Albania and total production was valued at EUR 632 million. The number of enterprises operating in agribusiness has not changed significantly during the past years, maintaining on average about 2,000 enterprises.
The general level of interest in investing in this sector has generally been low, mostly due to certain issues faced by the sector such as: migration from rural areas, poor marketing of products, underdeveloped irrigation and drainage systems, poor technological and infrastructure level, weak organization of the farmers, low level of development of the processing industry, etc. However, with the energy and road infrastructure rapidly improving or scheduled to improve in the mid-term, the sector looks more attractive.
One of the sector’s selling points is that most of its agricultural products are generally free from artificial additives or pesticides, placing the country in a promising position to become an important producer and exporter of quality organic foods. Some agriculture sub-sectors with a high potential for export and with great investment opportunities include: medicinal plants and herbs, vegetables, canned products such as olives/olive oil, fresh and processed fish, etc.
Photo credits: Wikipedia / Punica granatum
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