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Greenhouse farmers unite/ Set floor prices for new products

2024-02-27 07:30:00, Ekonomi CNA

Greenhouse farmers unite/ Set floor prices for new products

A large group of farmers from the areas of Berat, Fier joined these days to obtain floor prices in negotiations with collectors and exporters.

The agricultural season has begun to yield the first greenhouse crops. Cucumbers are now being harvested, but the price of the pickers reached less than half the cost at only 20 lek per kilo last week.

Exposed to market prices, without financial support from the government, farmers tried to band together last week to set a floor price for new produce. For two days, the producers agreed not to sell, blocking the export as well. In this way, they managed to sell at the beginning of this week at over 60 Lek per kilogram, almost double compared to the previous week.

"There is a distortion of the market and the price, always to the detriment of the producer. In addition to the exporters, there are several intermediary aggregators. These manage to divide the farmers by giving low prices, since the production does not wait, it must be harvested immediately. Farmers under pressure to sell as soon as possible, otherwise the loss deepens, accept prices that do not even cover the costs," said Mariglen Ziu, a farmer with a long experience of growing in greenhouses in the Samatica area in Berat.

Ziu said that joining with other farmers to negotiate sale prices was a precedent that could apply to other times.

Last year, greenhouse vegetables, cucumber and tomato, were exported at quite high prices above 100 ALL per kilogram, due to the lack of production in Spain and Italy. Based on last year's profits, farmers expanded their greenhouses this year, but wholesale prices are not the same as last year, but much lower.

"We have received information that this year the prices of vegetables in European markets are lower, but we are totally at a loss if we sell a kilogram of cucumber for less than 70 lek," said farmer Ziu.

Unlike those in the Region and Europe, Albanian farmers do not benefit from direct support from the government, but our country has the geographical advantage that starts the production season at least 20 days before other countries in the Region, benefiting from higher export prices in this period. However, the internal market structures suffer from high surveillance and speculation, causing all the anomalies of the agricultural chain to fall on the producer.

Albanian agriculture in general suffers from high production costs, due to high land fragmentation and lack of mechanization, high input costs, etc.

These costs are not even mitigated by government subsidies as in other countries. This trend is making Albanian products non-competitive with imports, as exports have started to shrink rapidly. In January 2024, the export of vegetables recorded an annual decrease of 20%, while imports in this group increased by 80%./ Monitor Magazine

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