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Greenhouse farmers, depressed by low prices, throw production down the drain

2024-03-28 07:25:00, Ekonomi CNA

Greenhouse farmers, depressed by low prices, throw production down the drain

While in Tirana, the prices of greens and vegetables in February were higher than last year and the stalls are full of imported products, greenhouse farmers in Lushnjë-Fier and Berat are throwing the products into the irrigation canals.

The photo below is a channel in the area of ??Samatica in Berat, with the highest intensity of greenhouses in the country. The channel is filled with greenhouse cucumbers, which are not being sold at a low price.

Mariglen Ziu, who has a greenhouse where he grows vegetables for years, said that now at the peak of production, speculations have increased.

A kilogram of cucumber, in the minority points in Tirana, is sold these days from 100-140 Lek, while greenhouse farmers cannot sell more than 30 Lek a kilogram.

"This price is far below cost. In order to ensure survival, we need to sell at least 60 lek a kilogram," said Ziu.

He said the greenhouse business continues to be high risk dependent on weather conditions and market conditions.

Last year, due to weaknesses in production, in other Mediterranean countries, greenhouse farmers secured satisfactory profits after selling tomatoes and cucumbers wholesale at the farm for 100 Lek per kilogram.

But this year, the situation has changed. The production of the first season of vegetables has been good throughout the Mediterranean causing export prices to be lower.

But while European farmers are protected from changes in market prices, since they are subsidized, Albanian farmers are completely exposed to changes. The losses of one season for them are too much, as this negatively affects the second plantings and investments in increasing the areas.

In the minority markets in Tirana, a kilogram of cucumber in February was sold at least 4.6% more than last year, while wholesale prices in greenhouses have fallen by 70% compared to last year.

In addition to having no financial support, farmers are vulnerable to speculators. Production is at its peak and the harvest cannot be postponed.

The gatherers take the produce without prices during the day and later in the evening they charge low prices to the farmers who cannot keep stocks.

On the other hand, food import channels have been reawakened and are intensifying, discouraging even more farmers and ranchers to practice their profession.

For all of 2023, food imports by volume increased by 10% compared to 2022, the highest expansion in the past two decades.

In December, the quantities of food imports intensified even more, increasing by about 27% compared to December 2022 and in January 2024 they were 20% higher than in January 2023./ Monitor magazine 

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