Assessing Farm’s Performance by Farm Typology in Albania
During the economic transition the agricultural sector of Albania has changed significantly. This process continues parallel with global trends of periods of relative consolidation. The diversity of farm types is increasing in terms of both their production structure and production organization. Even though the farms are still small in terms of the average size, there is an increasing tendency of fallow land, due to emigration and migration of the rural population. This is mainly due to traditions, because households composed of several families use greater parts of farm land for subsistence. Farm size and fragmentation - Albania has a very large number of farms per unit surface area compared to other countries in the EU. The size variation differs according to regions: In average it is as follows: -higher in Western and South-Eastern Albania - in Fier 1.64 ha / farm; in Korçë 1.48. - smaller in Northern and North-Eastern regions -in Kukes 0.62 ha / farm. According to official statistics the size of farm plots increased from 0.20 ha plots in 2000 to 0.26 ha in 2011; which is equal to nearly 30% in a decade. But the total average size of field plots, in general is still too small to justify the intensification of production by replacing hands with machines. The crop pattern and crop rotation schemes significantly affect farm efficiency; it is dominated by wheat, corn, hay, vegetables, beans, potatoes, and orchards; the latter has a significant trend in favour of nut plants; while the cultivation of cotton, sugar beet, tobacco, rice, rape-seed, etc. is almost at a standstill in Albania. These changes result from: -farmers’ freedom in decision making according to market signals; -inefficient state support systems aiming at revitalising promising markets, which also led to: *a destruction of the processing industries for tobacco, cotton, rice, vegetable oils, sugar; *the loss of traditional export markets; *misallocation of financial resources. The transition from a central, planned economy to a market economy led to a general production fall in Albania, including agriculture. The specific contribution of agriculture to the GDP went down from 54.6 % in 1995 to 28.1 % in 2000, and has stabilised at this level, while the sector growth is estimated by about 3.6% per annum. Nearly 48.7% of the population in 2012 lives in rural areas where agriculture is the main source for both subsistence and income. In general, the cropping area for annual cultures decreased, except for wheat, vegetables and potatoes, while the area for forage as well as fruit trees increased. Actually, half of the cultivated cropping areas consist of fodder crops, which constitute also the high share of subsistence farming. In general, livestock is the most important agricultural sector in Albania. Its production value reached ALL 180,072 million, which equals to about Euro 1.3 bn. Animal products are a major component of self-consumption. Traditionally milk and its products in Albania are primary products also due to favourable natural conditions. Cattle are dominant in the low lands, while on the mountainous area sheep and goats. About 54.3% of the animal husbandry output is for subsistence. The dairy sector is particularly undergoing a continuous modernisation process. Due to the high number of investments being implemented along the dairy value chain, there is a very good product range in the markets, but there is also the risk of over-capacities. This may lead to a price war: increasing milk prices for the producers but decreasing consumer prices for the processors. There seems to be a strong need for collaboration and co-operation in the sector in order to meet / keep food safety standards. This might become a major subject for Albanian Government in the on-going process of becoming a EU member. Annual average milk yield per cow is approximately 2600 l. These tendencies in the ruminant livestock affected meat production; these categories are stagnating while pork and poultry production started to increase during the last ten years. A niche market for Albanian farmers is lamb market on the eve of religious holidays, and for export. Also due to political influence orchards are increasing in terms of size and productivity. The output growth over the decade 2000 to 2010 is estimated about 234%. Despite this significant progress, it is estimated that the surface of vineyards and pergola is still far from that of 1990s, and because of this, the potential for export markets is not utilised. The Albanian export -import balance for agro-food commodities is negative; 1/9.5. In general, the sector’s competitiveness is low due to the lack of sufficient knowledge; e.g. as how to use up-to-date inputs or establish input supply and marketing co-operatives. The production systems are preconditioned by factors such as 1) Traditions, 2) Family demands, and 3.) use of surpluses and seasonal produce to generate additional cash income. Because of this, there is a large overhanging of unemployed labour force. Within the production structure on arable land, the dominating crop is winter wheat followed by corn. Among the higher value cash crops, water melons, beans and potatoes have the largest shares. Disadvantageous as to several aspects, is the almost complete disappearance of technical cultures of crop rotation over the last 20 years; e.g. sunflower or tobacco. Unfortunately; the statistical database is weak and partly inconsistent for getting realistic information about yields in dt/ ha or profitability estimates. The decline in the acreage of cash crops is the result of the expansion of food crops.
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Academic Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies ISSN 2281 3993(Print) ISSN 2281-4612(Online)
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