From: Exit News
Albanian Minister Claims Agriculture Needs No Financial Relief, Farmers Disagree

On May 6, Albanian Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Bledi Çuçi announced that the government would not draft a specific financial relief package for agriculture, as this sector has not been negatively impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Çuçi claimed that the country’s agricultural sector has seen an increase in production, export, and sales. Agriculture is the only sector of the economy that has not ceased its activity during the pandemic, the Minister said.

However, Albanian farmers seem to disagree. During the two months of the pandemic they have repeatedly made their grievances public.

A primary concern is a lack of seasonal laborers as a result of coronavirus preventative measures that have restricted movement and suspended public transport. Consequently, agricultural land has remained untilled.

Additionally, farmers have complained that their crops will be damaged as closing pharmacies has led to them being unable to purchase and spray their crops with pesticides at the right time.

The agricultural sector has also been faced with spoiled crops due to a lack of skilled harvest workers, who were unable to travel to farms once public transport was suspended.

A drop in local consumption and regional export demands has also led to decreased prices and the accumulation of unsold produce in warehouses.