Project description / objective
To increase the incomes of households in rural Albania by promoting improvements in the efficiency and inclusiveness of the market systems for medicinal and aromatic plants (MAPs) and other non-timber forest products (NTFPs).
Market systems focus
Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (MAPs)
LED aims to promote sustainable and resilient business models and inclusive access to benefits for MAPs and other NTFP products in rural Albania.
Between 70,000 to 100,000 rural households in Albania harvest wild MAPs, storing them before selling to consolidators further up the supply chain. This harvesting has been an important source of income, particularly in mountainous regions of the country. It can provide up to 50 per cent of household income for poorer families.
An increasing number of households are now involved in the organised cultivation of MAPs (around 5,500 hectares), mostly around the Shkoder area. Rural households, however, are finding it increasingly difficult to earn a reliable income due to low prices (squeezing already very tight production margins for farmers), the depletion of wild MAPs from over-harvesting and large post-harvest losses because of poor storage practices.
Testing and introduction of improved MAPs drying and storage technologies
- New improved drying technologies have been tested, in partnership with local drying manufactures and MAPs exporters.
Introduction of mechanisation service delivery models targeting MAPs cultivators
- Partnering with local input suppliers and retailers to increase the local availability of MAPs mechanical infrastructure.
- Co-financing and collaborating with local MAPs business to introduce mechanical attachments specialised for works in MAPs cultivation. This will reduce the cost of harvesting, weeding and hoeing by 50 per cent for farmers and businesses taking part.
Testing of new MAPs plant varieties and other inputs, particularly organic ones
- Partnering with local input suppliers - this includes certified commercial nurseries, local agro-input dealers/retailers and larger agro-input importers - to increase the variety and quality of seeds and seedlings they offer to local MAPs producers (farmers and buyers).
- Funding experimentation on new MAP varieties and providing technical assistance to inputs suppliers to develop distribution models to ensure products are accessible to MAPs producers.
Introduction of better contract farming arrangements and business driven extension service
- Undertaking research and engagements with key intervention stakeholders - buyers and farmers - and developing models to improve the relationships between MAPs farmers and buyers.
- Partnering with MAPs buyers to pilot and test the introduction of a new/improved contract farming model and support the improvements of business-driven extension service.
Awareness on export market standards and quality of local testing infrastructure and certification services
- Undertaking research on potential partners for organic certification and developing partnerships with the market actors.
- Partnering with MAPs buyers and supporting them to develop improved quality control systems.
Improve local municipal capacity to manage land for MAPs cultivation
- Signing an MoU with local municipalities to work together to promote the sustainable management of wild MAPs and allocate abandoned land for the cultivation of MAPs.
- Supporting municipalities to develop improved systems and processes for leasing unused land to MAPs businesses.
Notable results (systemic change, poverty impact)
MAPs exporters and local collectors co-invest in improved drying technologies sourced from local manufacturers
- At least three new storage facilities with drying technologies are locally available for MAPs households
- 1,000 MAPs households (men and women) have access to better storage and drying practices and technology
MAPs buyers, local mechanisation service providers and/or producer associations access machinery and adopt better service delivery models
- 1,500 MAPs households (especially youth) have access to mechanisation services and utilities
Partner nurseries adopt improved practices and are able to produce higher quality and diverse range of seedlings and have more effective sales and distribution strategies
- 10 new plant varieties and other improved inputs are available locally to farmers
- 1,500 MAPs households (at least 30 per cent women) have access to new MAP varieties and other inputs
Buyers have written contracts with MAPs farmers and deliver quality services (information, extension, inputs) to them
- 1,200 MAPs households (at least 30 per cent women) have improved contracting arrangements with buyers
- 4,000 households (40 per cent women and youth) receive MAPs and other NTFP-related extension service
Organic certification is more affordable for producers - MAPs cultivators access and use organic inputs and comply with organic practices
Municipalities have improved wild MAPS monitoring system and processes for leasing land to MAPs businesses
- Established three contracts for renting previously abandoned and unused land for MAPs cultivation
- Six municipalities apply sustainable management practices for MAPs and NTFP products
Impact on poverty
The programme expects to contribute to income increases for more than 10,000 households in rural areas, as a result of improved market access (i.e. increases in the sales of MAPs for better prices) and the creation of employment linked to MAPs production. (figures will be provided in due course)
[uploaded March 2023]