Assessment of the market potential for local agriculture products in the Kukes region, to strengthen the market position of smallholder farmers

ADAD Malore is a Producers’ Organization focused on the mountainous areas of Albania, established in 1996. ADAD Malore has 600 members, and represents about 7,000 households. The PO focuses on capacity building including technical assistance and trainings, project support, consultation with governments and lobbying.

The Kukes region is known for several local products such as goat and sheep meat, plums and blueberries. The majority of farms in the Kukes region are small-scale, with limited production volumes. Collective action is limited due to a stigma towards cooperatives, low awareness on fruitful ways of cooperation and high barriers of communication between villages in the region. Identification of the market potential and promotion of these products is necessary to enhance the image and association with the Kukes region in the perception of consumers. With the support from ESFIM, ADAD Malore assessed the market potentials for particular agricultural products in the Kukes region, in order to strengthen the market position of smallholders. The outcomes were used to provide problem-solving recommendations for the members of ADAD Malore and producers groups.

A participatory (collaborative) strategy has been developed aiming to have a pathway that enhances the Kukes farmers’ access to the market but also to create an environment to discuss policy related issues. The strategy has been developed in collaboration with the actors along the value chain as well as representatives of policy makers.

Main outcomes

  • Farmer members have learned to conduct a market assessment of specific agricultural products in the Kukes region.
  • Sensitization took place of different actors on market potential for specific products in the Kukes region.
  • Clear strategic directions have been created on the basis of joint work with the forward-looking strategic document to increase market access for local products to combat poverty.
  • Increased awareness of consumer preferences and customer preferred types of attributes and sensitization on how to increase consumer information by compiling a list of farmers who can produce typical products for the market.
  • Members learned to showcase these attributes in product preparation and promotion.
  • Direct sales opportunities were considered in the fairs. Exhibition preparations have taught ADAD members how to cooperate in preparing their products for the market.

Lessons learnt

  • Farmers work from consumer demands in guiding their production.
  • Farmers understand that the preparation of modern value chain products is not cutting-edge science, but a process that needs care and information.
  • The close link between agricultural products and heritage in the broadest sense (environmental, traditional, cultural, …).
  • Important to build the capacity of women farmers to earn money through direct selling and to sell their products with their experience.