The rural sector is one of the most important and largest sector in Albania, referring to the contribution to economic growth, gross domestic product, level of employment in the country and increasing the welfare of the population living in rural areas. The average small farm sizes, combined with the excessive land fragmentation, the low level of investments, poor infrastructure, and the loss of agricultural land due to the change of use, have been major structural challenges for the agriculture sector in Albania. The farm structures are dominated by smallholders with many small farms (1.2 ha/farm) and few large farms. Farmers and smallholders are critical for food security, as well as for poverty reduction of rural areas. The smallholder farmers facing a number of challenges such as lack of access to reliable and timely data on market prices as well as markets, inability to access appropriate infrastructure such as storage facilities leading to post-harvest losses or low prices as a result of low-quality produce. One way to counter the above challenges is through the agricultural value chain. If a strong market linkage is created, then it can lead to the development of the value chains, and stimulate an increase in the productive base of the smallholders. An effective market linkage increases opportunities for value addition which can benefit the farmers as well as the smallholders.
This paper is intended to highlight the importance of farmers and smallholders in the value chain as a key to sustainable development for the rural sector.
FAO. Smallholders and family farms in Albania. Country study report 2019, Budapest, Hungary, 2020.
Stoian, D., Donovan, J., Fisk, J., Muldoon, M. Value chain development for rural poverty reduction: a reality check and a warning. Enterprise Development & Microfinance, 2012; 23 (1): 54-69.
Sjauw-Koen-Fa, R. A., Blok, V., Omta, S.W.F. Critical Success Factors for Smallholder Inclusion in High Value-Adding Supply Chains by Food and Agribusiness Multinational Enterprises. International Food and Agribusiness Management Review, 2016; 19 (1): 83-112.
Tomorri, I., Keco, R., Meço, M., Kapaj, I. Rural sector development in Albania, strategies and challenges for its future. The 6th Virtual Multidisciplinary Conference-QUAESTI, Slovakia, 2018; 151-155.
Ayele, S., Duncan, A., Larbi, A., Tan Khanh, T. Enhancing innovation in livestock value chains through networks: lessons from fodder innovation case studies in developing countries. Science & Public Policy, 2012; 39 (3): 333-346.
Bhattarai, S., Lyne, M., Martin, S. Assessing the performance of a supply chain for organic vegetables from a smallholder perspective. Journal of Agribusiness in Developing and Emerging Economies, 2013; 3(2): 101-118.
Humphrey, J. and Navas-Alemán, L. Value chains, donor interventions and poverty reduction: a review of donor practice. IDS Research Report No. 63, Institute of Development Studies, Brighton, 2010.
Haggblade, S., Hazell, P., Reardon, T. The rural non-farm economy: prospects for growth and poverty reduction. World Development, 2010; 38 (10): 1429-1441.
Reardon, T., Barrett, C., Berdegué, J., Swinnen, J. Agrifood industry transformation and small farmers in developing countries. World Development, 2009; 37 (11): 1717-1727.
Reardon, T. and Timmer, P. The economics of the food system revolution. Annual Review of Resource Economics, 2012; 4: 225-264.
Trienekens, J.H. Agricultural value chains in developing countries: A framework for analysis. International Food and Agribusiness Management Review, 2011; 14 (2): 51-82.
KPMG. The agricultural and food value chain: Entering a new era of cooperation.http://www.kpmg.com/US/en/IssuesAndInsights/Articles/Publications/ Documents/agricultural-food-value-chain-report.pdf, 2013.
Sievers, M. and Saarelainen, E. Value chains for rural development: Key issues and policy options to promote value chains for rural development.http://ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/ed_emp/_ent/ifp_seed/documents/publication/wcms_161156.pdf, 2011.
Swinnen, J. and Miet, M. Globalization, Privatization, and Vertical Coordination in Food Value Chains in Developing and Transition Countries. Agricultural Economics, 2007; 37 (1): 89 -102.
Wiggins, S. Johann, K., Luis, L. The future of small farms. World Development, 2010, 38 (10), 1341–1348.
Hallam, D. International investments in developing country agriculture - issues and challenges”. Food Security, 2011; 3 (1): 91-98.
Bellemare, M. F. and Lindsey, N. Contract Farming and Food Security. American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 2016; 99 (2): 357–378.
Imami, D., Valentinov, V., Skreli, E. Food Safety and Value Chain Coordination in the Context of a Transition Economy: The Role of Agricultural Cooperatives. International Journal of the Commons, 2021; 15 (1): 21–34.
Catherine, K., Laurens, K., Amos, O., Isabelle, B., Cees, L., Julius, G. Value Chain Upgrading and the Inclusion of Smallholders in Markets: Reflections on Contributions of Multi-Stakeholder Processes in Dairy Development in Tanzania. The European Journal of Development Research, 2017; 29 (5): 1102-1121.
Giuliani, E., Pietrobelli, C., Rabellotti, R. Upgrading in global value chains: Lessons from Latin American clusters. World Development, 2005; 33 (4): 549–573.
Poulton, C., Dorward, A., Kydd, J. The future of small farms: New directions for services, institutions, and intermediation. World Development, 2010; 38 (10): 1413-1428.
Devaux, A., Torero, M., Donovan, J., Horton, D. Agricultural innovation and inclusive value-chain development: a review. Journal of Agribusiness in Developing and Emerging Economies, 2018; 8(1): 99-123.
INSTAT. Statistical Database, 2021.
World Bank. Annual Report. World Bank, Washington, DC, 2021.
Barrett, C. B., Bachke, M. E., Bellemare, M. F., Michelson, H. C., Narayanan, S., Walker, T. F. Smallholder participation in contract farming: comparative evidence from five countries. World Development, 2012; 40 (4): 715-730.
Burkitbayeva, S. and Swinnen, J. Smallholder agriculture in transition economies. Journal of Agrar Change, 2018; 18: 882-892.
Chengappa, P.G. Development of agriculture value chains as a strategy for enhancing farmers’ income. Agricultural Economics Research Review, 2018; 31 (1): 1-12.
Dunn, E. Smallholders and inclusive growth in agricultural value chains. Field Report 18. Gainesville, Florida, USA, 2014.
German, L. A., Bonanno, A. M., Foster, L. C., Cotula, L. Inclusive business in agriculture: Evidence from the evolution of agricultural value chains. World Development, 2020; 134: Issue C, 2020.
Lampietti, A. J., Lugg, G. D., Celen, Van der P., Branczik, A. The Changing Face of Rural Space. Agriculture and Rural Development in the Western Balkans. The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development / The World Bank, Washington, DC, 2009.
Mirjam, AF Ros T., Verena, B., Anna, L., David O. de Leth, Yves, Van L., Andrea V. Conceptualizing inclusiveness of smallholder value chain integration. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 2019; 41: 10-17.
Neven, D. Developing Sustainable Food Value Chains Guiding Principles. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations: Rome, Italy, 2014.
Poole, N. Smallholder Agriculture and Market Participation. Rugby, UK: Practical Action Publishing, 2017.
Spencer, H. and Humphrey, J. Understanding the Complexities of Private Standards in Global Agri-Food Chains as They Impact Developing Countries. Journal of Development Studies, 2010; 46 (9): 1628-1646.
Terlau, W., Hirsch, D., Blanke, M. Smallholder farmers as a backbone for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. Sustainable Development, 2018; 27: 523-529.
Testa, R., Di Trapani, A. M., Di, Sgroi, F., Tudisca, S. Economic analysis of process innovations in the management of olive farms. American Journal of Applied Sciences, 2014; 11 (9): 1486–1491.
Torero, M. A framework for linking Small Farmers to Markets. Paper presented at Conference on New Directions for Smallholder Agriculture. IFAD, Rome, Italy, 2011; 233-260.
USAID. Smallholders and Inclusive Growth in Agricultural Value Chains. FIELD Report 18, 2014.
Vermeulen, S., Woodhill, J., Proctor, F.J., Delnoye, R. Chain-wide learning for inclusive agrifood market development: a guide to multi-stakeholder processes for linking small-scale producers with modern markets. International Institute for Environment and Development, London, UK, and Wageningen University and Research Centre, Wageningen, the Netherlands, 2008.
Volk, T., Erjavec, E., Y. Paloma, S. G. Analysis of the agricultural and rural development policies of the Western Balkan countries. Joint Research Centre, European Commission, 2016.