For Albanian export company Arbana Bio Cooperative these are busy times. Both their peppers and tomatoes are in season for the second time this year. The country hasn’t been taken as serious when it comes to their produce, but Export Manager Labinot Sahiti claims that image is changing fast.
Arbana Bio cultivates many fruits and vegetables, but currently the tomatoes and peppers are in season. A busy time, according to export manager Labinot Sahiti: “This is the first year where we really see a big increase in demand and orders. Ten years ago nobody had even heard of Albania’s cultivation. More than a decade later, after we’ve invited potential clients to see and taste our produce, they’ve agreed that Albania is an interesting market for them. Poland and Holland have finally discovered our potential.”
The tomatoes and peppers are exported to Poland and The Netherlands for the most part, although Italy, Czech Republic, Romania and Latvia have also shown an interest of late. And the season itself is going really well according to Sahiti: “The weather was great, which resulted in about a 15% increase of production this year. This helped, as the demand is growing just as fast. The prices are a lot better, although the increased demand will hardly have an effect on them. We have contracts for the most part, which means the prices are fixed for this season.”
What makes Albania so interesting for other countries though? Sahiti explains there are multiple factors: “For one we have two equal seasons, one in the spring, which runs from March to June and one as we speak, in autumn, which is in full swing right now (September through December) This started the 1st of September and will last till the end of December. We can do this due to a very suitable climate. On top of that we only use crystalized fertilizer and hybrid seeds in our cultivation, which are EU approved and this enables to be compliant with EU phyto-sanitary requirements when exporting. This year we’ll be able to export about 4000 tons of tomatoes, just in the autumn season. On top of that we’ll export about 1600 tons of peppers this year. It means we’re growing steadily, so this region is finally on the map.