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Opinion / Editorial

Farmers at the mercy of fate

Farmers at the mercy of fate

The Prime Minister of the country Edi Rama today boasts about tourism, but how much does it affect the economy of the village. For three months, eggs have been sold for 10 lek in the village of Libofshë in Fier, a large area. Milk is sold below cost by livestock farmers at 60 ALL per liter, while in markets it is sold 2 or 3 times more. For this reason, farmers from all over Albania protested about a month ago on the Lushnjë-Fier road axis, they raised their voices for the low price of milk set by the collectors. They even spilled milk on the street in protest. This is not the only protest, on Monday of last week, the farmers came out in protest on the road axis Berat-Fier in protest for the sale of tomatoes and cucumber vegetables below cost by throwing their products on the road. 20 to 40 Lek is the price of tomatoes, while in Tirana it goes up to 160 Lek per kilogram from traders, claimed farmers and protestors. Below cost, farmers sell almost all agricultural products such as wheat, corn, barley, oats, etc. The price during the period June 2023- May 2024 varied from 2,300 to 3,000 ALL per quintal. Some others did not manage to sell it even at this price, which caused their goods to remain in stock in the warehouse. A job wasted all year. Once Myzeqeja was the barn of Albania, today farmers are reducing the areas planted with wheat, they are abandoning the land, the country, the family and they are finding emigration as a way of salvation. Movement is a right of every citizen, but the cause of movement must be taken into consideration by the state. But the state itself does not care about the cause as long as it knows that it is the main part of the problem. The government promises to help the farmers with free oil, but the farmers are roaming the streets with no solution. All previous government schemes to help farmers have failed. Added to this major problem are the conditions that the government has set for obtaining free oil. The decision of the government which does not help farmers who have planted areas under 1 hectare. This decision of the government greatly damages the farmers where no farmer has received 1 hectare of land according to law 7501. While agriculture is one of the main sectors in the Albanian economy with the highest number of employees, farmers are at the mercy of fate, without protected by the state. Free oil these months has been the main topic chosen by the government to come to the aid of farmers. But how well is this scheme working, what percentage of farmers have managed to get oil for free, are they perhaps those who are closest to the government? It is not the promise that matters more than the keeping of it. On the other hand, we see the Prime Minister of the country, Rama, boasting about tourism in every television appearance. But does this affect the economy in the village? Money goes into the hands of the few. The life of the country's citizens is becoming more expensive, where pensioners, farmers, the needy make up a significant part of the population that remains in the country. Meanwhile, the economy is increasingly dependent on imports,which harms farmers, domestic production. Imported goods are choking the domestic market. According to Monitor magazine, "In December 2023, food imports, mainly vegetables, fruits and greens, recorded an annual increase of 27% in quantity. Imported foods occupy 80% of the stalls and often come at lower prices than local produce. Dairy products, meat, potatoes and beans from Turkey and Egypt, Serbia and Greece are sold cheaper than the products of Korça. Agricultural experts claim that imports are present in crops for which local production is lacking, as this may discourage planting and expose the country to import prices." While we are in the spring planting season, the agricultural land works are very high, concretely, plowing the land is 1,300-1,400 new lek per dynym, disc 800 lek per dynym, tiller 1,100-1,200 lek per dynym, sowing 600 lek per dynym, etc. The whole created situation has caused farmers to abandon their lands due to the lack of profit, finding emigration as a solution, others have given their lands for rent at very cheap prices ranging from 1,000 to 4,000 thousand Lek. per dynam per year with which they left only the tax imposed by the state. The situation is very disturbing, on the one hand, there is the cultivation of the land and the extraction of production at a high cost, and on the other hand, we have the sale of production at a very low price, which in some cases does not even cover the cost of production. Foreign products are suffocating the local market making farmers feel neglected, vulnerable, with farmers abandoning the land increasing year after year.The situation is very disturbing, on the one hand, there is the cultivation of the land and the extraction of production at a high cost, and on the other hand, we have the sale of production at a very low price, which in some cases does not even cover the cost of production. Foreign products are suffocating the local market making farmers feel neglected, vulnerable, with farmers abandoning the land increasing year by year.The situation is very disturbing, on the one hand, there is the cultivation of the land and the extraction of production at a high cost, and on the other hand, we have the sale of production at a very low price, which in some cases does not even cover the cost of production. Foreign products are suffocating the local market making farmers feel neglected, vulnerable, with farmers abandoning the land increasing year after year.