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Opinion / Editorial

The horse works, the donkey eats

The horse works, the donkey eats

There is a harmful clash between the agricultural producer and the marketer. While traveling from Korça to Pogradec, along the road, here and there, we see farmers with different agricultural products, who were waiting for some random buyer.

- What shall we do! - the farmer tells us. - We worked for an entire season for these deserted vegetables and fruits that we have here. The merchant comes and asks for them, as they say, for five lek, while he himself goes and sells them in Tirana or elsewhere at five times the price he gets them here!

We hear people talking like this and we remember the complaint of another Kor?ar farmer:

- Last year I didn't manage to sell even 10 percent of the amount of apples I produced! Hundreds of quintals remained at home! I covered them, but weeks and months passed and they rotted away! You remind him of the need for a contract that should have been concluded at the beginning of the year, and he waits for it immediately:

- And who wouldn't want to sign a contract! Yes, come and connect if you can! It is very difficult, if not impossible!

Here we make it known, reminding the farmer, that it is quality that breaks the market. Imported vegetables and fruits are sold because they are of high quality... Without finishing his speech, the farmer in front of us addresses us:

 - Yes, it's very true, foreigners have better quality, but why do they have them, can you explain to me? There are, because the relevant ministries there subsidize the production, lighten the farmer's burden, while here...

A farmer in Lushnje, faced with a great difficulty in marketing the production of cherries, had found the easiest way: he cut the roots of the cherries! It was painful to watch the cherry branches fall to the ground with all their ripe fruit!

– Why should I keep them?! - the farmer addresses us. - For the merchant to get rich?! The other one comes here and asks for the production for thirty lek per kilogram, while he himself goes and sells it in Tirana or elsewhere at six times this price!

In Godolesh of the municipality of Elbasan, the farmer complained that he did not have manpower to harvest the production of cherries.

- We have children outside, while we ourselves are elderly. We invite them to come to us to pick cherries, but those who accept can't even justify their salary with the amount of cherries they pick.

Very depressed by what actually happens, the farmer continues:

- With the price that the merchants ask us to buy, - he says, - we are not able to pay the harvesters of the production. In short, we come out clean-shaven!

- How do you manage the production of potatoes? - we turn to a farmer in Divjak.

- Let's eat. We eat. That's it. There is nothing more. There is none, because the market regulator is missing...

A few weeks ago, small cattle farmers in Gjirokastër, Tepelena and the entire south of the country went on strike. They even warned that they would expand it, make it more frequent and tougher. And what were they looking for? They wanted to be treated with sound market logic. Dairy producers should look after their interest, but not at the expense of the work and sweat of cattle owners. When the escalation of the strike began and a call was made to all the farmers of Albania to move to other strike steps, then the Ministry of Agriculture moved. It didn't take long and the Minister of Agriculture, Mrs. Anila Denaj, went to the cattle farmers herself, who had a detailed discussion with them. (It was a very good example, which may have to be followed by other ministers) And, in a certain way and to a certain extent, the solution was found. Logic would say that the mechanisms for solving the problem existed, but they were not taken into account and, therefore, were not implemented. The owners of the cattle herds had to go on strike, without putting into action the mechanisms for solving the disturbing problem. As it is not difficult to understand, the state is paying a lot of importance to the development of the breadth and depth of tourism. And, of course, it does very well. Because tourism provides enough income. But tourism would not be able to develop as much and as it should without a developed agriculture. Tourism requires numerous and high-quality agricultural and livestock products. The kitchens of tourist facilities all over Albania love them all. Even fresh. Uncle Bakua was very right when he addressed Olga (in the movie "Lady from the City"): Yes, in the city, you eat milk, yogurt, butter, cottage cheese... Yes, you eat tomatoes, peppers, okra, eggplants. .. However, in order to produce vegetables and fruits in abundance and of the highest quality, the state must also intervene with its mechanisms. In the conditions of a farmer with very little work and production experience, the state factor is decisive. The truth is that this very important branch of the economy has not been given and is not being given all the attention it deserves. The producer-distributor chain is still limping. And it happens, then, that the biggest profits of the farmer's products are enjoyed by the merchant! A farmer from Korça was right, who, after expressing his concern, told us: Do you know what they call this? The horse works, the donkey eats!