Outbreaks of civil unrest in Albania since early March are threatening the continuity of wheat and other food supplies to the bulk of the population, according to a special alert released by FAO's Global Information and Early Warning System (GIEWS).
Prospects for agricultural production in 1997 are very uncertain. A series of land reforms introduced in 1991, to transfer previously collectivized land to private ownership, resulted in a sharp fall in agricultural production. Some recovery has been seen since then. But production remains constrained by the still mostly fragmented landownership structure and small farmers' poor access to credit (despite internationally supported government schemes to provide credit for farmers). Wheat production in particular has been affected by the shift from large-scale collectivized farming to small-scale subsistence production of mainly cash crops and fodder.
Uncertainty over the outcome of the 1997 cereal crop has been heightened by the recent civil unrest, which could affect both yield prospects for growing winter crops and planting of spring cereals due to start soon. Shortages of essential seeds required for spring planting are also reported.
7 April 1997
GIEWS Special Alert