FAO helps rebuild agriculture and livelihoods in Albania
Tirana – A three-year FAO project is providing recovery and reconstruction assistance to smallholder farmers in the Republic of Albania impacted by the 2019 earthquake. Implemented with the financial support of the governments of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the project “Earthquake Recovery Support through the UN SDG Acceleration Fund,” aims to increase resilience of the agriculture-based livelihoods of the communities hit by the earthquake and to restore agricultural production in the six affected municipalities* in Albania. Since its onset the project has already improved the lives of 108 vulnerable persons living on the edge of poverty in rural areas.
The project has resulted in a close two-year collaboration between FAO, the national and local governments and individual smallholder farmers. Thirty-six farmers were selected to receive grants to restore their agriculture production and enhance their farms’ productivity with ninety-five percent of the support allocated to the livestock sector, most-affected by the earthquake. They received cash transfers to purchase livestock, agricultural equipment, and machinery. FAO delivered training to farmers teaching them specific skills to better manage and strengthen their farms and agribusiness.
As part of the project results FAO provided training to financial institutions and businesses on agroprocessing agreements and to municipalities and extension agencies on disaster-risk reduction in agriculture. Through its extension services, FAO worked with farmers to negotiate access to credit and micro-financing and to reach agreement with their financial institutions on funding to restore lost production capacities.
“FAO strives to build back better and increase the resiliency of farmers to be able to cope with external shocks. These farmers suffered from the pandemic, from the earthquake, and now they must cope with the inflation,” said FAO project manager Agim Pepkolaj.
This year, in addition to continuing to provide grants, the project expects to distribute animal feed provisions to 30 livestock farmers, including 17 tonnes of crushed corn, 40 tonnes of hay and 43 tonnes of alfalfa. Along with distribution, FAO will continue to boost knowledge of best animal feeding practices.
The project not only helps Albanian farmers recover from the damage of the earthquake but to build back better with enhanced farm viability, productivity, and sustainability of agriculture.
*Municipalities affected: Durrës, Krujë, Kurbin, Lezhë, Shijak, and Tirana