The workshops followed the kick-off event of the ARP, which took place on April 14, 2017 at the premises of the Agriculture University of Tirana. They aimed to consult with local stakeholders the platform of rural development challenges and among others highlighting the regional differences and features of rural development. The workshops lead to an ‘upward cascade of ideas’ which truly draw upon the concerns and hopes of rural people.
In total, six regional workshops were carried out, covering the whole territory of Albania, and bringing together nearly 220 participants.
The following pressing issues of rural development that need consideration by decision and policy makers were highlighted, which strongly confirmed:
- Highly fragmented agricultural land; unproductive and unused land, and Land property titles;
- Limited access of farmers and rural residents to credit and financial services;
- Low level of collaboration among entities, associations and institutions;
- Unsustained LEADER LAGs established in frame of different development projects. One of the main weaknesses of such partnership structure has been the lack of mutual trust among local actors;
- Low engagement/interest of youth in agriculture;
- Inadequate and poor rural infrastructure and public services;
- A lack of appropriate agro-processing facilities (stores, renovation technology, processing capability, packaging, logistics and delivery speed); A lack of organization between actors in the food supply chain and information exchange among the participants in the chain; lower price of agricultural products; unidentified market.
- Despite positive development in agriculture due to farmers’ leadership, a more strengthened role should be taken by institutions;
- Municipalities need to be equipped with the skills, knowledge and understanding of the LEADER approach;
- Municipalities need adequate resources to be able to fulfill their assigned functions and responsibilities regarding rural development;
- Rural development should be oriented towards area-based development which is integrated, involves cross-sectoral partnership and multi stakeholders as well. The interest to the LEADER approach implementation should be increased in parallel with provision of support for the creation of partnerships between sectors for introducing Leader/CLLD.
To read the full findings, please click here.