About 70 percent of the greens came from abroad, we are feeding on imports

2024-04-19 12:51:13Biznes SHKRUAR NGA REDAKSIA VOX

Now that the first season of greenhouses in our country is at its peak, the domestic market is being massively supplied by imports.

Official data from foreign trade show that in the first 3 months, imports of vegetables increased by 70% and those of fruits by 49% compared to the same period last year. Imports of greens in this quarter have intensified since in two months the increase was 63%.

Albania still has a surplus in the trade of vegetables, but imports are increasing rapidly compared to exports, signaling very quickly that we will be in deficit. Exports of vegetables in quantity increased by 15% in the first quarter of the year.

The data shows that the growth of greens imports became more aggressive on December 6 of last year and in January 2024. In December 2023 greens imports increased by 80 percent compared to the same period of 2022, and also the import of fruits for the same period increased by 55%. This upward trend continued in February and March when the domestic production season started.

In general, food imports have increased this year. In January-March 2024, food imports in quantity increased by 22% compared to the same period a year ago. Through 2023, food imports in quantity increased by 10%, while exports remained flat, from double-digit increases throughout the decade.

A part of domestic production is being replaced by imports. The created situation has encouraged higher prices in groups that are not produced in the country. Experts warn that the reduction in production exposes the country to external crises and monopolies of import groups. Often the import prices are not very elastic as the developments in our country have shown that the change in prices in the international markets is not reflected in our country.

Domestic production last year was sold at high prices, as demand from hotels and restaurants was unusual due to positive developments in tourism.

Tourism stands a good chance for agriculture if its consumption is linked to local production. Altin Prenga, who runs the largest agritourism unit in the country, "Mrizi i Zanave", says that the food offer to tourists should be of local production, as their demand is also such. Among other things, tourists look for traditional recipes based on local produce. But it is clear that with the current developments in agriculture, our products run the risk of meeting the demand of tourists, causing the latter to become the cause of increased imports.

Albania does not have a steadily distributed consumption throughout the months of the year. Last year there was an unusual demand in the three months of summer due to the high flow of tourists.

About 70 percent of the greens came from abroad, we are feeding on imports