(from “Report on existing GAPs and Best Practices”) Livestock production represents about 50% of total agricultural production. Last available data provide a figure of 52%x of total agricultural production value (it was 59.3% in 2005, but 42% in 1992) . About 40% of the population live in rural areas , and farming constitutes the main employment option for people in these areas. Official employment data indicate that around 460-530 thousand people are employed in the private agricultural sector .
Meat and meat processed products is one of the most important sectors in terms of number of farmers involved in the sector (over 240,000 farms, approximately 70% of total ), articulation and complexity of the commodity chain. It is also one of the sectors showing higher international trade deficit (-91 M Euro in 2019, excluding animal feed imports) and one of the sectors with highest environmental impact at production, processing and marketing stage. At the same time, the sector has still significant scope for expansion, as meat per capita consumption in Albania (39 kg per capita/year) is still well below EU 27 average (80.4 kg per capita/year).
In the last programming period, the sector underwent through a process of consolidation, with some moderate expansion in some subsectors, namely small ruminants’ and poultry meat production, meat and Animal by Products (ABP) processing. During the same period, important investments were made; the sector was also second-ranked (after fruit and vegetables) in terms of IPARD II funds absorption (14.3 M Euro in the first two calls only).
At present, the main challenges for the sector are: i) the need to focus on domestic market, to increase competitiveness and try to reduce the trade deficit, also increasing and improving animal feed domestic production, ii) contain and after reduce the environmental impact of the commodity chain which is increasing in parallel with intensification of breeding activities and expansion of the commodity chain actors, iii) improve integration between fresh and processed meat market segments, which are now scarcely connected.
A key factor for the growth of the sector will be the better enforcement of existing norms in terms of public health, food safety and environment protection. The role and performance of three national agencies (NAVPP, NFA and NEA) will be crucial in this respect.
Referring to the available livestock data for 2020, there is a decrease in the number of livestock almost for every category especially cattle and small ruminant’s category. This decrease was due to reduction of the number of heads in potential farms (cattle), the lack of market as well as migration, emigration and aging population. The decrease of number of livestock especially cattle and small ruminants has affected the livestock production milk and meat. The livestock production especially milk and meat decreased both respectively by -5.4% and -4.2%. Milk production decreased mainly due to decrease of cow’s milk as it represents 85.2% of milk production meanwhile sheep and goat milk represent 7.09% and 7.6% respectively.
In 2020, about 5,503 farmers were supported by national schemes by which around 63% for matriculation process for cows and sheep/goats.
To improve the production and management of cattle, small ruminant and pig farms (especially in small farms) the following areas should be considered as a priority for improvement: i) animal nutrition and, ii) housing conditions, including shelters, in need of radical improvements regarding surface for each animal, stable height (as they are very low in small ruminant case), ventilation and lighting and, iii) improvement of manure management and recovery of relevant by products.