Albania’s organic sector has rapidly gained importance in recent years. The success of organically certified wild collection is particularly impressive. Medicinal plants, chestnuts, mushrooms and wild berries are collected on nine percent of the national territory. An innovative processing industry now specialises on refining these natural resources. This has major economic relevance for the development of rural areas. On the demand side, the domestic market is also poised to expand. Key incentives for converting to organic management come from the Agriculture Ministry’s recently introduced financial support scheme for organic production, but also from the growing interest within Albania in healthy, locally produced food.
The organic sector study released now is the final milestone of the Swiss-funded Sustainable Agriculture Support in Albania (SASA) Project. Launched in 2001 by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), SASA aimed to boost sustainable agriculture in Albania following the collapse of the communist system. The Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) supported the project from 2006 onwards in its efforts to establish national certification structures and develop the organic market. SASA was implemented by FiBL, and drew to a close in 2011.