FAO in cooperation with the Albanian Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development launched a collaboration with the private sector in developing the milk value chain in Albania in partnership with the food producing and packaging copmany Tetra Laval and catering company AgorAl & Global Services (AGS).
The project aims at improving the knowledge of small-scale dairy farmers on food safety and quality in the framework of milk value chain development. In its pilot stage the project will provide valuable assistance to more than 900 smallholder farmers in the Baldushk area, near the capital, in their efforts to increase production and access processors, and ultimately the end consumers with milk that is both safe and nutritious.
Also, as part of the school feeding programme, the project will support students of Fan Noli school in Tirana with the daily requirement of locally sourced, quality milk and educating on food safety and nutritional values.
“The development of innovative ideas is key in order to increase the competitiveness of the agriculture sector and to reduce rural poverty. This project will increase investments in the dairy sector’ said Raimund Jehle, FAO Representative for Albania. “Supporting particularly family farmers for greater income generating opportunities, and improving horizontal and vertical cooperation among them stimulates development,” Jehle said at the project launch event on 21 November in Tirana.
Improving the food and nutrition status of children is a concern in many countries of Europe and Central Asia. Therefore, FAO’s latest regional food security and nutrition report calls on governments, public and private institutions, and other concerned parties to collaborate to increase their impact on strengthening food security and nutrition, as well as, agricultural and rural development.
Also present at the launch event, the Swedish Ambassador to Albania, Elsa Hästad, emphasized the importance of food safety standards in the dairy production value chain for Albania’s aspirations to join European Union, as well as, the need for broad partnerships in addressing the challenges that the country’s dairy sector faces.
In her address, the advisor to the Minister, Tana Kika, re-confirmed the Ministry’s support to the project, underlining key policy initiatives that the Ministry is undertaking in veterinary and food safety standards.
“With regards to the future, FAO is committed to further support for the scalability and sustainability of this project,” Jehle added.
Contributions from the private sector were also highlighted from the representatives of the Swedish company Tetra Laval and the Albanian milk processor AGS. Their support is essential to connect the small milk producers to the processors and to the end consumer.