The weak production of chestnuts in Albania is bringing higher prices this year

Some chestnuts in the ground, Source:
 Some chestnuts in the ground, Source:
 After a disaster caused an oversupply and lowered chestnut prices last year, this season looks more optimistic for farmers, local media reports.

In the country's producing areas, collectors are now buying a kilogram of chestnuts in the mountains for over 100 lekë per kilogram, up from 50 lekë last year. The reason for the better prices is the significant shortage of production in Europe and Italy, leading to increased demand in our country.

However, after good prices, profits for thousands of farmers in the poorest areas of the country are being affected by low production.

"The prices are excellent for the farmers. There's very little production. There's a high demand for exports because production all over Europe is very low," said Adrian Çitozi, one of the largest chestnut exporters.

The weather conditions this year, with a very wet spring and dry summer, along with the disease that appeared in the Tropoja massif, have reduced production quantities. For many farmers, it's better to have less production and higher prices than last year when the production remained unsold.

Chestnuts are a wild fruit that grows in the mountains of the North and Southeast. They yield high profits as there are no servicing costs, making the price translate into profit, unlike other cultivated crops.

Massive chestnut plantations are located in areas with poor populations, so the opening of export markets in the past decade has significantly improved the incomes of families in these areas.

However, in recent years, difficulties in harvesting have arisen due to the lack of labor force. The terrains where chestnuts grow are often difficult to traverse, and the abandonment of these areas by young people has made harvesting more challenging.

In recent years, investments in the chestnut processing industry have increased. For example, collection units in the Tropoja area have invested in storage and selection to maximize their gains from exports.

To increase profits in the chestnut sector, more investments are needed, especially in collection chains and refrigerated storage to prevent spoilage and wastage.

The next step is the development of the processing industry. In Italy, dozens of chestnut-based by-products are produced, which Albanian gastronomy has yet to explore.

In a situation where Albania is a potential chestnut producer in the Balkans, it can develop the product processing industry, further extending the value chain and, most importantly, increasing profits for farmers.

Local authorities can influence this aspect by boosting marketing and organizing festivals and fairs related to chestnuts to increase domestic consumption.
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