USAID Albania Mission Director, Mrs
Catherine Johnson, and Minister of Agriculture, Edmond Panariti, delivered
remarks on Tuesday at a business-to-business and awareness event in Tirana organized
by USAID Regional
Economic Growth Project, 'Assistance in Compliance
with Key Agricultural Standards and Certifications'.
The event was facilitated by Creative
Business Solutions, CBS, along with AgBiz Macedonia and focused on 'Facilitating Trade Growth for
Certified Agribusinesses' and key participants were certified agribusinesses
and large supermarket chains.
"I'm honored to be here to talk about something that is very near and
dear to all of our hearts: safety quality and credibility in Albania and Worldwide.
While talking about some recent food safety issues in USA
Ms. Johnson stated that: 'These are the kind of events that happens when our
food safety is jeopardized. It happens everywhere. It happened with ground beef, strawberries etc. but all of these fresh fruits and
vegetables are all at risk and that's why is important to have particular
certification so the good work that is been done is not jeopardized," said USAID Albania Mission Director, Mrs Catherine Johnson.
She congratulate Albania for continuing to move forward in
so many areas in the last years and this particular effort is another way to
put Albania forward.
"The wonderful fruits and vegetables that you cultivate
here and wonderful dairy products that you produce makes Albania a fantastic
country for agriculture and I know you will be able to have this kind of
efforts in the future even stronger because of proper certifications," she ended.
The Minister of Agriculture, Mr
Edmond Panariti highlighted the importance of agribusinesses certifications and
standards compliance, which is considered crucial from the Government of
Albania. In 2016, 17 Albanian farmers, food processors and agribusinesses were
awarded GlobalGAP, HACCP and ISO certifications. "This B2B event, which brings
together certified agribusiness companies and representatives of major networks
of supermarkets in Albania is very important because these certifications allow
penetration of Albanian standardized and branded products not only to Albanian
supermarket chains, but also to new markets. Our aim consists at reducing the
agricultural imported products as well as promoting domestic production', -
Minister of Agriculture Edmond Panariti outlined.
Enio Jaço, Executive Director of
CBS, mentioned the importance of standard compliance and certification award as
the solution to narrow the gap between the agribusiness community, domestic and
"Albania remains the country
with the highest share of agriculture in relation to Gross Domestic Product in
Europe and almost double the region's GDP, while the country continues to be a net
importer of agricultural products. Certifications are essential for Albanian
agribusinesses to meet the requirements of the European supermarket chains
whose prime condition is the necessary certification."
Goran Damovski of AgroBiz Macedonia
also highlighted the potential of Albanian agribusinesses growth through
adopting the necessary steps for a successful standard certificate award.
"These seventeen companies should be seen only as the first batch of
Albanian certified agribusinesses. Other Albanian companies are in the process
of certificate award, opening the doors to the Albanian producers to grow their
export volumes. Domestic growth of sales is also key, that is why the local
supermarket chains role is of vital importance in the Tirana business-to-business
representatives from government institutions, industry experts, and food
certification bodies addressed the meeting with brief remarks. Seventeen
Albanian food producers as well as a number of Macedonian firms met directly with
the purchasing managers of some of the leading supermarket chains in Albania to
develop supplying contracts for future periods.