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Farmers migrate due to debts of farming greenhouses: They take the cucumbers for no money, they’re mocking us
Nikë Resuli, farmer from the village of Rërëz in Dimal in southern Albania, after working in agriculture for 10 years in Patra, Greece, returned to his homeland in 2014 with the hope that his greenhouses would bring more profits to his family.
But after years of work the farmer is facing severe lack of market for his produce. “I am 33 years old and grow cucumbers, tomatoes and peppers. I have 6 acres of greenhouses, now in the autumn season, which is a short season, one acre gives 50 quintals of production, from the six acres that I have in total, I produce approximately 300 quintals, but so far I have sold only10 quintals”, said Resuli.
The lack of market has made greenhouse produce devalued by collectors.
“Tomatoes went only for one weeek for 70 lek ($0.6) per kg, while now they buy it for 30 Lek, they are mocking us. While the cucumber is given for no money. Those from the collectors say you bring it and if it sells it’s well, if it doesn’t sell, we’ll throw it down the drain. We work all day, husband and wife, like dogs, we are young now but we don’t get profit. And they say yes, it sold well otherwise I will throw your sweat into the canal”.
In order to plant the cucumber that today is sold for free, Niku has put his name on the list of debts. “The inputs we got this year to plant the greenhouses were borrowed, the agronomist of the area helped us, but if the price does not increase, I will go back to where I was in Greece, to pay off the debts of the greenhouses”.
We find stories like Niku’s in every agricultural season. The unfair market and the negligence of supporting policies force farmers to leave Albanian agriculture and emigrate.