Value Chain links – promoting good agricultural practices (GAP)
Shifting from existing farming practices to knowledge-based GAP is a difficult task for Albania’s smallholder farmers. this required long-term and intensive training and giving farmers a strong incentive to learn and conform to the guidelines.
ASDA in cooperation with Bruka Co. of Albania was the first joint undertaking in the country to implement GlobalGap standards. The model aimed to secure sufficient quantities of premium quality fresh produce that meets highest standards of food safety and ensure that everyone in the chain, from grower to consumer, benefits fairly from the operation.
The contract farming model was designed to address basic problems faced by smallholder farmers and buyers. Following risk assessments of target farms, farm owners were organized into groups by the buyer and, together with the company, they designed production plans to supply predetermined volume of farm produce. Traditional constraints on technology and lack of market information were removed through intensive training and regular meetings and discussions with technical representatives of the two companies.
Farmers sell their farm produce at guaranteed prices agreed prior to planting. If at any point in time the market price is higher than the guaranteed base price, the market price is applied. Fair pricing is determined by giving due consideration to farming and logistics cost and the retail price in the target retail market.
Production planning and collection stations established in each contracted group facilitate direct daily delivery of produce from the farm to the Company’s packing house. This streamlined the overall supply chain process, thereby reducing handling cost and spillage. The Company provides a well-planned financial assistance program for farmers, including interest-free loans to group members.
The lessons learned are that for scaling up international organizations and the public sector should provide sufficient support to applied research on innovative farming from seed testing to post-harvest control and handling; assist the private sector, particularly SMEs in developing and applying innovative farming approaches; and develop strong cooperation between public and private sectors for agricultural development planning and implementation. Planning and implementation should give emphasis on sustainability.