In the mid 2000s, Ethiopia emerged as the next production hot spot for fresh-cut roses. In nursery stock, something similar is happening in Albania where a one-hour drive north of the Tirana arable crop growers swopped their corn and wheat for predominantly Cupressocyparis, Acer, Catalpa, Liquidambar, Thuja, Prunus, Photinia and Trachycarpus.
Playing a pivotal role in further expanding the estimated 200-300ha under nursery stock production partially protected against by strong and cold northern winds by the Sharr mountain range is Agrocoop Albania, a cooperative active in the production and sales of trees and shrubs for export markets in Italy, Germany and the Netherlands.
The company’s sales rep, Ardit Limani, admits that trees and shrubs are not really a big part of Albanian culture. “Albanian workers learned the ropes in Italy’s epicentre for nursery stock production Pistoia. Some of them returned home, acquired land to grow predominantly conifers in a climate that is mild, with cool winters and hot dry, clear summers. Soils are good and the mountain supply enough water to irrigate crops. The only factor which is holding back growth is labour shortage as so many young workers left the country to work abroad.”
The current law foresaw Albania’s accession to the UPOV Convention of 1978, but plant breeders’ rights (PBR) are not yet operational, and PBR are not included in the draft law on intellectual property.