Albania - Challenges and Opportunities
Pastures are still a convenient source of animal nutrition for poor farmers, so many are still well maintained. However, after many years of very heavy livestock pressure, some large areas of more remote pastures (for example, the dry mountain areas around Lake Prespa and Valamara-Ostrivica in east-central Albania) are now not grazed. Data on what pastures are actually used in practice is not readily available, making the size of actual or potential threats difficult to assess.
The prospects for low-intensity livestock systems is hampered by the poor overall economic development of rural areas, the low returns, competition from other countries and the lack of an adequate legal framework within which to operate.
Identifying HNV farmland in Albania requires bringing together many different datasets, all with their own limitations. Some are known to be out of date or to be of dubious accuracy. The problem of ‘forest’ grazing makes assessing that element of potential HNV farmland especially problematic. There needs also to be an improvement in the state of knowledge regarding the relationships between agricultural practices and biodiversity.
Thus far, there has been some work on implementing an EMERALD network, which should provide some useful data for a HNV farmland identification and evaluation exercise. It seems clear that all types of HNV farming are present in the country, but the process of identifying them, assessing their needs and developing policy to address those needs and optimise the delivery of public benefits by them has yet to start. It is an urgent challenge.