Agriculture significantly contributes to Albania’s GDP and employs about 40 percent of the total workforce. Irrigated agriculture is critical for inclusive development of the rural economy of Albania. Most of the cultivated land in the country is irrigated.
Despite recent upward trend in performance, however, the sector is constrained by a host of challenges, especially in infrastructure rehabilitation and modernization needs.
Irrigated agriculture in Albania, and the associated assets, are vulnerable to various hazards including floods, droughts, and seawater intrusion. It is expected that these threats will be exacerbated due to climate change.
There is an urgent need for Albania to modernize the country’s degraded irrigation and drainage infrastructure. Regular maintenance will be equally important.
In Albania, as in other countries in the Western Balkan region, a vibrant private or farmer-led irrigation sector has developed. Private irrigation focuses on growing high-value crops for both local and international markets. If adequately supported, this sector can significantly contribute to the government’s plan of doubling agricultural exports.
Interventions are required in several areas in order to enhance water security, climate resilience, and agricultural competitiveness, and to ensure revival of the rural economy.
To achieve optimal use of irrigation potential, there is a need to shift from the current infrastructure-centered intervention approach to the irrigation and drainage (eco)system approach—which puts farmers and their wide diversity of circumstances squarely at the center of analysis and support.
Additional sources: The Future of Water in Agriculture in the Balkans: The Irrigation & Drainage (Eco)system Approach – Report Brief and Consultation Document
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