Mar 23, 2021
Empowering The Next Generation Of Greenhouse Cultivation In Kosovo
The greenhouse industry in Kosovo is a rapidly developing sector with farmers growing a select variety of crops: tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and lettuce under high tunnel poly greenhouses. Kosovo, however, remains far behind its neighboring Balkan countries on implementing high tech greenhouse solutions. This is primarily due to the knowledge gap among local farmers, lack of financing resources, and lack of skilled labor. There is an estimated total of 400 ha of greenhouse production in the country. Even though this is the case, Kosovo remains a net importer of vegetables.
In March 2019, Agritecture Consultants Jeffrey Landau & David Ceaser performed 10 greenhouse site visits with local Kosovar agriculture and energy experts to further evaluate the challenges farmers face in Kosovo. The greenhouses observed in these field visits were simple, walk-in tunnels without any automation, mechanical ventilation, or monitoring equipment. A select few had heating equipment (wood & lignite stoves) but were reluctant to use these systems due to the high operational costs.
Four big issues that stand out are:
Knowledge Gap - An older generation of farmers continues to operate and run the greenhouses of Kosovo. The majority of these farmers lack the formal education, training resources, and financial resources that would allow them to upgrade their equipment and improve their operational efficiency.
Unreliable/Unskilled Workforce - A common issue that Agritecture has found worldwide is that farmers complain of struggling to find skilled laborers to perform the myriad of farm tasks required for an efficient and successful operation.
Cost of Consumables - Farmers describe the costs and reliability of sourcing consumables needed to run their operations. As a young, developing country, the supply chain infrastructure has yet to be established. Another concern Agritecture noted is the lack of communication and organization among farmers. The collective buying power of farmers should not be underestimated.
Pests & Diseases - Tuta Absoluta (Tomato Leafminer) was a common pest described by each farmer as a threat to their crops. This month, originating from Peru, has made its way through South and Central America to Europe.
These challenges are ones that farmers face globally. They are solvable. How they are solved is unique to each culture and location. Culture, history, and context cannot be ignored. It is through Agritecture’s agricultural expertise & Crimson Capital’s regional and financial expertise that we will develop short term, low technological solutions, and long term, higher technological solutions to improve the operational efficiency of greenhouses in Kosovo and close the knowledge gap among Kosovar farmers so that they themselves can lead the next generation of farmers.
As this generation of farmers nears retirement a new generation will take the reigns. The challenge though will be to ensure that each new farmer is properly trained and informed on the best practices of greenhouse cultivation. Agritecture and Crimson Capital look forward to further analysing the observations and findings from the field research and presenting our assessment and recommendations to USAID.
For more information regarding the services provided by Agritecture or Crimson Capital, please contact:
Agritecture - Jeffrey Landau - Jeffrey@agritecture.com
Crimson Capital - Megan Falvey - firstname.lastname@example.org