Albanian watermelon farmers unable to sell the produce despite the abundant harvest

05/07/2022 21:15

 “Look what’s happening here, watermelon is super good but again we can’t even get our own money back,”- says farmer Vukel Beqiri.

Beqiri a decade ago returned from migration to cultivate watermelons in the village of Imësht in Lushnja, in central Albania.

But even though the production is good, the problem is to find the market.

“I have planted 2,5 hectares with watermelon and the traders come and mock me, I don’t know what game they are playing. Watermelon for 10 Lek the kg and no one is buying it at all” – said Beqiri.

Since the beginning of the season, the highest price for watermelon in this area has been 12 Lek. Farmers say that it is the collection points that underestimate the farmer’s efforts.

“For 10-15 years we have had a very good market, but since these produce collection points were opened, they lower and raise the price as they want. I have sold only 4 tons when I have to sell another 1500 tons. For this year we are all bankrupt, God forbid,” said farmer Saba Derka.

In order to escape from bankruptcy, farmers have only one plea for the big traders, they want their sweat to be valued at 10 lek more.

“I threw 15 million old lek here, and so I don’t even get half of the money. I can’t afford the expenses, plus we have taken a loan to plant the land. With the increased expenses that are this year, it should be sild at 20 lek per kilogram, because we have bought everything more expensive,” said farmer Vukel Beqiri.

And while the farmers beg the merchants, the latter have a request for the government. “We have a problem because our roads are blocked on Saturday and Sunday so we cannot export. The drivers don’t leave because they say they get fines as they burden the tourism traffic, so at least let us travel at night because the watermelon is rotting in the barns,” said exporter Regont Beqiri.

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