Michelle Ricci three years ago left Italy to cultivate wheat in the village of Kropisht in Selenica in southwestern Albania.
On 150 hectares of land Michelle has planted wheat, corn and oats. During these years, the Italian farmer is facing the problems of Albanian agriculture, which according to him are numerous.
According to him, Albanian traders want to buy wheat at a price that does not cover production costs.
“Today I could sell wheat in Foggia for 55 euros per quintile, while until Wednesday it can be sold for 70 euros.
“But in Albania, farmers are selling it for 36 euros”, he adds.
According to Michel, his wheat is resold for the second time by Italian traders for pasta factories in Albania, this at an even more expensive price.
“The absurdity is that it is the Albanian traders buy the wheat of their country in Italy at the most expensive price, to produce special pasta.”
After the market, the Italian farmer worries also about storing grain.
“I have applied to set up a soli to put the production but they have not yet approved my construction permit.
“I will be forced to sell the wheat at the price that Italian traders will give me, as I can not risk leaving it outside.”
Stories like Michel’s tell us that wheat wholesalers in Albania value local production only when it loses its traces of origin. The four big traders have agreed Albanian wheat to be valued at 36 lek per kilogram, while the Serbian one is priced at 51 lek.