The fruit is now being exported to markets like Poland, Croatia and Germany

Strong domestic demand is fuelling an expansion in Albania’s strawberry acreage, with producers increasingly turning their sights on export markets.

Albanian strawberries

Although Albania’s geographical position and climate favour their cultivation, strawberries are a relatively new crop in the country. Planted area in the main growing areas of Fier and Lushnja is increasing year after year.

Today, there are some 200ha of production, yielding an annual crop of up to 10,000 tonnes a year. The growing season lasts around three months.

Whereas previously almost 90 per cent of domestic demand was met by imports, since 2014 Albania has started exporting small quantities of strawberries to some EU markets.

Kafaraj village, in the Fier district, accounts for the bulk of production, having some 160ha of plantings. Here, the expansion of greenhouse acreage has fuelled the increase in production.

According to farmers, this year the weather has been favourable, yielding a bumper crop.

As well as being sold in the Albanian capital, a large part of the crop is exported to the Balkans and Europe. Integrated pest management techniques allow Albanian growers to achieve a high level of quality while ensuring that they satisfy the treatment protocols required by the European market. In 2022, 2,562 tonnes of strawberries with a value of US$4.1m were exported.

Exports go mainly to regional markets like Kosovo, North Macedonia, Serbia and Bulgaria, but more recently inroads have been made in markets like Italy, Poland, Croatia and Germany.

The main variety produced is Kamarosa, along with smaller quantities of varieties like Albion, Sabrina, Fortuna, Splendor and others.