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Experts: Albania records a decline in the livestock sector

Experts: Albania records a decline in the livestock sector

The significant decline in the livestock sector reflects the socio-economic developments during the last years in Albania. Official data from INSTAT show a significant decrease in the number of cattle, mainly during the last three years. Thus, the number of cattle decreased by 65 thousand heads, sheep by 186 thousand, while the number of goats decreased by 50 thousand heads.

The director of the Rural Areas Support Program, Petrit Dobi, told VOA that immigration has had a profound impact on the livestock sector.

"Not only statistical data, but all of us who work in rural areas and who have contact with these areas and shepherds, see this change. It's a big change, especially in recent years starting with the pandemic. Apparently, people have seriously thought about making a change in their lives, and the fact that these populations in hard-to-live areas have not been supported is one of the main reasons that the population has moved and this activity, livestock, is being abandoned." , he says.

The director of the Rural Areas Support Program, Petrit Dobi, says that the departure of people, especially young people from mountainous areas, is directly affecting the decline of the livestock sector, but also the impossibility of transmitting a special culture, built among centuries, such as that of shepherds.

"Shepherds are the ones who have created a whole culture that is related not only to agricultural production, but also to by-products. Various cheeses; the mishavina in the north, or the bellows sauce in the south, were created by shepherds, not by technologists. We can also say that instruments, work tools, feet, fiddle or bagpipe are instruments created by these people. And very rich folklore is also connected with this", he says.

In addition to emigration and the departure of a large part of the inhabitants from the mountainous areas, according to Professor Arsen Proko, climate changes have also shown their influence in the livestock sector, since most of the pastures are in areas very sensitive to these changes.

"It is known that the average annual temperature has increased by 1.5 degrees, which means that the beech forest will rise 200 meters higher. So the alpine pastures will be narrowed. Of course, there are also appropriate management plans under climate change conditions. But generally pastures suffer from misuse more. There are many rare plants threatened by human activity", says Professor Arsen Proko.

For Professor Proko, the almost annual fires, especially in the mountainous areas where most of the pastures are found, directly affect the performance of the livestock sector.

"Fires are also one of the very negative phenomena that influence the degradation of pastures. Therefore, this is a very important issue that must be dealt with in order to restore the vegetation of the pastures", he says.

According to official data, in 2020 Albania had a fund of 478 thousand hectares of pastures, while three years later, this area was reduced by 29 thousand hectares, which testifies to the deep and rapid impact of global warming on the livestock sector. fires in forests and pastures as well as human activity to the detriment of the natural environment. VOA

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