Project: Valorization of chestnut chain
Expert VSP: Mignani Ilaria
Beneficiary: GMN sh.pk
The aim of the mission was to evaluate the feasibility of a project to valorise the entire chain of chestnuts from the cultivation to post-harvest conservation and product transformation studies.
The reasons are in the possibility of a new investment that valorizes the enormous production of chestnuts in Albania, which are currently consumed only locally, also used for animal feed, and only to a minimum exported.
Chestnut cultivation is a major boost at European level as a typical product, as a traditional crop of many hilly and mountainous areas; chestnut and its derivatives are used for particular culinary preparations that are based on the tradition of local cuisine.
Chestnut flour is highly demanded for special confectionery preparations and for dietetic products, being gluten-free and rich in saccharides with functional prerogatives for the human intestines. One of the most interesting consequences of this phenomenon is the high selling and selling prices of excellent / good quality products.
This economic development could also have an impact on the cultivation of Albanian chestnuts, with the improvement of the local economic and employment situation, both at the level of farmers and induced for the field following the field.
The mission took place in part in the city of Tirana to meet government officials to give useful information to the study for the preparation of the project.
The field visit took place in the district of Scutari to see the chestnuts, their phytosanitary status, their location on the territory, the quality of the fruits and the logistical situation in which the crops take place and on which can be relied upon downstream transport. Chestnuts are in the woods, mostly governed and abandonment prevails, there are no orchard crop systems and the plant health status is good.
The project is certainly interesting with great potential for economic and employment development, but very ambitious at the present state of the general situation in the area, both at the agronomic level and at the level of structures, infrastructures and professional skills.
The implementation of the project is limited by:
- The local road situation. Chestnuts are inaccessible to appropriate means of transport and now the transport to the nearest road takes place on the shoulder or mule, for distances of even 1.5-2 km. The roads are impractical to industrial size and without the four wheels drive;
- Chestnut is a very perishable product that in a few days will muddy if it is not treated. The current road situation does not allow rapid downstream transport, especially in bad weather. The structures must therefore be equipped with first-processing technologies;
- The lack of Certification Bodies that guarantee the product, especially if organic, to the entry of foreign markets;
- The poor availability of a professional and efficient logistic organization throughout the product chain; timeliness is one of the primary success factors in marketing fresh fruit and vegetables;
- Lack of qualified workforce for warehouse management and technolog