The Collapse of Tobacco Farming in Albania in the Recent Decades, Actual Situation and Perspectives
The purpose of this article is to describe the current circumstances with regard to tobacco farming in Albania and how the domestic economy is challenging sustainable development in some typical regions within country. This is done by describing the environmental and socio-economic effects of the cultivation and selling of tobacco leaves, the regional and global context. The national data shows that tobacco farming was dropping from an area of 24 00 ha in the year 1990 to ca. 1000 ha in 2018. Historically the number of farmers producing tobacco reached 30–35 thousand farming families (in the centralized economy, in the period before year 90) and the industry employed on average about 4000-4500 people. In total the number of employees directly in the production and processing of tobacco was 8-9% of the number of farmers nationwide. But in addition to them, tobacco benefited a large number of employees who are engaged in its trading sector. A distinctive feature for Albanian tobacco producers is the small area they have available for this culture. Together with an outlook on the future developments of the industry, this contribution is used to describe how the Albanian tobacco farming tendency corresponds to sustainable development and how it can be changed to improve sustainability in the country, through other options. The article is based on a literature study and several interviews conducted with different key stakeholders related to the sector.
The conclusion of the situation within this sector of economy in Albanian tobacco industry is a complex one, with a number of aspects connected to lack of management and capacities. The suggestion of this paper is to turn away from the current high dependence on tobacco to a more diversified agriculture, where different types of food crops substitute tobacco as the main source of income.
Keywords - Sustainable Development, Tobacco, Albania, Environmental Effects, Socio-Economic Effects.