Investigation of Chestnut Producer's Perception using the Geographical Indication Quality Method
Within Albanian’s agricultural sector, chestnut production constitutes an important potential for socio-economic development and biodiversity preservation, particularly in the northern part of the country. Chestnut forests with an age up to 300 years old, cover an area of 2545 ha with an annual production of 3000-3500 ton/year. Local farmers are facing several production constrains due to lack of cooperation among farmers, investment in terms of processing, packaging and product labeling and lack of a brand name. In this regard, it is important to identify the origin of the product, to facilitate its expansion, to protect the product against misuse of the name and unfair competition, to increase the producer income and to transfer traditional know-how practices. In order to address the above issues we applied the multiple-step research methodology based on Geographical Indication (GI) quality method. The goal of the study was investigation of the significance of the quality virtuous circle of GI at chestnut fruit plantations from northeast Albania and perception of producers. Labeling products with GI quality signs, enable to identify its specific quality, history, reputation as well as to connect the product with local territory in terms of natural resources, soil, climate, breed, varieties, and people regarding their awareness, motivation, traditions, engagement on collective actions, creation and preservation of the process. Moreover, the GI quality signs provides a premium price for the product, detailed information about its origin, quality, promotes economic development, through job creation, tourism, support small scale farms, etc.
Keywords - Albania, Chestnut, Production Issues, GI Quality Method.