Albania: Sustainable Rural Development

Large potential for additional value creation exists in the agriculture sector and related activities in Albania. The project will develop innovative, economically viable and inclusive business models for market actors to leverage investment and ultimately increase income and employment for the population in rural areas, especially for women, young people and returnees.

RegionCountry Topic Period Budget
Employment & economic development
Agriculture & food security
Rural development
Agricultural development
01.02.2023 - 31.12.2026
CHF  4’000’000

-    Agricultural production and related activities are Albania’s main source of employment and provide a significant share of its foreign-exchange earnings, generating around 20% of Gross Domestic Product and employing around 34% of the workforce in Albania.

-    The sector is characterized by a high risk of migration, land ownership issues and weak cooperation and coordination amongst farmers and businesses/actors along the value chain as well as inadequate advisory services and limited framework conditions that hinder its growth and competitiveness. The pandemic-related decline in employment is particularly affecting rural areas, which are exposed to migratory pressures, especially among young people.

-    There is high potential for the agricultural and food industry both in the domestic market (agritourism and a growing, affluent urban middle class) and in exports to the Western Balkan region and the EU. This potential is not fully tapped.

-    There is need and scope to enable more Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in different agricultural value chains to meet the high demands of these markets in terms of quality, delivery volume and reliability.

Target The rural population, especially women, young people and returnees, takes advantage from and capitalise on the economic transformation of the rural areas.
Target group

Direct beneficiaries:

MSMEs owners and employees, especially young people, women and returnees

Intermediary targets:

Public and private BSOs 


Outcome 1:    People living in rural areas benefit from inclusive, increased and better employment and incomes.

Outcome 2:    MSMEs invest in applying innovative, economically viable and inclusive market based solutions thereby increasing their competitiveness.

Outcome 3:    An enabling business climate for the agro food sector is fostered through informed decision-making.


Expected Results:  

-    Innovation models for opening/expanding new agro food markets are identified and proven to be economically and financially viable.

-    Sustainable business models are scaled up, based on cooperation between private sector operators and public and private business service organisations (BSO), in innovation networks.

-    Capacities are increased along value chains (MSMEs) supported by demand driven institutionalized service offerings by public and private BSOs to scale innovations.

-    Public-private dialogue, based on results and experiences in the innovation networks, is fostered.

Results from previous phase:  

From Sustainable Rural Development phase 1 (funded by German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, BMZ):

-    2’500 smallholder farmers have diversified their income generating activities thanks to project activities (trainings and other capacity development measures) in the value chains of orchard fruits, greenhouse vegetables production, small ruminants (sheep and goat milk production), and MAPs;

-    Lead firms were targeted as entry points. Lead firms are those actors in a value chain who have the potential to integrate smallholders into a supply chain, such as aggregators of agricultural supplies/products, processors, exporters, etc.

Agency SDC
Credit Swiss cooperation with Eastern Europe
Project Partners Contract Partner
Private sector
Foreign state institution
  • Foreign private sector North

Other Partners

-    German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ)

-    Contribution to the Sustainable Rural Development (SRD) project phase 2, implemented by GIZ and funded by German government/BMZ

Projects Coordination Synergies will be sought with other SDC and SECO projects working on the same or similar topics, namely Risi Albania, Swiss Import Promotion Program, Global Quality and Standards Program and Organic Trade for Development.
Budget Current Phase Swiss Budget CHF    4’000’000 Swiss Disbursement Till Know CHF    2’174’000
Project Phases Phase 1 01.02.2023 - 31.12.2026   (Current Phase)