In Albania, olive cultivation dates back to ancient times, influenced by neighboring Greek and Roman civilizations. This tradition has endured through centuries, surviving various dominations and historical changes. The typical Albanian variety is “Mixani”, mainly grown in coastal regions and known for producing high-quality olive oil.
The conclusions drawn from the preceding article on olive production in Albania highlight several key aspects. Firstly, there is a notable concentration of production, with six municipalities contributing significantly to olive oil production, while the region of Berat stands out as a major producer of table olives. Despite an expansion in the production base, characterized by a doubling of olive trees to 8.2 million, the structure remains fragmented, with 80% of farms owning less than 2 hectares.
The distinction between cultivations for olive oil and table olives has become more pronounced, with specialized table olive producers demonstrating greater professionalism and organization. Berat’s table olive production cluster emerges as unique, diverging from other geographical areas focused on olive oil production. However, there is still considerable production of dual-purpose cultivars, where olives are treated for both table olive and olive oil production.
Approximately 90% of the total production is directed towards olive oil, with Fier, Vlora, and Elbasan identified as the main production zones. Changes in planting patterns after 2007 have shifted the primary olive oil production areas. The olive oil processing industry is structured into three clusters, involving small to medium-sized mills, medium-large processors/bottlers, and small high-quality mills.
Challenges persist, including quality issues hindering export, with only virgin olive oil intended for domestic consumption. However, small high-quality mills actively participate in international competitions and export to Western Europe and the United States. Many of these mills hold certifications for organic production and, in at least one case, kosher production.
In summary, while Albania shows growth in olive production, challenges such as structural fragmentation, low yield per tree, and the imperative to enhance quality for export remain pivotal considerations for the development of the olive industry in the country.