Supporting Albanian Agribusinesses: Small Cucumber “cornichon” ready for EU Market export

Founded in 2018, “Vegetal Export” shpk, is a refrigerated collection center for fruits and vegetables for import-export and marketing.

 

Located in the small town of Kolonjë, Ardenica, in Fier, the company cultivates fruit and vegetable, vineyards and fruit trees, for the purpose of wholesale and retail of their products and by­products.

 

Lately, “Vegetal Export” has started to export small cucumbers “cornichon” exclusively for the European food processing industry. The company has a cooperation agreement with a well-known Austrian company, specialized in the cultivation and collection of this cucumber variety around the world.

 

The rising international market demand for more product and the related business potential, has guided the company to focus its strategy and further invest in both product quantity and quality.

 

With the support of the EBRD through the Albanian Agribusiness Support Facility, the EU and the Albanian Government, the company was able to achieve its new objectives.

 

“Vegetal Export” signed contracts with farmers for planting around 40 hectares of greenhouses, as well as collecting 1500-2000 tons of cucumber in each of the three production cycles.

 

Besides providing the needed product quantity, the price range of “cornichons”, strongly varying by size, represent a common challenge when focusing on this product. Previously, automated sorting was not possible, while manual classification lead to a lengthy process and delays in product delivery.

 

With the support from EU and AZHBR, “Vegetal Export” has been awarded an IPARD grant. Complementary, AASF enabled the company to obtain a loan from AASF’s PFI Raiffeisen Bank, for which AASF covers parts of the risk.

 

The investment was used for purchasing a new calibration machine needed for classifying the cucumber “cornichon” into eight classes or categories, according to the size and weight of the cucumber. This function makes it possible to classify the product in eight price categories. Like this “Vegetal Export” was able to significantly increasing revenues for contracted farmers by paying premiums for specific categories.

 

The new equipment will further significantly reduce the labor costs as well as processing time. This will help the company to avoid the weight loss that the fruits vegetables suffer from the moment of harvest up to the destination, significantly improving the company’s financial gain.

 

The Albania Agribusiness Support Facility (AASF) is a financing framework developed by European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in cooperation and with support from the Government of Albania.