Cattle milk production in Albania was always characterized by a relatively large number of animals and very low yields. Consequently the economic effectiveness of cattle dairy farms has been low as well. The effectiveness of milk production has been associated with many other problems such as hygiene issues and poor milk processing capacities. Furthermore, the method of milk collection and milk processing had experienced numerous problems, which have greatly influenced the quality of the dairy products. The Bio - Farm "Rramilli 04" endorsed a revolutionary method in milk production by investing in new cow breeds with higher milk production capacity reaching occasionally up to 10,000 litres milk per year per cow and implementing modern new technologies in terms of hygiene conditions and milk processing.
Bio - Farm "RAMILLI `04" - AlbaniaLead applicant
The Bio farm "Ramilli `04" has an investment of 3.2 million Euros, 500 breeding cows of high generation, with taggers each ear and chips produced about 6 thousand liters of milk per year. This farm possessed 180 hectares of land used for forages for cows and had also a 30 thousand olive trees. On this farm are employed 40 people full time and during the peak periods the number of employees grow up to 70 itself. The Bio farm "Ramilli `04" is one who received keyword that this is the same farm with a farm in Switzerland. Indeed everything was automated. On this farmer it was assess the amount of investment in infrastructure through their projects. The perspective of this farm is the demanded concentration and vocational education and their training to make possible the vocation training for all area for different series of proposals available on this farm.
Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Water Administration - AlbaniaInitiative partner
It is a governmental entity which has on is focus: Agriculture and livestock; rural development, water administration, advisory servise for farmers, fisheries, irrigation and drainage, food safety...
Agriculture Technology Transfer Center, Fushe Kruje - AlbaniaInitiative partner
Applied research activities/technology development in the sector of agriculture, livestock, land&water, integrated farm management. Technology transfer activities as well as know-how in agriculture and livestock production. Scientific and technical information activities. Specialization and training activities. Charged activities with laws and regulations. Studies and proposals on specific activities.
The idea of investing for the establishment of a large dairy farm was born primarily from urban development that has taken place particularly in the metropolitan area of Tirana - Durres, within which lives more than one third of the Albanian population or over a million people. There are no other farms of this size in the area. Besides the market’s demands this farm is established in a very favourable fertile flat land under irrigation suitable for the cultivation of forage crops needed to feed the cows. Furthermore, the Gjipale area has long good tradition in cattle dairy production and its people are devoted to cattle breeding for generations. Gjipale is close to Shijak, a fast growing town, placed in a strategic intersection between the capital city of Tirana (its population is reaching 1 million) and the port of Durres, the second largest city in the country
Throughout this practice several innovations were achieved for the entire system of cattle milk production in Albania. In summary they are:
- The breeding system
It is selected Holstein cows breeds which is prevalent throughout the world for attaining higher milk production as well as milk quality indicators.
Insemination is artificial with sperm coming from imports which is sexualized in way to guaranteeing the birth of female calves, but above all to preserve their biological generation capacities.
- Nutrition and Food
Nutrition and food for the Holstein breeds is very specific. It includes mainly the household resources and also on farm pastures. Due to the conditions created on the farm household the cows are kept in stables regime. Concentrates are provided mostly during the summer and autumn. Feedstuff is composed of silage, concentrate and hays.
Albania is developing country and to reach the standards of other European countries in economic development has to introduce new technologies and to implement new practices which are more economically profitable and support sustainable development. The dairy sector in the country still produce milk at the rate of 2,800 litres/cow, which is quite low compared with European yields. The great advantage of the Rramilli 04 farm by introducing new highly productive breeds and implementing modern technology in milk production gave it a leadership role in the whole dairy industry in Albania. Its superb milk quality thanks to the highest standards has given the farm a secure place in the highly competitive dairy national market.
The main results include:
• Increased productivity in milk production by two fold compared with local yields
• Very high quality fresh milk and dairy products
• Increased employment in the area
• Training of cattle breed farmers
• Introduction of modern technology
• Sustainable land management technology in forage pastures.
From this practice there are several beneficiaries:
• The market and its consumers
• Farm owners
• The environment. Organic manure is used as fertiliers not only on the lands owned by the farm but also on those in the neighboured reducing thus the need for chemical fertilisers.
On Bio farm "Ramilli `04" provides 40 fulltime and 70 part time jobs. But there are also to many others connected with this initiative. There are several people who are working on milk transportation, milk processing industry, milk and its products on marketing channels, people dealing with agriculture crop production, agriculture mechanisation and farming. Another category are the livestock husbandry experts, and the veterinary service, both public of the Ministry of Agriculture and those employed privately by the farm.
The farm had to overpass several difficulties:
- Financing liquidity for investment;
- Difficulties to adopt foreign breeds to local conditions;
- Enlarging the surface land area used for the production of forage crops;
- Difficulty to find the proper qualitative forage crops seeds;
- Lack of proper agriculture machinery;
- Lack of processing capacity in the area when the investment started;
- Lack of urban infrastructure.
- Problems with infrastructure for processing and marketing of products;
- The decline of youth interest for livestock breeding;
- Lack of policies for preservation and development of genetic resources;
- Lack of proper marketing strategy.
There is not any negative impact on the environment. On the contrary the farm distributes organic manure to nearby cereal and vegetable farmers.
This new practice of cattle breed husbandry is transferred also to few other investments in Albania such as Lushnje, Tirana, Fushe Kruja and a Shkodra in the north. There are as well more than a dozen of other cattle farmers with more than 100 cows breeds who are implementing these management technologies. Bio Farm Rramilli 04 is serving also as national distributor of Holstein cow breed.
This practise is disseminated with very good results and now there are other five farms in the country applying the same modern technology in milk production and processing. Dissemination of these best practices is facilitated by the national Centre for Vocational Training of Livestock Farmers.