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Sunflower harvest in Albania

30 September 2004

Beneficiaries of UMCOR Albania's "Sunflower Production Support Program" have successfully harvested their first crop of sunflowers. The farmers started gathering the sunflower seeds at the end of August and both harvest and threshing have now been completed.

One aim of the program is to identify the best oil-grade sunflower hybrids for Albanian conditions. With this in mind, seed samples from the harvest have been sent to a partner organization, the Novi Sad Research Institute of Field and Vegetable Crops in Serbia (http://www.ifvcns.co.yu) for analysis. UMCOR will register the best hybrid seeds with the Albanian National Seed Institute.

Farmers, representatives from the National Seed Institute of Albania, the director of Lushnja Institute and staff members from UMCOR Albania travelled to Novi Sad to take part in the "International Maize, Sunflower, Sugar Beet, Soybean and Sorghum Field Day" from 07 - 09 September 2004. More than 350 guests from 20 countries attended the event.

After just one year of experience in the cultivation of sunflower in Albania, the conference came at a good time for UMCOR, our partners and our beneficiaries and will help with plans for the coming year. It was also a real boost for the farmers themselves as they were able to discuss their concerns and needs with experts, while at the same time, see for themselves the interest of the foreign community in sunflower production. During the conference, the farmers visited demonstration plots (see photo above) belonging to the Novi Sad Research Institute, which they found both interesting and useful.

The seed industry is important for the economy of Albania so the visit to the Institute at Novi Sad proved to be extremely constructive for staff of National Seed Institute of Albania. It is hoped that this meeting will enable better international links and cooperation between producers and research institutes as well as creating opportunities for training and further development.