Agriculture has been identified as one of the priority areas with innovative potential during the mapping phase of the Smart Specialization Strategy (S3) in Albania. The development of S3 is part of Albania's obligations related to the EU accession negotiation process, specifically Chapter 20 "Enterprises and Industrial Policies" and Chapter 25 "Science and Research." It is also part of the Western Balkans Action Plan 2021-2024 within the framework of the Berlin Process and a component of the EU's innovation agenda for the Western Balkans 2021-2027.
In this context, the National S3 Team, with the support of the Union of Albanian Producers, organized a roundtable discussion on forestry on October 26, 2022, at the premises of the Agricultural University of Tirana, following the methodology of the Joint Research Center (JRC) of the European Commission.
Approximately 30 representatives from the quadruple helix (government, academia, business, civil society) participated in this event. Participants made valuable contributions by presenting the sector's needs and possible solutions for intelligent development in forestry.
The meeting began with welcoming remarks from two panel members: Assoc. Prof. Dr. Leonidha Peri, Dean of the Faculty of Forestry at the University of Agriculture in Tirana; and Prof. Dr. Elvin Toromani, lecturer at the Faculty of Forestry at the University of Agriculture in Tirana. Mr. Arben Shkodra, the Secretary-General of the Union of Albanian Producers and a member of the panel, guided the discussion in two parts. The first part of the meeting focused on the challenges, opportunities, and prospects for the development of the forestry sector, while the second part analyzed the path toward smart specialization in the forestry sector.
During the meeting, the invited participants discussed, among other topics:
- Strategic measures necessary to fully exploit the potential of the forestry sector, with a focus on promoting innovation and scientific research;
- The key role of scientific research and academia;
- The advantages offered by the application of new technology in the sector;
- Collaboration among the quadruple helix with the aim of sustainable and long-term development of the sector;
- Brain drain.
The discussions held during this meeting will serve as the basis for a national workshop in the field of agriculture.