Agriculture has been identified as one of the priority areas with innovative potential during the mapping phase developed within the framework of the Strategy for Smart Specialization (S3). The development of S3 is part of Albania's obligations in the context of the EU accession negotiation process, specifically Chapter 20 "Enterprises and Industrial Policies" and Chapter 25 "Science and Research," as well as part of the 2021-2024 Western Balkans Action Plan within the Berlin Process. Additionally, it is part of the EU agenda for innovation in the Western Balkans for 2021-2027.
In this context, the National S3 Team, with the support of the Union of Albanian Manufacturers, organized a roundtable discussion on livestock farming on November 18, 2022, following the methodology of the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC).
Approximately thirty 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 livestock farming.
The meeting began with welcoming remarks from three panel members: Mr. Arian Jaupllari, Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development; Mr. Agim Rrapaj, Chairman of the Albanian Agribusiness Council (KASH); and Mr. Alban Zusi, Executive Director of the Albanian Food Industry (AFI). Mr. Arben Shkodra, Secretary-General of the Union of Albanian Manufacturers and a panel member, guided the discussion in two parts. The first part of the meeting focused on the challenges, opportunities, and prospects for the development of the livestock farming sector, while the second part analyzed the path toward intelligent specialization in the livestock farming sector.
Among other topics, the conversation among participants also focused on:
- Strategic measures necessary to fully utilize the potential of the livestock farming sector, with a focus on promoting innovation and scientific research;
- The importance of scientific research;
- The advantages offered by technology in the sector;
- The connection of this sector with other sectors and the revitalization of rural areas;
- The need for intelligent investments;
- Collaboration among the four helixes to promote intelligent specialization;
- Issues related to human capacity, labor force emigration, brain drain, and academia.
The discussions held during this meeting will serve as the basis for a national workshop in the field of agriculture.