The agricultural sector generated almost the entire number of new businesses that opened during the past year.
Official data from INSTAT show that, by 2020, 50,411 businesses in the sector of agriculture, fisheries and forestry are operating throughout the country, of which 7.2% or 4706 businesses were newly opened, while the total number of businesses increased by 4044 enterprises.
Unlike many sectors severely affected by the pandemic crisis, agriculture was not affected, either by movement restrictions or by consumption. Foods especially fresh produce were the product with the highest sales growth at home and abroad last year, a trend that has continued this year as well.
But the rise of new businesses in the agricultural sector did not seem to be productive, as the number of farmers involved in the public insurance scheme has declined during 2020.
According to data from the Social Insurance Institute only 46 thousand 743 farmers paid insurance last year with a decrease of 24% compared to 2019 and 7.2 percent less than businesses registered in taxes.
The agricultural sector has been involved in a formalization process since 2016. However, due to low productivity, businesses contribute very little to the state budget. In 2020, farmers accounted for 30 percent of the total business stock. Most of them do not pay taxes. The contributions paid by farmers in 2020 were 1.6 billion ALL and accounted for only 2% of total income from contributions, decreasing by 25% compared to 2019.
The largest number of new businesses in agriculture was opened in the region of Fier. This region counts 13,880 agricultural businesses, with an increase of 8% compared to 2019. 27% of the total agricultural businesses are concentrated in Fier, followed by Korça with 8283 businesses with an expansion of 7.1% in 2020, Elbasan with 6200 businesses having an 8.7 percent increase last year.
Unlike other sectors, businesses in agriculture grew in all counties. The largest expansion was observed in the region of Dibra with 19.5%, where 855 farmers were registered in taxes out of 685 that were in 2019, followed by Durrës with 18%, Kukës with 14.3%.
Despite the increase in the number of businesses and the expansion of exports, agriculture continues to be the least productive sector of the economy, while the increase in sales revenues is going more to supply chains than to producers.
In the last quarter of 2020, the average gross monthly salary in agriculture was about 32 thousand ALL, or 40% lower than the national average salary. According to a study by the World Food Program (FAO), most farms in the country, those with an area of 1 hectare, result in losses and produce only for self-consumption.