Modernizing vegetable seedling nurseries to empower farmers in Kosovo

Sustainable tourism
In the quest for sustainable agricultural development, empowering farmers with modern equipment, techniques and resources is essential. One significant aspect of this effort is the modernization of vegetable seedling nurseries. These nurseries play a vital role in providing high-quality seedlings to farmers, which in turn leads to increased productivity and improved crop yields. In Kosovo, the support provided by the Promoting Private Sector Employment (PPSE), implemented by Swisscontact and Instituti Riinvest, is revolutionizing the agricultural landscape by supporting six seedling producers in different regions, modernize their vegetable seedling nurseries.

One of the primary goals of supporting farmers in modernizing their vegetable seedling nurseries is to enhance the quality and availability of seedlings. High-quality seedlings serve as the foundation for healthy and productive crops, providing farmers with a competitive edge.  

PPSE’s intervention in modernizing vegetable seedling nurseries involves providing farmers with access to improved equipment and infrastructure. The PPSE project facilitated the connection between farmers and suppliers of high-quality equipment, ensuring that farmers have access to a diverse range of machinery. The use of advanced equipment not only improves seedling quality but also enhances the efficiency of nursery operations, allowing farmers to produce larger quantities of seedlings in a shorter timeframe. Consequently, the project contributed to the co-funding of the latest equipment, facilitating a rapid modernization of the nurseries for seedling producers. 

The PPSE project's support goes beyond the provision of resources; it also emphasizes technical assistance and capacity building for farmers. By offering know-how expertise from renown agriculture experts, farmers gain knowledge and skills to effectively manage their vegetable seedling nurseries. The technical assistance provided by experts in the field empowers farmers to make informed decisions and implement best practices. Farmers learn how to identify and address common challenges, troubleshoot issues, and optimize their nursery operations. Equipped with this knowledge, they become more self-reliant, adaptable, and capable of running successful and sustainable nurseries. One valuable insight from experts is that promoting gender balance through the recruitment and training of women in nursery management can provide significant advantages to the nursery, due to their natural aptitude for nurturing living beings and promoting their healthy development. PPSE is promoting the employment of women in vegetable seedling nurseries as an income-generating activity. This economic empowerment would enhance their status within the family and community, promoting gender equality. 

Modernizing vegetable seedling nurseries is not a standalone effort; it requires collaboration and networking among various stakeholders. “Seedling Nursery Open Days” allow the stakeholders, such as farmers, suppliers, and other actors in the value chain to have a platform for knowledge exchange and foster valuable connections that contribute to their long-term success. 

Networking opportunities enable farmers to learn from one another, share experiences, and explore potential partnerships. Collaborative initiatives foster innovation and allow farmers to collectively address challenges in the sector. The first step towards facilitating such collaboration took place in May 2023, with PPSE organizing a study visit for seedling producers to the northern region of Italy, which is well known for its significant agricultural sector. The participants in the study visit got a chance to tour some of the top-notch Italian seedling nurseries and witness the innovative techniques used in cultivation of various crops. The visit paved the way for future growth, collaboration between the producers, and strengthened the dynamism for a more organized working environment, such as the creation of an association of seedling producers.  

PPSE is a Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) project, implemented by Swisscontact in Kosovo, in consortium with Riinvest Institute.  

Entrepreneurial ecosystems, Sustainable tourism
Promoting Private Sector Employment
Kosovo has grown moderately at an average rate of 4% in the last few years (pre-COVID 19) and is constantly facing growing labour force, while the labour market falls short of generating the jobs needed to absorb the new entrants (around 30,000 annually). Formal employment makes around 75% of the overall employment, with public sector accounting for 25% of formal jobs. Youth, women, and minorities (particularly the Roma, Ashkali, and Egyptian) remain the most excluded groups. The COVID-19 pandemic did not spare Kosovo’s economy from its devastating impact.