Sustainable Agriculture Roundtable: A Discussion on the Future of Agriculture

Sustainable agriculture
On February 10th, prominent leaders in agriculture and sustainable food production gathered for a roundtable discussion on the future of sustainable agriculture. The event, facilitated by the Promoting Private Sector Employment (PPSE) project and sector association Organika, brought together experts from all corners of the industry to discuss the challenges facing sustainable agriculture and the actions necessary to secure a sustainable food future.

Moderated by Fisnik Reçica, project manager of PPSE, the roundtable opened with a call to action for a collective effort  to address the pressing challenges facing our food system.

Argjentina Grazhdani, Country Director of Swisscontact Kosovo, outlined the PPSE's commitment to supporting sustainable agriculture practices, highlighting the various initiatives and programs aimed at promoting organic certification and sustainable practices on Kosovo farms.

The discussion covered a wide range of topics, including the steps taken by the government through action plans and support schemes, importance of regenerative agriculture, the role of scientific research in promoting sustainability, and the challenges of scaling sustainable agriculture to meet the demands for better products.

Isuf Cikaqi, Director of Agriculture Policies and Markets Department at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Development, explored the state support measures to the private business community and the National Organic Action Plan for 2023-2026. The action plan is expected to coordinate and boost organic sector development, sharpen the stakeholder strategies, and guide policy setting that further support the increase of sustainable agriculture practices and set the trend for future development of the sector.

Swisscontact’s Environmental Responsibility Advisor, Christina Grünewald focused her discussion on the organization’s approach for sustainable agriculture principles that seek to sustain farmers’ livelihoods, natural resources, and communities by promoting agricultural practices and systems that are profitable, environmentally sound, and socially beneficial.

PPSE’s Food and Natural Ingredients sector lead, Avni Ramadani, presented the scaling of efforts of the PPSE project in promoting sustainable agriculture and organic certification of food products. He emphasized the project’s interventions in organic certification of medicinal aromatic plants (MAPs) and non-wood forest products (NWFPs) that have boosted the export of these products throughout the years.

One of the key themes of the discussion between the participants was the need for a collaborative approach to sustainable agriculture. Participants stressed the importance of working across sectors, from government and industry to NGOs and SMEs themselves, to promote the adoption of sustainable practices and drive positive change in the agriculture industry.

Agriculture and Veterinary professor, Arben Mehmeti underlined the importance of scientific research contribution to the advancement of the sustainable farming and touched on the recent case studies conducted by his students of agriculture.

Another highlight was a panel discussion on the role of scientific research, and innovation and digitalization in promoting sustainability. The panelists discussed the potential of research, education and consultancy services to improve resource efficiency, reduce waste, and promote conservation, as well as the challenges of ensuring that education and advice services are accessible and affordable to all farmers and SMEs.

The roundtable concluded with a call to action, as participants agreed on the need for continued collaboration and investment in sustainable agriculture. The roundtable moderator thanked the participants for their contributions and emphasized the importance of their continued engagement in the sustainable agriculture movement. The roundtable proved to be a thought-provoking discussion, bringing together experts from across the agriculture industry to tackle the key challenges facing sustainable agriculture. The discussion underscored the importance of collective action and collaboration in promoting sustainable agriculture and securing a sustainable food future for generations to come.

The roundtable was facilitated by the Promoting Private Sector Employment (PPSE) project, which is funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and is implemented by Swisscontact and 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.