Fertilizers, Pesticides, and Seeds
During peak years, Albania had used fertilizers less than almost any other nation in Eastern Europe. Nevertheless, in the early 1990s the agricultural sector experienced a fertilizer shortage; supplies of pesticides and hybrid seed also ran low. In 1989 Albanian farmers had applied about 158 kilograms of active ingredients per hectare, but the country's economic breakdown pushed the total down to 135 kilograms in 1990 and 38 kilograms in 1991. A lack of hard currency caused fertilizer supplies to drop 80 percent and pesticide reserves to fall 63 percent. Ironically, intensive application of lindane and other pesticides as well as disinfectants for treating soil at seeding time, in combination with monocropping of wheat and corn, had destroyed many pests' natural enemies and increased dependency on pesticides. Although Albania's agricultural research institutes produced sufficient foundation seed, obsolete sorting and cleaning equipment lowered seed quality. Varietal improvement was dependent on the crossing of local strains. The breakup of collective farms, which produced most of the wheat and corn seed, forced farmers to seek new seed suppliers.
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