Mechanization

Mechanization

Faithful to Stalin's teachings on agricultural organization, Albania's communist regime allowed state farms to possess tractors but gave collective farms access to machinery only through machine tractor stations (see Glossary). These stations remained a cornerstone of Albania's collective agricultural sector for decades. In 1991 the thirty-three machine tractor stations controlled about 63 percent of Albania's 10,630 tractors and 25 percent of its 1,433 combine harvesters; state farms controlled the rest. Official inventories also listed 1,857 threshers. As the old order collapsed, the tractor stations metamorphosed into state-owned "agricultural machinery enterprises" that offered their services to peasant customers on a contractual basis. These enterprises often ignored state limitations on service charges, demanding exorbitant fees as well as compensation for fuel at prices higher than those charged at the pump. Some tractor drivers bought older Chinese tractors and offered their services at prices up to 40 percent more than those charged by the state enterprises. More than 75 percent of Albania's tractors were over fifteen years old in 1991; most tractors were in disrepair because plant closures had cut off supplies of spare parts.


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