Gjedra - Berat - Exporter of medicinal plants
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Kükes, 1 July 2022
Through Efti, director of the Castle Hotel in Berat, former financial director of Gjedra, we will have the opportunity to meet 3 of its executives who will show us around the company of 50 employees based in Berat. Gjedra is a major player in the market of condiment and medicinal plants in Albania. Exporting 2200 tons of plants worldwide (representing 22'000 tons of fresh harvest before drying). Created in 1993, 2 years after the fall of communism, like many companies, its founder has never stopped opening new export markets, especially in the USA and Northern Europe, the food, pharmaceutical and cosmetic markets, based on a solid network of 300 local producers spread throughout the country.
Gjedra has more than 170 references of plants, flowers, leaves, roots, cultivated, wild, certified or not organic according to their origin.
The plants arrive in Berat from local collection points, where the growers and pickers deposit them. They are delivered dry with the branches, and Gjedra takes care of pruning and cleaning them using sophisticated machines made in Northern Europe. The sieving is done using rotating cylinders whose internal diameter is adapted to the size of the product being processed. First product: sage. The incoming product is processed manually for certain parts of the plant, such as the roots.
Why do the EEC and the Albanian state subsidise Gjedra?
Buyer, packer, exporter, present in all the country, it is several thousands of families of farmers of mountain which are concerned by the harvest and the production of medicinal plants. Taking advantage of biotope ensuring the entire catalog of European plants, Albania also benefiting from a workforce almost the best market in Europe has unbeatable competitive advantages. In view of the country's desire to join the EEC, Gjedra anticipates the drastic increase in the minimum wage (300 euros against 800 euros in Portugal) by productivity gains on cleaning and packaging of plants.
It is partly provided for visual and moisture controls by the company, leaving it to the buyers to carry out their own controls of the active ingredients, by chromography for example for products intended for the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries.
With so much picking in the wild meadows, the risk of depleting the "production stations" is enormous. Gjdra assures us that a control program avoiding over-picking is in place and audited by a Swedish NGO.
The company has just acquired two large dryers co-financed by the EEC and the Albanian state. They will be powered by photovoltaic panels on the roof. An investment of 200,000 euros.
In two hours of interviews, we were unable to determine the quality of the products marketed, their origin etc... On the other hand, we saw that the managers are highly motivated, know their job perfectly, their answers often anticipate our questions, the company is well prepared. Thank you to the whole team for allowing us to visit this magnificent work tool, which gives off the smell of medicinal plants that we know well.