Ten years ago, the village of Fishtë–Alessio it was like all the other villages of Albania. Its name derives from the surname of the great poet Gjergj Fishta and the notorious prison of dissidents against communism.
Everything remained as it was until i brothers Prenga they have not returned, forever changing the village. The creation of a restaurant in the family lands based on tradition and local products gave the area another dimension, even for national and foreign tourist guides.
The model of the Prenga brothers and their restaurant Mrizi i Zanave is spreading rapidly throughout the country. This trend, however, is also risky, because in addition to the huge investments this model also requires a 'spiritual connection' with what is being done.
Altin Prenga, owner of the agriturismo 'Mrizi the Zanave'It is certain that this type of investment model is a sector with a future in our country, adding that it is currently below its potential. Moreover, continues Prenga, this type of business cannot be carried out in the city but in the villages, where the community must be oriented throughout the area to facilitate the production chain.
Beyond all the difficulties of the moment, agritourism is certainly a new investment trend, as confirmed by the Ministry of Agriculture itself. Farms in operation are increasing income and employment by more than XNUM% per year, even if the lack of infrastructure and political support are increasingly becoming a stick in the wheels.
- Altin Prenga “Mrizi i Zanave and Slow Food, a combination with flakes”
- Bledar Kola, the slow-food chef who is impressing the world
Deurbanization in Albania
The rapid urbanization that involved Albania after the 90 years seems to have matured at present.
Life in the city is characterized by constant noise, smog and lack of natural areas: these factors are slowly bringing the interest of citizens to non-urban destinations (natural areas, etc.), especially in their free time where they can enjoy the nature and completely organic food.
This trend, therefore, is leading to the village restaurants taking off. In this context the Prenga brothers' agritourism is inserted in the village Fishta-Alessio, which thanks to a perfect culinary experience acquired in Italy are creating a positive development model for the country thanks to the fact that Albania as a nation has of many natural resources and a rich rural heritage.
Doing business among the poor
About 300 families benefit from the activity of the Prenga brothers. Some are full-time employees while others have entered into agreements to sell their products to the farm. THE
In ten years the appearance of the village has completely changed and people have started to think differently; Mrizi i Zanave created a great model for teenagers, turning the village into an international brand. But other challenges await the kings of Albanian farm holidays.
In fact, in addition to the restaurant, the Prenga brothers have added a building with six rooms for overnight stays, and have just completed the former political prisoners' building during the communist regime which will turn into an area where there will be a pastry shop, warehouses and fruit collection centers.
Altin's project does not end here: his dream is to further extend the products of the field, aiming to certify any type of crop. The challenge of the Prenga brothers is the certification of the products, in particular of the wild pomegranate, present throughout the surrounding area. All this will allow the farm to increase its value in the future.
It will not be easy as companies in Albania face a hostile environment where, beyond taxes, corruption and interests, they make survival difficult; nothing in comparison if you think of a restaurant in a village, where there are no roads, electricity is not always present, there is still alaw of the Kanun'and the presence of the state is only virtual. In fact, all the businesses that offer the farm holiday service complain about these problems.
This article was originally published in the Albanian magazine "Monitor.al " by title "Mastershefat që po kthejnë fshatin në modë "Of Blerina Hoxha
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