YLLI BIÇOKU1*, MEDIN ZEQIRI2, GRIGOR GJEÇI3
1 Department of Animal Production, Agricultural University of Tirana, Tirana – Albania
The aim of this exploratory study was to assess the farmers’ awareness about food safety standards. We are focused on farmers’ awareness about food safety institutional framework, animal disease, and national food safety standards. A total of 144 dairy farmers in two regions of Albania, and 150 ones in two regions of Kosovo, with more than four cows per farm, were interviewed according to a questionnaire assessing the farmers’ general knowledge about animal diseases, as well as preventive farm practices with regard to food safety. In both countries about 87% of the respondents state that they have no cooling tank for storing the milk, which is a prerequisite for attaining milk safety and quality standards. A considerable number of farmers (52.7% in Albania and 44.6% in Kosovo) are not aware about the institutions in charge of food safety and animal health control. About 1/3 of the farmers in Albania and 11.3% in Kosovo stated that they never or rarely use ear tags to identify their livestock animals. In addition most farmers’ state that they do not know symptoms of the Brucellosis (59.7% in Albania and 71.3% in Kosovo) and TBC (64.6% in Albania and 68.6% in Kosovo), indicating the low awareness level among farmers about animal diseases and food safety. Extension and Veterinary Services must plan awareness, teaching and training programs for dairy farmers to improve safety standards at farm level. In addition public and donors support schemes for farmers should be strongly linked to food safety standard implementation.
Keywords: Dairy farms, veterinary service, advisory system, food safety, animal register, and animal diseases.