The foundation of economic life in Albania is agriculture, to which, however, the different parts of the country lend themselves very differently. The best parts are the flat and hilly areas of central and eastern Albania, with the basins and river valleys that enter, first of all the great Còrizza basin, entirely cultivated with great care, and the neighboring areas, then the valleys of the middle Shkumbî, of the Semeni with Devoll and further inland the long basin of Dibra on the middle Drin. But it should be noted that the coastal plains, well inhabited in ancient times, are today largely transformed into marshes by completely unregulated rivers, that is, they are put to pastures; malaria is raging there and currently makes it impossible for the population to gather. Calmès calculated that in the coastal area, between Shkodra and Vlora, there are over 1700 sq km. of land to be reclaimed, of which about 400 flooded all year round. It should be added that the large owners (beys) predominate in the plains, who do not cultivate their estates directly, but rent them, receiving a third of the products. In the flat and hilly region between Shkumbî and Voiussa, more than 50,000 hectares of the best land are owned by the taxman, who also sells them to large tenants, who pay in kind and in turn receive a third of the products from consumers. The narrower southern valleys generally offer less arable land, but agricultural conditions have progressed better, also because medium ownership predominates (000 hectares of the best land are owned by the tax authorities, who also sell them to large tenants, who pay in kind and in turn receive a third of the produce from consumers. The narrower southern valleys generally offer less arable land, but agricultural conditions have progressed better, also because medium ownership predominates (000 hectares of the best land are owned by the tax authorities, who also sell them to large tenants, who pay in kind and in turn receive a third of the produce from consumers. The narrower southern valleys generally offer less arable land, but agricultural conditions have progressed better, also because medium ownership predominates (agà). The inland mountainous region naturally has little arable land and is still – despite the reckless devastation – covered in thick woods.
There is no official data on land distribution; Albania has not yet joined the International Institute of Agriculture. A calculation made in 1916 raised the arable land of all Albania to just 200-250,000 hectares (8-9%), but the figure is perhaps too low. It should also be noted that we are far from using all the land susceptible to cultivation; in N., according to Calmès, barely a tenth of the cultivable area would actually be cultivated.
The main product is corn, which, favored by the high summer temperatures, thrives luxuriantly, up to heights that are quite unusual for us; it prefers plains with rich, moist soil and valley bottoms, but it also grows well in dry soils, benefiting from abundant rainfall. It constitutes the fundamental food for the population, hence its great diffusion; according to some of the maize areas represent 4 / 5 of the entire cultivated area. Rice is grown in the Zadrimë, in the Tirana and Elbasan basins, in the lower Semeni valley, in the Sushicë valley and also in other areas where it is possible to derive irrigation water from the rivers. Wheat cultivation is hampered by frequent soil moisture and diseases; he practices in the plain of Scutari, in the basin of Tirana, and in some hilly areas. Barley and oats are more common than wheat, especially in the low and medium mountains of the interior. Cereals, despite the primitive agricultural methods, can feed a little export in good years, and were already exported to Corfu and Dalmatia in the Turkish era; on the other hand, in 1920, which was a very bad year, Albania imported corn gold for over 470,000 francs, over 1 million rice, for about 600. 000 francs of flour (1. 157,000 francs gold in 1921.). Among the industrial plants, cotton is of some importance (plain of Shijak in S. di Durazzo, basin of Tirana, surroundings of Lushnjë and Elbasan, lower valley of the Voiussa) and tobacco, which is grown almost everywhere in the plains and hills. for the use of the residents, but it is especially widespread in the surroundings of Shkoder and Elbasan, where part of the harvest is exported, and today it is also in progress in southern Albania. But the first place belongs to the olive tree, which thrives very luxuriantly in the hills behind Vlora, in the Malakastra, in the Chimara, in the N and NW region. of Elbasan, in the hills of Croia and Alessio, etc. The harvest usually begins at the end of October. Olives, oil and pomace are exported every year, but in very fluctuating quantities, especially in Italy, where the oil, extracted in Albania with very primitive means, is partly refined (exportation of olives: 1920 gold fr. 154,000; 1921 gold fr. 352,500; 1922 fr. gold 53,000; oil export: 1920 fr. gold 116,000; 1921 fr. gold 354,500; 1922 fr. gold 186,600). We must also remember the citrus fruits of Chimara (where they are cultivated terracing the rapid slopes, with a frequent system also in Italy, most probably imported from Italy), of the hills of Delvino, Valona, Peqin, and Elbasan; among them lemons are exported to a small extent. The fruit trees (apple, pear, quince, plum, cherry, pomegranate) are used for local consumption; walnuts are exported instead (Tomorr massif, etc.). with a frequent system also in Italy, most probably imported from Italy), of the hills of Delvino, Valona, Peqin, and Elbasan; among them lemons are exported to a small extent. The fruit trees (apple, pear, quince, plum, cherry, pomegranate) are used for local consumption; walnuts are exported instead (Tomorr massif, etc.). with a frequent system also in Italy, most probably imported from Italy), of the hills of Delvino, Valona, Peqin, and Elbasan; among them lemons are exported to a small extent. The fruit trees (apple, pear, quince, plum, cherry, pomegranate) are used for local consumption; walnuts are exported instead (Tomorr massif, etc.).
As for the vine, it has a very limited area, and is grown almost only for table grapes, since the use of wine is forbidden to Muslims; more widespread about thirty years ago, it was also damaged by the cryptogam, against which the residents gave up fighting. Sesame, flax and sumac are still to be remembered.
According to smber, the woods are a significant resource for Albania. In the maritime region of northern Albania, between Drin and Arzen, as well as in the hilly areas behind, Fr. ex. between Croia and Alessio, between Tirana and Elbasan, broad-leaved trees prevail (oak, turkey oak, elm, ash); in the mountains of the N. and NE. instead the beech prevails, sometimes mixed with pine, fir and larch; the vast forests of Mirdizia are made up of oaks at the bottom, beeches higher up, and in the higher regions almost exclusively of fir trees. A special mention deserves the walnut, which is never lacking in the large estates of northern Albania. In central Albania dense woods still cover the slopes of Tomorr and other more eastern groups; in southern Albania the forest is now rarer. Up to now, timber has been exported to a small extent compared to the richness of the woods, and almost only by Italian companies (Italian society of Albanian forests); coal is exported to a greater extent (to Italy, Greece, Dalmatia).
The limited food needs of the residents are also provided, to a very large extent, by the breeding of livestock, which is exercised, as already mentioned, by semi-nomadic shepherds, periodically migrating from the summer mountain locations to the winter locations of Musacchia and the other plains. coastal areas. Up to now only rough estimates have been made of the number of head of cattle. Of course, sheep (perhaps one and a half million) take the first place, of which wool is widely used, and also milk for the manufacture of cheese, which largely enters the diet of the mountaineers. The cheeses of the Klementi tribe, those of Kavajë, those of the plateau of Kurvelesh are prized; in southern Albania, and especially in the province of Gjirokaster, under the influence of Italy, the dairy has made notable progress and social dairies have also sprung up. The export of the cheese reached 445.00 fr. gold in 1922; that of wool, much more significant, in 1922 amounted to 385,000 francs. gold, in 1924 to 691,000, in 1925 to 1,232,000, in 1926 to 668,000. But cattle are also numerous (perhaps 300,000 heads) especially in Musacchia; and, although the conditions of the breeding are very backward, the export of the skins reaches significant figures (over 1,420,000 gold francs in each of the years 1924, 1925 and 1926, including, however, sheep skins). Horses and mules are in good numbers in the south (perhaps 70-80,000 head); for the breeding of them the region of Delvino has the primacy. There is also a small export of live cattle, with a tendency to increase in recent years.
The abundance of fish in the Albanian coastal rivers and lakes has been known for a long time, but the fishing industry has had up to now – except perhaps in the period of Venetian domination – a completely secondary importance. Mullets, sea bass, sole, sea bream, sea bass, bark (Alburnus scoranza, fish that appears in large schools in winter) are caught mainly between the second half of autumn and the beginning of spring, and sent to the markets of the main Albanian cities; even fishermen from Brindisi and Bari hoard it to some extent. Notable experiments for the development of fishing in Albania were initiated by Italy in 1913 and are now being resumed. Lake Butrint and the inland lakes of Shkodra and Ochrida are also rich in fish.