Berat's Golden Legacy: A story of olives, determination, and support

UNDP Albania

April 8, 2024
Berat's Golden Legacy: A story of olives, determination, and support

Have you ever savored the exquisite taste of Berat olives or indulged in their golden liquid, rich with centuries of tradition and symbolism? If not, you're missing out on a journey that seamlessly combines flavor with history.

Berat, known as the city of a thousand windows, transcends mere urban status; it embodies the timeless legacy of the olive tree, symbolizing wealth, health, and hope for centuries.

For the citizens of Berat, olive trees are not just a source of sustenance; they are a lifeline, providing livelihood and prosperity. Olive oil production forms the backbone of the local economy, offering stability and employment to countless families. Berat's olives are renowned for their superior quality, a strong indication of the meticulous care and attention lavished upon them.

Berat's Golden Legacy: A story of olives, determination, and support

Arber, a native of Berat, grew up surrounded by olive trees, inheriting a legacy of cultivation and stewardship from his ancestors. In 2011, he founded Antipatrea, a small business specializing in olive oil and table olive production. Despite facing financial hardships compounded by outdated equipment and technological limitations, Arber saw an opportunity for growth and innovation when UNDP in partnership with Berat Municipality extended a helping hand through “Growing with your business” Methodology.

“Growing with Your Business” (GYB) is a business-support methodology, that aims to support small businesses to improve their business management skills, upgrading their capacities to expand their market and integrate more effectively in local, national and international value chains. It is a tried and tested tool that has been successfully implemented by UNDP in various countries over the past 15 years.   GYB complements two existing business support tools of UNDP Albania: In Motion and the Suppliers' Development Methodology. Expertise on these tools was brought to the country through a successful cooperation with UNDP's Regional Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean.

Through personalized coaching and strategic planning, Arber navigated the world of sales strategies, expanding his client base and strengthening relationships with existing customers. Recognizing the potential of international markets, he established long-lasting relationships with intermediaries and distributors, enabling Antipatrea's olive oil to reach distant shores. The acquisition of cutting-edge vacuum packaging equipment through UNDP's grant proved to be a vital step in meeting the soaring demand at Antipatrea.

“With the new machinery, the factory not only witnessed a remarkable surge in productivity, but we also hired additional staff in the production line. This was amazing for us”- says Ledi, Arber’s wife.

Success in the modern marketplace demanded more than just quality products; it required a strong brand identity and commercial image. With UNDP's assistance, Antipatrea underwent a transformation, presenting itself with renewed confidence. 

Arber leveraged the power of social media platforms to showcase Antipatrea's products and tell the story of Berat's olives to the world.

With a focus on artisanal methods and a dedication to product quality, Antipatrea has become the “house” of hope for more than 20 farmers in the region. Utilizing both its own produce from the olive farm and supplies from local farmers, Antipatra has extended its influence throughout the vicinity, processing a variety of vegetables and fruits upon client request.

“Today, Antipatrea marks a 1500% increase in sales due to exports and a 200% increase in profits”-says Arber underlying the transformative change that his business went through. 

Berat's Golden Legacy: A story of olives, determination, and support

Under the wing of UNDP's "Growing with Your Business" initiative, Antipatrea, along with Zaimi Olives and Feçor Zema Company, has found its footing in the olive industry, embarking on a journey of growth and resilience.

“This program, tailored for small and medium-sized enterprises, aims to enhance their business acumen and market integration. Guided by dedicated business consultants, these enterprises undergo a transformative process, receiving personalized support and targeted training sessions covering various business aspects. With the backing of the Berat Municipality, this pioneering initiative has seen eight businesses thrive, each equipped with over 100 hours of consultancy, specialized training, and substantial grants to upgrade equipment and enhance their commercial image. This collaborative effort not only uplifts individual businesses but also nurtures a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem, fostering a future where innovation and prosperity go hand in hand,” says Jona Dundo, the program coordinator.


Berat's Golden Legacy: A story of olives, determination, and support

If ever you find yourself journeying to Berat, do not depart without indulging in the famed olives and olive oil. I am certain you will savor them as deeply as I do, each taste a testimony to the rich heritage and enduring spirit of the beloved city.