Smart Cultures: The blessed Greek nature and the solutions it offers to exit the economic crisis and develop
By Lila Stambouloglou
Smart Innovative Crops Greece. In recent years, the Greek Statistical Authority does not predict measuring unemployment rates. According to recent estimates, the end of last year found us with almost 1 million unemployed, with the (official) unemployment rate reaching 20% and competing in sizes. Three times more in population than Greece and Spain! One in two young people aged 15-24 does not have a job. And things are very difficult for people 25-34 who, being at the forefront of family formation. Are in immediate need of professional rehabilitation. In fact, evidence shows that the working population is approaching the inactive economic population in size. Which means that only one in two people now has a place in the professional arena.
Thousands of Greeks today have left or are thinking of leaving the country. Of course, besides the fact that Greece is losing a productive age, it loses many of its best brains. People who are capable, creative and have the appetite for work, which in the long run could have a positive effect on the development of the country. It’s really difficult times for the Greeks. But they are also ideal times for thinking and smart decisions! The Greek can stay in his country and fight for a better tomorrow. It is enough to figure out which road it is worthwhile to pursue.
Smart Innovative Crops Greece. One of them is the road that (re) leads to the cultivation of the earth. The farming sector is a field of professional engagement that invites the modern Greek to finally take it seriously and invest in it. Fortunately, more and more people are starting to realize it, even though this decision prompts them first. According to PASSAGES study, in the 2008-2010 period the agricultural sector recorded an increase in the number of employed at the impressive rate of 6.3%, which in numbers means 32,946 new jobs. As local actors report, the Greek countryside has begun to revive.
Corresponding testimonies for the Greek turn in agricultural production are from other regions, while the 30% increase recorded in the sales of the companies with propagating material, ie agricultural drugs and fertilizers, is also indicative. The Greek who wants to work with the agricultural sector (or does so already) can choose new solutions that have prospects for the future and of course bring a good income. Almost every region of Greece has microclimate properties, with very special features, where one can find unique flora and fauna.
Taygetos, Spetses, Naxos, Chios … there are varieties with completely “personal” features and flavors! Literally, Greece is a blessed country and its nature is unique to the world! This means that Greece can become a global rural superpower capable not only of meeting the nutritional needs of its population but also of exporting top quality agricultural produce to the whole world.
Aromatic and medicinal plants
Smart Innovative Crops Greece. Nonetheless, they are a natural resource that remains untapped.As the agronomist Yannis Gregoratos says, in 1980, 50,000 acres of 16 species of aromatic plants were grown in Greece, which were mostly exported. In 1997, production fell to 11,000 acres in all six plant species. The mismanagement by cooperatives, the wrong practices of some producers and, of course, the fury of the Greeks to seek their luck in large urban centers have contributed to this downward trend.
In recent years
Interest in these crops has been revived, which is positive, since it is a field of action with many perspectives. More than 200 species, many of which are bee-eaters, thrive in Greece. However, these are most commercially exploitable: mountain tea, sage, oregano, anise, basil, fennel, chamomile, laurel, peppermint, mint, cumin, melissa and coriander. In the same category belong some local products such as Chios Mastic, Cretan Dyestuff and Kozani Crocus. The yield of such crops can reach up to EUR 800 per acre, depending on the type and size of the area cultivated. It is enough for the producer to deal seriously and to comply with all the rules of quality production.
We must say
In addition, there is a need for modernized instruments, attention and stability on the part of producers. Care and handling after harvesting (drying, cutting, sorting, storing etc.) shape their final quality, hence their demand from domestic and foreign markets. Especially the latter, literally, thirst for such products, as long as they are of high quality. Another advantage of aromatic plants is that they can thrive on inaccessible and generally arid land, which means that mountain and island populations can help to boost their economy. An example is the Ombrian Domokos, at an altitude of 650 meters .
There, the ” biological estate of Zavos ”
For example, organic oregano can yield up to € 1,000 per acre, on an annual basis. Organic dried lavender comes to sell up to € 11.5 per kilo in the domestic market while its overseas price is significantly higher. Larger farming requirements and higher production costs, as well as multiple profits exceeding € 3,500 per acre, are mint.
Energy plants. A sure investment
Green energy, for which we hear a lot but unfortunately little we do to ensure it, is a field of action with a future. Given the growing need to shift to green energy sources and the increasing demand for biodiesel worldwide, cultivating such plants is a very good alternative for the Greek farmer. The latter, in particular, will benefit in particular from the systematic production of energy plants and for one more reason: Smart Innovative Crops Greece. The latest biodiesel market share of the Ministry of Development for the years 2010-11 covers a lower percentage compared to the EU. (2% vs. 5.75%), since Greece imports it from other European countries.
In fact, Greek farmers – and the Greek citizens by extension
– will face a major problem in the coming years if they do not solve such issues as energy, while a uniform price for oil for heating, heating and for the agricultural one will emit to the high production costs of agricultural products. According to experts, energy plants in Greece deliver more biodiesel than in the northern European countries, thanks to the sunshine and the warmer climate of the country. In addition, they have the advantage that they can be grown in fields that are now in compulsory set-aside. Finally, biodiesel produces two “gold” byproducts. Pita and glycerin.
Invest in Super foods
This category includes foods that have more nutrients than others, and their eating is more beneficial to the human body. So they are also referred to as hyper-foods. In recent years, an entire market has been created that exploits them. And exploits them commercially, so their cultivation is a sure investment. Below we will see some examples of relevant crops that we encounter in Greece. Of course, they are not the only ones. In addition, the list of superfoods is great. This enables the Greek farmer to discover other species, worth investing in.
According to historical sources, the troops of Alexander the Great owed to this plant their energy and endurance. Not accidentally, as current research claims. That place the hippophae in the top ten among the most powerful healing plants in the world. Due to its high content of vitamins. Antioxidants and polyunsaturated fatty acids.Until now, China and Russia are pioneering in the cultivation of horses. In Greece, we are still in the embryonic stage. With the first attempts to have started in Kozani, Pella, Crete, Fthiotida, Evia and Rodopi for three years. As the experts say, a good investment in the hippocampus requires a group of producers to share the responsibilities.
The hippophae adapts to
The most adverse climates, characterized by temperatures ranging from -42 to + 42 degrees Celsius). And in a large variety of soils. Even in barren, gravel or sandy soils. Soils with high salinity or low in nutrients and with a small water retention. Ideal areas for its cultivation in Greece are Kozani and Western Macedonia. The profit from the crop. In the case of the fresh fruit of the horseradish, is about 2,000 euros per acre. Smart Innovative Crops Greece. With 1000 times higher vitamin C content of oranges.
Hippophaes have been known since antiquity
It is reported by Theophrastus and Dioskourides, but is known in Tibetan and Chinese medicine. He took his name from the soldiers of Alexander the Great who noticed that they ate the sick horses and oxt only healed but their coat was healthy and shiny (horse + phas, the horse polished!). So the soldiers established it in their diet and they noticed a tremendous improvement in their health and vitality levels. Today, Greek horses can become an excellent source of income for modern Greeks.
17 years ago, 77-year-old today Elias Chronakis planted the first aloe vera plants in Greece. As he says in an interview, he met this plant in Canada, where he lived for 45 years. When he came to the pension and returned to his native town of Crete, he brought with him two dams with a height of 10 points from which they emerged gradually … 300,000 trees!. First of all, as its producers testify, it has low water requirements, and it is particularly resistant, if you exclude its sensitivity to frost and to the dangers of snails. It will thrive mainly in southern Greece due to its warmer climate.
The benefit of aloe is enormous,
Smart Innovative Crops Greece. As it is a plant with pharmaceutical and cosmetic properties that have been known for 5,000 years! In 1959, the Food and Drug Administration of the United States officially validated the important properties of aloe, paving the way for its wider use and spread. It is characteristic that it contains 25% of the pharmaceutical preparations, so is also the case with many cosmetic products.
A tiny seaweed, identified by many scientists as a food of the future, can give Greek farmers a revenue of more than 30,000 euros per acre! It is enough for the latter to try to cultivate in areas where the geothermal fields are suitable. One of these is Nigrita Serres. It is no accident that NASA uses it as a food for astronauts during their stay in space. For the cultivation and processing it is necessary expensive plants (greenhouses with special tanks, agitators, desiccants, etc.), which means that the investment costs are quite high. However, earnings compensate those who do it.
Smart Innovative Crops Greece. Another species that is an attractive agricultural investment and can be grown in almost all parts of our country, since it includes various varieties that have great climate adaptability. According to the World Health Organization, blueberry is grown in 16 countries, with the US leading its production. It is a fruit that attracted interest thanks to its beneficial properties, which have been studied a lot in recent years. That’s why its manufacturing products break into international markets. The cost of installing one acre of bilberries is estimated at 1,000-2,000 euros.
The miraculous pomegranate
The Greeks have always believed that pomegranates bring good luck. Rather, this popular belief is now justified, since those who act in cultivating the pomegranate say they are “red gold”.Two areas in northern Greece, Toumba in Kilkis and Drama have so far produced producer groups of around 10,000 acres, while three companies in the same region are active in the production of pomegranate juice. Finally, it is worth mentioning that pomegranate cultivation takes place in barren less favored fields as well as in former tobacco fields, so it is an excellent alternative for tobacco producers in northern Greece, who can no longer support their survival in tobacco.
Truffle: the black gold
Smart Innovative Crops Greece. It’s not just oil black gold. Similarly, the black truffle, a kind of underground mushroom that has amazing yields and low production costs, is considered to be the most promising alternative crop for Greek farmers.Truffle as a product is considered to be worthy of caviar and has a commercial value of more than 3,000 euros per kilo. For some years now, the Forest Research Institute (NAGREF) has been working to promote truffle cultivation in Greece, which grows even in dry areas or areas of high altitude, so it may be the case for agricultural exploitation of areas where the prosperity of other of crops is impossible.
Cultivation efforts are currently underway in Macedonia, Thrace, Thessaly, Aitoloakarnania, Peloponnese, Crete and Evia, while some plantations in the prefectures of Pieria, Serres and Florina have already progressed. The cost of preparing and planting amounts to 1,500 euros per acre and the first harvest takes place after some years. In the market, black truffles achieve higher prices as fresh. For this reason, it is good for producers to cooperate with traders so that the product reaches the ground quickly in the kitchens.
Smart Innovative Crops Greece. Our famous rose is still a durable crop that does not need much care and watering and that yields “golden” fruit. It thrives in mountainous areas, at an altitude of 600 to 800 meters and best performs on sunny fields with light soil. One acre can accommodate up to 500 roses that, although yielding from the first year, bloom fully after 4 years. Of the roses, the cheapest rose water, which also claims a good place in the markets, as well as sweet rose. The latter may well have good luck in foreign markets as a traditional Greek product with high quality and nutritional value.
Stevia, n alternative sugar
No one knew Stevia in Greece, until in 2005 the University of Thessaly began to study it by revealing the value and potential of its cultivation. What characterizes this plant is that it gives “sugar” 300 times more sweet than beet sugar, while it has many beneficial elements and hardly any calories! Its cultivation resembles that of tobacco, since both plants need the same soil and climate conditions and similar practices. One acre can yield up to 600kg of sugar, ranging from EUR 30 to 150, depending on its quality and purity. Strains and leaves of the leaves after sugar extraction can also be used as feed.
It should be noted that
Smart Innovative Crops Greece. All products of Greek land are of top quality and each species has excellent taste, nutritional value, etc. Eg. Greek olive oil is incomparably superior to other Mediterranean olive oil, so is Greek honey, or other products. In addition, local particularities give some Greek products totally unique features that make them popular all over the world, such as the Naxian products. The proposals presented in this article are a representative example of smart choices for today’s Greeks, at least for those who want to make a good investment in the agricultural sector at the lowest risk. Obviously, the rural capabilities offered by our country are unlimited. And now that the crisis has shown us its toughest face, our land smiles with meaning. Let’s not