Book of Abstracts
11th IFOAM Scientific Conference
11-15 August 1996, Copenhagen, Denmark
1) 108 Nedontos str., Gr-241 00; 2) c/o IGEKE, 184C Kifisias Ave., Gr-145 62; 3) Researcher, Unit of Agricultural Extension, Agricultural University Athens, Gr -118 55
Certified organic farming is new in Greece; it started in 1992 and became functional in 1993. As a matter of fact it is only 10 years earlier that a few people begun to grow their plants following the organic way.
Nowadays there are about 470 registered organic producers. Their land still represents less than 0.1% of the total agricultural land of the country. Major producs are olive oil, edible olives, cereals, raisins and citrus fruits. An increasing number of producers are in the conversion stage mainly engaged in cotton and olive trees for oil production.
Since 1991 there is a special office of Organic Products in the Ministry of Agriculture; its main task is the implementation of R 2092/91. There are at the moment three inspection and certification NGOs, namely Dio (1993), SOGE (1993) and Physiolatriki (1994). Apart from their main duties, the personnel of these organisations are often involved in extension, promotion, and R&D activities. The technical committee of each organisation is approved by the Ministry of Agriculture; they are responsible for the certification of the organic products.
Marketing of organic products is oriented to both local markets and to exports (90% of the olive and cotton products are exported); special open air markets organised by the producers themselves as well as the direct connection with consumers are frequent practices among organic farmers.
Sustainable agriculture and rural development (SARD) issues are relatively new and limited in Greece. This, is partly due to the fact that in many areas of the country (semi-mountainous and mountainous areas and small islands) traditional agriculture is of an extensive nature hence close to low input and organic farming. It is also due to the »productivist« discourse of the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers' Co-operatives and Unions.
For the moment, it is mainly through the LEADER I & II projects that sustainability is, more or less, dealt with in practical terms in the form of eco-agri-tourism and related activities. LIFE projects has been another opportunity for the establishment of pilot organic farms. Nevertheless quite a few project proposals are at the moment under way to be approved (i.e. HELIKON ETC.) Not much has been done to date on policy terms. Although R. 2078 has been issued since 1992, its implementation only started in 1995. The sub-programme already implemented concerns nitrates control; the sub-programme on organic production is currently (May 1996) on the stage of submission of applications. The procedures a farmer has to follow in order to participate in both sub-programmes, are criticised as very complicated, thus making the participation dispoportionally expensive in terms of time and money. Similar delays occured in the implementation of the »Natura 2000« project.
In 1995, a new organisation Rea (The inter-scientific society for organic agriculture) has been established. Among its targets is the promotion of the idea of SARD and more specifically of organic farming through publications, seminars, projects etc.