An insight into the ARTOLIO olive farmers of Kalamata, Greece, by partner Yifat Reuveni
From August 20th to the 24th, ARTOLIO partner Yifat Reuveni had the pleasure to visit Kalamata (Greece), one of the regions participating in the project. The objective of the visit was to shed some light over the current state of the fields and the strategies each of the farmers follow in order to sell their extra virgin olive oil.
Messinia and Kalamata, its capital, is one of the richest olive areas in Greece and a unique one at that. It is beautifully located in the southern Peloponnese, surrounded by sea views almost from any field. In this environment, Yifat found farmers extremely dedicated to the olive oil field. These are the ones she met through her research:
Takis Dimitrakopoulos, Chora:
Takis is a farmer from the region that uses a special calculation method that checks the utilization of carbon during production and the absorption of carbon by the trees. He’s looking for a market abroad that will evaluate this data. He and the cooperative farmers have branding and even a special sticker of the carbon calculation system. They belong to the NILEAS cooperative, which consists of 45 farmers so far, and produces about 600 tons a year.
They were interested in exporting to markets in the USA and Austria and so far he has shown an interest in the organic market.
Kostas is the president of the Mouzaki cooperative. He’s a miller in charge of a cooperative of around 60 farmers that produces about 500 tons of extra virgin olive oil annually.
Kostas is a farmer that has two plots one next to each other. 90% of his product is of Koroneiki variety and 10% is of Mavrolia. There is an average annual yield of 1000 kg of olives per dunam in his production.
Ilias Anagnostopoulos, Maganiako:
Ilias has 15 dunams of the Koroneiki variety. The irrigation system used in his field is installed on the ground. He is very enthusiastic and receptive about learning new methods of cultivation and being a better farmer and olive oil producer.
The project MILL: Dimitrios and Apostolis Anagnostopoulos, Manessi:
They have a state-of-the-art Alfa Laval olive mill, very clean and organized. It is the only olive mill in Messinia with underground storage tanks.
These farmers work hand in hand everyday with the ARTOLIO team members stationed in Kalamata: Panagiotis Katsaris (Agronomic and ARTOLIO Kalamata agriculture manager) and Illias Kalfakakos (ARTOLIO Kalamata business manager).
After getting to know the farmers stationed in the region, the next step would be ensuring their success in the future and attending to their needs and requests, which consist mainly of increasing the quality of their olive oil progressively and exporting their brand to a fair market where they can compete with just prices.