LIVINGAGRO connects innovators and stakeholders of the Mediterranean agroforestry sector, a first success story born in Greece
In the framework of the first LIVINGAGRO online B2B event held in Greece in July 2021, economic stakeholders had the opportunity to meet with innovators in one-to-one meetings to learn more about innovations and new uses of traditional practices that have been introduced in short presentations.
One of the potential collaborations between a scientist and an economic stakeholder that emerged from the LIVINGAGRO B2B meetings focuses on the intercropping of avocado trees in olive groves in Crete. In his presentation, Dr. Spiros Lionakis, Emeritus Professor of Arboriculture at the Hellenic Mediterranean University, explained how planting avocado trees between widely-spaced olive trees can boost farmers' income, help prevent pest outbreaks, decrease erosion and enable higher carbon storage. As more biodiversity is introduced into the rural ecosystem, less pesticide is likely to be needed, since it becomes easier for the natural enemies of pests - as well as many other creatures - to thrive.
Mrs. Eleftheria Mamidaki, manager of Anoskeli Winery and Oil Mill in Crete, was intrigued by the olive-avocado intercropping plan, which may help Anoskeli expand their agricultural activities without purchasing new land or removing healthy olive trees. As Ms. Mamidaki added, avocado growing is “a low-cost agricultural activity that can have a good yield for the investmentgood for our company - good for the existing fields. Intercropping helps the soil, so it might also help the olive trees.”
Of course, it is necessary for experts to evaluate an olive grove’s location, water and soil to see if appropriate conditions exist for this type of intercropping to succeed. After Dr. Lionakis visited the olive groves under consideration to see if the trees were appropriately spaced, soil was sent to the Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Chania (MAICh) for analysis, to check its suitability for avocado cultivation. If the results are encouraging, the collaboration will continue with the required olive tree pruning, soil preparation and avocado tree selection.
Starting from her positive experience, Mrs. Eleftheria Mamidaki recommends that other stakeholders of the olive and dairy sectors attend MAICh’s upcoming hybrid LIVINGAGRO B2B event taking place next December 16th and 17th. She considers LIVINGAGRO’s events “forward-looking” and especially useful for communicating new ideas and practices.