ORGANIC ECOSYSTEM: the Chamber of Chalkidiki in Greece supports organic agriculture in the Mediterranean
The ORGANIC ECOSYSTEM project has interviewed Mrs Apostolina Tsaltampasi, President of the Greek Association of Business Women (SEGE) and Director of European Programs of the Chamber of Chalkidiki in Greece about organic agriculture in the Mediterranean region.
1. To what extend do you think that strengthening organic agriculture could contribute to soil conservation, water scarcity and environmental sustainability in the Mediterranean?
Organic Agriculture with other methods of sustainable agriculture is the future, it is our future. We are facing the results of extreme violation of the earth, and Organic Agriculture can reverse that.
2. Do you have any concrete recommendation for MSMEs, farmers and operators to help them boost organic production?
Education is the key to every goal we need to achieve. We need to educate all stakeholders and participant parties on the benefits of boosting organic agriculture. Only if we are responsible consumers, we can also be responsible producers. On several levels, we have moved to responsible presuming.
3. We know that organic food is not as accessible as conventional food, due to price. In your country, do you think this is a barrier for people to consume organic food?
To be honest, yes. The cost of living in Greece is extremely high compared to salaries, and consuming more expensive products, such as organics is sometimes impossible financially. It is clear that Greek Consumers are far more educated and aware of the benefits of Organic Food, just it is not always affordable to choose organic.
4. Based on your experience, what are the main challenges Greece faces to establish intra-Mediterranean ecosystem and market in organic agriculture?
I think the biggest challenge and not only in Greece is to follow a constant policy and support mechanism strategy. The problem is that networks are not stable, and strategies and actions are ad-hoc. We need a joint strategic frame, which will have proper visibility and continuity.
5. In your opinion, what are the key strengths of the Greek agriculture sector that other countries can follow?
Greece has invested a lot in the future of agriculture. Smart farming has been evolving in the last years and is a driving force for the Greek Agricultural Economy. I think that other Mediterranean countries can also learn about how the smart farming startups and innovation ecosystem became a driving force for the Agri economy of the future.
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