In the city of Serres, in Northern Greece, with a long agricultural and livestock farming tradition, a two-day AgriBusiness Forum undertook (for the second year in a row) to raise the awareness of Greek farmers to the possibilities that front-line technologies such as the use of big data analytics or remote monitoring open to precision farming, or again to the accessibility of global value chains through modern logistics and product conservation techniques.
The participation to the AgriBusiness Forum of people from academic, research, business - but most importantly from farming itself – brought best practices to the front and opened the debate over the possibility of real-life integration of innovation to the reality of Greek agriculture. Research and experiences from Rutgers University /USA, Alnarp SLU/Sweden or the Producers’ Union of Brabant/the Netherlands were discussed and the “triple helix” approach of academic/research – business – state/regional support was dwelt upon with interest.
An “innovation competition” with the participation of producers and SMEs bringing to a large audience products, services and business models/start-ups of Greek agriculture was run for the second time with quite a success.
The two-days event, ending this time at the impressive Kerkini lake with water-buffalo-raising operations adjoining a Natura wildlife reserve (last year the visit was to the geothermal field of Nigrita and the production of -spirulina superfood…), was interesting in several ways to the participants.
Maybe the focal question left behind was to what extent an “adequate technology”/ gradual approach would better serve one in practice than a frontline one. For the major question remains: can Greek agriculture take off, an agriculture employing 10% of the workforce but producing no more than 2% of GDP? The primary sector looked for a time a refuge for Greeks battered by the financial crisis of 2009-2018 – but now it has to stand on its own merits.