The interest that exists in recent years in areas of southern Greece regarding the cultivation of subtropical plants, such as avocado, mango, lychee, annon and macadamia is intense.
Interest that comes as a continuation of the growing demand for such products in international markets. However, in order to maintain and spread their cultivation, a necessary condition is initially the identification of suitable installation areas as well as the provision of know-how for the cultivation of the above species.
The program contract signed between the Peloponnese Region and ELGO-DIMITRA, which aims to gradually familiarize the producers of the Peloponnese Region with the new crops of subtropical plants, is moving in this direction.
This project will have a total budget of 99,200 euros, will last five years and includes the creation of demonstration fields and the training of producers.
As stated in the Athenian-Macedonian News Agency, the CEO of ELGO-DIMITRA, Panagiotis Hatzinikolaou “will provide scientific support in terms of installation and cultivation techniques throughout the project while there will be information and training of producers and ».
The program will give the opportunity to the producers of the Peloponnese Region to get acquainted with these new crops, with the benefits that will arise according to Mr. Hatzinikolaou to “be the reconstruction of agriculture in the Peloponnese by promoting subtropical species as alternative crops and the penetration of new products of high value in the Greek and European market “.
The first phase of implementation of the program includes the identification of suitable – in terms of climatic and soil conditions – plots for the installation of subtropical species in different areas of the Peloponnese Region.
Then the installation of the “demonstration fields” will take place, while throughout the program will be provided advice by scientific staff of ELGO-DIMITRA regarding the installation and cultivation techniques throughout the project.
“This program also gives us the opportunity for a very constructive collaboration of ELGO DIMITRA with the Peloponnese region and its agronomists, nurseries that will produce genetic material in the future, as well as to test pioneer producers and all its local production systems. “Primary production” said Mr. Hatzinikolaou, adding: “” Demonstration fields “will be created on which scientific support will be provided in terms of installation and cultivation techniques throughout the project, while there will be information and training of producers and wider audience. We look forward to a mutual cooperation with the present and the future, but above all the opening of such collaborations throughout the country where the conditions allow it “.
Avocado is now one of the most important crops in southern Greece, with a continuous expansion of cultivated areas in the Peloponnese. Every year thousands of new saplings are planted displacing traditional crops.
According to a study by the Institute of Olive, Subtropical Plants and Vine based in Chania, Greece is one of the few areas near the European market that can support the cultivation of subtropical species, originating from East Asia, South Africa and Central America. gives a comparative advantage, which translates into additional income for producers of such items.
The advantage of cultivating these subtropical plants is that they are low energy footprint crops, ie low inputs and environmentally friendly, which means lower production costs and higher profit margins.
As described in the same study, mango and lychee fruits ripen during the summer, giving producers the opportunity to sell their product directly in the local market, which will be enhanced by tourist traffic.
The fruits are eaten fresh, but are also used in ice cream and dairy products, while macadamia nuts are sold as a dry product, which is not limited by the need for immediate consumption.
However, as noted, their productivity depends on a large number of factors such as the soil-climatic conditions of the growing area, cultivation practices, the type of nutrition and the selection of suitable varieties.
Finally, as a result, specialized research is required to optimize each of the individual factors for the development of fruits of specific high quality standards, which will remain constant from year to year and in different regions.