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Zafirakis Fruit

Change in mentality for organic produce in Greece

Greek growers have undergone a change in mentality. They’ve implemented organic methods in their production and work on obtaining GlobalGAP certification, according to Nasos Zafirakis of the Greek export company Zafirakis Fruit. “Supermarket chains are increasing their focus on GlobalGAP certified organic produce. Over the last four to five years, we’ve been adopting organic methods and technology like greenhouses to provide organic produce.”



With December up to March as its high season, Zafirakis Fruit exports watermelons, lettuce, spinach and cabbages to European markets like Hungary, Austria, Germany and the Netherlands. “We mainly export cabbages and only some volumes of lettuce. The European markets traditionally ask for lettuce varieties that differ from the ones in Greece,” explains Nasos.

The company is exploring new opportunities, such as for herbs like coriander. “We visited many wholesale markets in the UK, Austria and Germany. There we saw great opportunities for coriander. So now we’ve begun working on a program for the production and approval of coriander for the next winter. We’ve been negotiating with our clients and try to find further opportunities.”



Nasos has seen the demand for a change in attitudes with regards to vegetables. “The mentality has changed. Consumers are eating less meat and more organic vegetables. Depending on the market, some types of produce that have seen a surge in demand are coriander, mint, iceberg lettuce, dill and cabbages.”

Nasos thinks that the increased interest in herbs like dill and coriander has to do the multi-cultured society of European countries. “There are lots of different cultures in European cities. Immigrants love herbs, while markets like the UK, France and the Netherlands have traditionally shown high demand for salads.”



“While trying to introduce Greek produce on the European market, we’re trying to change the mentality in Greece as well. Most European markets show a strong presence of Italian and Spanish produce. We try to follow the examples of Italy and Spain. I think these countries are one step ahead of Greece. We try keep our prices low to compete with Italy, Spain and Poland.”

The Greek horticultural sector has a large production of tomatoes and potatoes. Other produce that is grown in Greece are cauliflowers and cabbages. “The majority we offer now is organic. About five years ago, nobody was talking about acquiring GlobalGAP certification, but now everyone wants GlobalGAP certified produce.”



Nasos also added that another change has to do with how the climate has changed in the last seven or eight years. “We’re now seeing a lot more rain then we did back then. Because of this, more Greek growers have turned to using greenhouses.”

For more information:

Nasos Zafirakis
Zafirakis Fruit
Phone: +3026220-61765
Mobile: +306937427265 ; +306937427250
Email: zafirakisfruit@gmail.com
www.zafirakis.gr


Publication date: 6/22/2017
Author: Yzza Ibrahim
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


 


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