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Greece: Potato revolution amid financial crisis

As Greece slides ever deeper into financial difficulties a new initiative has sprung up aimed at saving some money.

It's a simple idea - selling potatoes directly from producer to consumer, thus bypassing the  middleman, slashing prices in half.

The movement started in the north of Greece and has spread, in the space of a few weeks, to the rest of the country.

"Salaries are very low, taxes are very high and the price of products doesn't seem to follow," says Sofia Manidou, a consumer of the reduced price potatoes.

"We have to pay a lot of money for basic products like potatoes. This is the potato revolution and we hope to see revolutions of other types of food too because we are in great need of this."

It seems likely that other products will follow. It's an idea that has clear benefits for both sides.

it's taking its toll on the retailers too, who are being forced to slash their prices in response, just to compete.

Stelios Ioannidis is one of the farmers taking part, off-loading dozens of sacks of potatoes to the eager customers.

"The middleman exploits us by buying our products at low prices," he tells me. "We want to help the consumer in these difficult times. This sends a message that a few people can't profit at the expense of all of us."

The potato sales are being organised by municipalities keen to participate.

Customers pre-order the quantity of potatoes they want. After paying, they're given a receipt, which they then present to the farmers, who hand them the right number of sacks.

From afar, the whole scene is strangely reminiscent of food lines which, in an EU nation state, has been described as "a little humiliating," admits Lefteris Roubelakis as he waits patiently in the queue.

But as austerity bites ever deeper, the movement is meeting the needs of a squeezed nation.

Source: www.bbc.co.uk

Publication date: 3/15/2012


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