Agro-ecological Knowledge Hub

Greece

Greece

Greek case study: The Imathia case

Key Challenge

Eliminate the use of chemical pesticides in permanent crops (peach orchards) and produce pesticide-free products of high quality. 

Key dilemma and case study question

How to protect biodiversity and water quality in orchards whilst also improving competitiveness and market access? How to sustain the long-term economic viability of farms whilst protecting the natural resources?  

Potential key barriers to be addressed

Lacking social capital in the form of collective action, a subsidy seeking culture of individual farmers and co-operatives    

Short description of key characteristics

The case study area is located in Imathia, a NUTS 3 region, in Northern Greece. An environmental sustainability issue is the high pressure on natural resources due to pesticide use resulting in biodiversity loss and deterioration of water quality. On the other hand economic sustainability is closely dependent on the production of low to zero pesticide fruit in a highly competitive market environment.
The dominant farm production type is permanent crops, fruit orchards, mainly peach trees both for fresh fruit production and canning. There are approximately 20,000 hectares of peach orchards. Out of them, 60% are cultivated under Integrated Crop Management methods, applying fertiliser, pesticide and irrigation control. Moreover a collective AE measure of insect sexual confusion methods for pest control is implemented in 6,000 hectares of peach orchards. Due to the implementation of these schemes, local co-operatives and producers’ groups have strengthened their position in the area.

Key actors involved

Key actors involved include representatives of local agricultural cooperatives/Producer Groups, fruit-industry group, local authority and agronomists consultants.

Expected results

The results expected through the case study test are: the improved understanding of barriers and drivers of transitions to AEFS in a market oriented agricultural sector of Greece, co-construction of market mechanisms and policy instruments to improve the sustainability of fruit orchards in Greece.