Defying the cold and drizzle, potato farmers from Nevrokopi and Drama, Northern Greece, arrived early in the morning at Thessaloniki International Exhibition Centre, and started to distribute 12 tons of potatoes to residents of the city. They distribute 1,700 packs containing 6 kilos of potatoes free of charge, while 300 packs will be donated to the community grocery store established to serve the poor.
More pictures in news247.gr
With this action the potato growers want to protest the very low prices that the merchants buy their products. Almost half the price of the production costs, as they say. In addition, 70% of their harvest remains unsold, while potatoes are imported from Egypt.
In a banner the farmers write: potatoes’ production cost is €0,20/kilo; merchants buy them for €0,10 and sell them for €0,70. (more pictures seleo.gr and NewsIt)
Hundreds of residents of Thessaloniki rushed to the premises of the 24th Agrotica Fair to get a pack of potatoes.
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Potatoes from Nevrokopi are considered to be of one of the most delicious kind produced in Greece.
Ten days ago, farmers from Viotia distributed vegetables free of charge in Athens. Within four hours they had given twenty tons of potatoes, carrots, onions and other vegetables to the residents of the Greek capital who queued for the free goods.
So, get together and set up REAL cooperatives*) that will bypass those merchants and sell your produce for €0,60. That gives you a profit of 40 cent instead of a loss of 10 cent/kilo.
Second, as Greek potatoes are often superior in taste to the ones sold in the rest of Europe, let these cooperatives set up channels to sell to countries like The Low Countries, Germany and so on. This could be very successful since around this time they start to import from Malta and other far away countries, because they are running out of their stock. And Greek potatoes are coming of the fields in different parts of the country all year around.
Third, instead of giving it away, form flying pickets that set up stalls outside big supermarkets and sell your potatoes below the price those supermarkets are selling them for. Let’s see how quickly the supermarkets dumb those free loading merchants.
This is just potatoes. Same goes for almost all Greek agricultural produce. From tomatoes to olive oil.
And when some initiative is taken then crazy deals like this http://www.skai.gr/news/finance/article/193553/i-proti-agorapolisia-elaioladou-metaxu-sunetairismon-elladas-kai-italias/ are made by which superior Greek olive oil will be used to spike mediocre Italian oil to an acceptable level. And then that will be sold all over the world as superior Italian produce. That has been done now for years. Guess who gets rich from that? No not the Greek olive farmer.
*)With “real cooperatives” I mean: set up by farmers, owned 100% by farmers and run under total control of the farmers.
don’t forget to include packaging and transportation costs.
Transportation costs here in Greece are truly excessive. It is often cheaper to transport goods from Germany to Sparti then to transport it from Thessaloniki. The list of crazy regulations that make it that way is endless (wasn’t there a piece on it last couple of weeks about the price of toothpaste and detergents?). That was one part of the failed truck liberalisations.
About packaging: most of the agricultural produce is sold unpackaged in supermarkets and everywhere else around the country. And how much would a plastic bag cost with a name on it to sell it in Western Europe? I know from recent contacts that olive oil packaging is very cheap as long as you buy it and fill them by yourself as producers. Again cutting out those dreaded Greek middle man with their ‘relationships’ with the state institutions.
It is going on for so many years now: producers get too little and consumers pay way to much. And nothing chances. I don’t buy oil in the shops any-more. I pay €1,80/kilo when I buy it locally. Last year they got €1,40/kilo from merchants. That was down from €2/kilo in the year before. And that’s even lower this year. And this is really the best of the best oil. What do you pay in Athens for top class olive oil?
packaging needs also hands to do it, not a plastic bag or sack.
Olive oil? I buy a bio from Crete at 5.60 for 750 ml and an average (apparently good quality) of 1l for 0.50 less. I use the bio only for salads and the other for cooking. Once a year, I have the chance to buy directly from small producers but it is “too heavy” for my taste.