On the occasion of his contribution in this year’s GAIA Epicheirein Congress, both as a speaker and as a moderator of a political discussion panel on the future of Greek agriculture, the newspaper «Ypaithros Chora» met and discussed with the former Secretary General of the Greek Ministry of Agriculture and former President of the Greek Agricultural Insurance Organization (ELGA), agronomist Mr. Nikos Stoupis.
Mr. Nikos Stoupis talked about the exploitation of technology as well as the importance of smart farming in the agricultural sector, in the context of a recent interview at Ypaithros Chora newspaper.
Mr. Stoupis highlighted, among others: If we want our country to regain a position according to its assets in the international agricultural markets, to reduce the gap between imports and exports, to allow the agricultural gross domestic product significantly contribute to the total Gross Domestic Product at national level, as well as to significantly improve its competitiveness through the development of rural entrepreneurship, then there is one and only way,with two parallel lanes with the same direction:
First, the integration of technology and innovation throughout the food supply chain and, second, the outreach and exports with quality certified products.
Do these look too abstract? Will they take time?
Obviously, in order to succeed in international markets, you need to already have certified products of their preference, provided in a competitive pricing environment. You need to have in place the necessary bodies and infrastructure. You need to have initiated a financial diplomacy. These things need their time, but you have to develop them.
As regards the first, maturity is obvious and diffused. Beside the scattered seeds of domestic research, there are technological and digital applications available, beyond the boundaries of experimentation, and they are now developing generalized practices, adopted by large-scale production systems, both individual and collective. Governmental initiatives are already being taken at central level in this direction. In addition, the private sector invests in getting ready to welcome and join “full speed” the digital farming sector. You are obviously referring to smart farming.
Exactly. This development was at the core of the discussions of this year’s Congress. I am referring to the way in which we can make use of all research and technology outcomes in the agricultural production, for increasing yields, reducing production costs, optimizing agricultural income and the quality of life of farmers, and at the same time reducing the environmental impact of agriculture. This goes to the other competitive systems that have started emerging as well.
I am referring to the large-scale and of national importance call of the Ministry of Digital Policy, Telecommunications and Media, for the installation of 6.500 agricultural field stations and the establishment of a National System of monitoring and operations in the agricultural production activities.
I am referring to the emergence of commercial schemes of agricultural interest, which put smart farming in its core in order to become the means of its wide spread in Greece, creating a new type of advisory service in the agricultural sector.
You can read the entire interview of Mr. Stoupis at Ypaithros Chora newspaper here. (Greek only)