The farmer from Kastoria claims the top of Europe
The Mediterranean climate of Greece is a first-class qualitative difference in the field of agriculture as well, as it allows the cultivation of most of the varieties that are widely spread in the western world. Greek agriculture employs more than 500,000 farmers, which means that it is the sector that employs the most people. One of them has managed to stand out and claim the first place in Europe in the production of organic products.
The reason is Thomas Moschos, who owns a family farm (Moschos Farm) in Mavrochori, Kastoria, and managed to make the list of the three finalists of the “EU Organic Awards for 2023”, in the category of the best “producer of organic products”. The finalists were selected from among one hundred entries from all over Europe, with the largest presence of candidates from Central Europe and the Baltic countries.
He is delighted with the development and describes it as a first stage of an effort that has lasted at least five years and concerns the entire production line of the farm, from the cultivation of the fields using precision farming methods, to the application of technologies for minimal water consumption in the irrigation of agricultural production, the organic production of cheese (kasseri and feta) and the recognition of the organic identity of the dairy.
“We still have a long way to go,” he says of the competition, but is cautiously optimistic about the final outcome. “The result belongs to the farm’s 12 employees in every production line,” he points out, “from the sowing of the fields, which is done without ploughing, to the production of milk and meat from the cattle and sheep unit, to the production of different varieties of cheese in the state-of-the-art cheese dairy, who have consistently followed the organic chain programme throughout the farm’s production line.”
The EU Organic Awards were first held in 2022 as part of the EU’s effort to recognise the value of organic farming and product production.
In the final race for the first place, the results of which will be announced at a special event in Brussels on 25 September, Thomas Moschos has to compete with two entries from countries with an organised tradition in the organic agri-food sector such as Italy and Spain.
The EU organic awards programme includes 7 categories and 8 individual awards such as “best organic producer (female), best organic producer (male), best organic region, best organic town, best organic “bio-region”, best organic food processing SME, best organic food retailer, best organic restaurant and best food service.
Participants should produce excellent, innovative, sustainable and inspiring products with a low carbon footprint, with real added value for organic production and consumption.
As stated, the Commission recognised that “our products, from production to consumption, have a low carbon footprint, as 80% of our production travels very little distance to reach the farm where it is processed and then consumed”.
The awards are jointly organised by the European Commission, the European Economic and Social Committee, the European Committee of the Regions, COPA-COGECA and IFOAM Organics Europe. The jury for the awards is made up of representatives from these organisations, as well as from the European Parliament and the Council of the EU.
In the seven categories of the EU Organic Awards finalists, the only Greek entry is that of Thomas Moschos from Kastoria. Any actor or institution in the organic value chain can participate in the awards competition as long as it has an innovative, sustainable product that contributes to the greater accessibility and affordability of organic products in the EU.