Greece's first stevia cooperative was established in Arianna

Western Thrace
Thu, 11 Aug 2022 10:36 GMT
Tobacco producers in the Rhodope province are turning to alternative products. Among the alternative products is stevia (sweetener) production.
Greece's first stevia cooperative was established in Arianna

Tobacco producers in the Rhodope province are turning to alternative products. Among the alternative products is stevia (sweetener) production.

The first stevia cooperative in Greece was established in Arrianna (Kozlukebir) village of Kozlukebir Municipality in Rhodope province.

Consisting of 24 founding members aged between 22 and 50, the cooperative has already planted 150 acres of stevia.

It has been announced that the cooperative, which will operate in the Rhodope and Xanthi provinces, will plant another 20 acres of stevia in 2023. It was noted that the cooperative, which will produce in the EU approved biological product category, aims to grow gradually.

Tarkan Multaza, Vice President of Eastern Macedonia Thrace State, one of the consultants of the Cooperative, stated that stevia production is less expensive, easier to produce and does not require new tools compared to tobacco production.

Multaza said the production of Stevia yielded more products than tobacco at the beginning of the acre, yielding almost three times the price of tobacco.

Emphasizing that the product market is a guarantee, Multaza stated that sales guarantee is given to the products with the contracts made with Stevia Hellas.

Stating that the farmers in the region have a positive approach to the cooperative, Multaza said, “In the first stage, our farmers follow the developments. I believe that the interest in our cooperative will increase rapidly from the moment the first product is obtained and sold.” said.

Reminding that the number of tobacco producers in the region was 7,000 people about 10 years ago, Tarkan Multaza underlined that this number does not exceed 3,000 today.

Comparing tobacco and stevia production, Multaza said, “Stevia yields 300 kilos per acre. The price per kilo varies between 2.90 to 3.00 euros. This corresponds to approximately 900 euros per acre. Tobacco yields 150 kilos per acre at best. This means a maximum income of 600 euros per acre.” he said.

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