"Development of the logistics sector is an opportunity for Greece and for this reason the government has set a priority to highlight the country’s geographical position and to become the main logistics centre in the wider Balkans and Southeast European region," Transport and Communications Minister Kostas Hatzidakis said when addressing the 11th Panhellenic Logistics Conference in Athens. The Minister said the government planned amendments to an existing law regarding the operation of logistics centres, to create a logistics hub in the Thriassio district, an industrial zone west of Athens, and complete a new railway terminal at the Neo Ikonio dock.
Mr. Hatzidakis said a tender to build a logistics centre was currently underway, and stated that the government is examining the creation of a logistics hub in Thessaloniki with the aim to become a trans-Balkan cargo centre. A similar plan is being examined for the city of Alexandroupolis in the northeast.
The government’s current focus is in the region of Igoumenitsa, in northwest Greece, and construction is expected to begin soon of a new airport in Kasteli, on Crete—one of the biggest projects in Europe, with a budget of 1.2 billion EURO.
Organic Farming Growth
Organic farming is becoming increasingly popular in northern Greece, marking a rise of up to 120 percent in 2005-2006. Based on figures released by the Organic Farming Division of the Ministry of Rural Development and Food, a total of 616,819 stremma (61,000 hectares) of farmland in northern Greece was used for organic cultivation in 2006.
According to Eurostat figures, in 2005 organic farming in the EU of the 25 member states corresponded to 4 percent of the overall cultivated land.
The countries where organic farming is gaining the most ground are Austria (11 percent), Italy (8.4 percent), Greece (7.2 percent) and the Czech Republic (7.2 percent), whereas Malta (0.1 percent), Poland (0.6 percent) and Ireland (0.8 percent) are behind in alternative farming methods.
Olive Oil Recognition
The first prize of the International Olive Oil Council, the “Mario Solinas 2007” Quality Award in the medium fruitiness olive oil category, was awarded to producer based in the town of Plomari on the eastern Aegean island of Lesvos. The firm Rafteli-Protouli M. Co was honoured with the distinction.
Commendations in the extra virgin olive oil category were also awarded to the Agricultural Cooperative Aggelianon and Cretan Natural Products Bios Aplous, both based in Rethymno, on the island of Crete.
The Mario Solinas quality awards for extra virgin olive oils are acclaimed internationally. The award ceremony was held in Madrid within the framework of the 95th International Olive Oil Conference.