Greece's first processing plant for natural sweeteners made of stevia, a plant native to Brazil and Paraguay, is set to open in the central Greek region of Karditsa, the ANA-MPA reported on Thursday.
The initiative for the processing unit was launched by the Stevia Agricultural Cooperative of Karditsa and is designed around a patent developed by the Technical University (TEI) of Thessaly, with funding from Leader SA, a Greek company that specializes in food manufacturing.
Leader contributed 130,000 euros to the project, with the remaining 370,000 coming from the 50 members of the cooperative, its chief Giorgos Koulosousas told the ANA-MPA.
“Stevia is experiencing completely vertical growth in Greece, from cultivation at Greek farms to processing and distribution,” said Koulosousas.
Measurements by German experts showed that thanks to the innovative technology developed by the technical university, the cooperative is currently achieving 80 percent purity of the product, according to its agricultural scientist, Evangelos Polygenis, who added that the aim is to hit 95 percent at least.
“We believe that we are not far from achieving this,” he told the ANA-MPA.