NEWS

Kyparissia

Roughly 15 years ago, Giorgos Kallianis became involved in farming because «that was the situation; it couldn’t have happened any other way.» «I wasn’t happy I had to stay in Kyparissia.» The family then had 0.2 hectares of greenhouses. Today, Kallianis owns 2 hectares (about 5 acres) of greenhouses that grow garden produce, 10 more hectares (25 acres) growing garden produce and other crops in the open, including melons, and another 10 hectares growing barley and olives. «It’s best to have a variety of crops so that if something happens to one, you can cover the damage.» But he also owns animals «for personal consumption» because, as he says, «it’s not possible for a farmer to go and shop for food.» Hard work is needed for someone to succeed in farming. «If you owe a whole load of money, you can’t pay Albanians to cultivate the field.» He works 14 hours a day. «Moreover, there’s a lot of anxiety. When it gets really cold, I can’t sleep at night because that’s very dangerous for the greenhouses,» he added. His business has computers which record everything that happens on the landholdings, so that there is a clear picture of income and expenditure. Every year, he tries out new crops so as to be ready in case he needs to make changes. «A farmer today has to be a trader, an accountant and an economist. Otherwise, he can’t make ends meet. It’s very important for the product to be packaged and have a producer’s name on it, otherwise farmers are at the mercy of middlemen. We sell two cucumbers for 20 drachmas (6 cents) and you buy one for 100 drachmas (30 cents). The difference doesn’t go to farmers, of course,» he pointed out. Would he want to do another job? «Despite the difficulties, no. I could not sit in an office nor live in Athens. I go there for just one day and I go crazy,» he replied.