NEWS

Advice center for organic farm methods

Everything you always wanted to know abut organic farming and livestock breeding and never dared ask is now available (as of last June) at a new Information Center for Organic Farming at the Ecology Park in Krya Vrysi, in the prefecture of Pella, Macedonia. The recent impressive growth of organic livestock breeding in Macedonia and farmers’ and consumers’ increasing interest in organic products led DIO, an organization authorized to certify organic products, and the municipality of Krya Vrysi to found the center, the first of its kind in Greece. The Ecology Park, surrounded by organic farms, provides general information so that people can understand the basic principles of organic farming and gain information on where to find organic products in Macedonia. It gives farmers advice and technical support and has specialized machinery. Soon it will also provide infrastructure for composting, such as shredders and compost containers. «If we get the funding we expect from the regional government,» said Harisis Argyropoulos, head of the center and coordinator for DIO in Macedonia, «that service will begin soon.» The center also has a conference center, library, a permanent exhibition of materials acceptable for fertilizing and pest control, and another on Greek organic products. Since it opened, it has attracted a large number of farmers – both from organic and conventional farms – and consumers wanting to know more about the subject and where to find certified products. «Other municipalities in the area have shown an interest,» said Argyropoulos, «and we have had visits from schoolchildren who also visit the surrounding farms to see what organic farming means in practice. Agriculture is facing major problems that have led even conventional farmers to be interested in changing over to organic methods,» he added. «Macedonia’s soil is particularly suited to organic livestock breeding, due to the rich grazing grounds in the high country which are very close to being ‘organic’ in nature.» At present, there are four staff members, including Argyropoulos, who is a biologist and organic farmer, two agronomists and an expert in animal husbandry. For further details, call DIO at 010.822.4839.