Ecodevelopment at ETAGRO 2023: Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Precision Agriculture in Greece

Ecodevelopment was present at ETAGRO 2023, with the coordination and participation in a roundtable on “Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Precision Agriculture in Greece”, last Friday, November 3, in the context of the industrial cycle of the conference. The roundtable was organized and moderated by the President of Ecodevelopment, Dr. Spyros Mourelatos.  Christos Karydas (Director of Precision Agriculture, Econapπτυxi SA, Greece), Mr. Kostas Kravvas (rice farmer, Halastra, Greece), Mr. Eugenios Kalaitzopoulos (CEO Olympusherb IKE, Advisor SMERC FUND, Greece) and Mr. Stelios Kotsopoulos (Director of Research and Development, AgroApps).
Starting the discussion, Mr. Karantininis noted that our country is in 42nd place in terms of innovation worldwide, behind most European countries, but at the same time it is very high with the existence of companies that produce innovation. The problem is that unfortunately this technological and scientific innovation does not get to the market. He also stressed that any introduction of innovations should be based on real agricultural data and not on limited experimental schemes.
Mr. Karydas then described the innovative interventions of Ecodevelopment, both in terms of technological and operational approach, on which the company’s provision of precision agriculture services has been based for the past seven years. He also analysed the impact of these approaches in the field, mainly in terms of overturning decades-old myths regarding the impossibility of implementing precision agriculture in Greece, but also the prospect of integrating methods, tools and technologies in the near future for the benefit of the producer.

In his turn, Mr. Kravvas, as a pioneer in the implementation of precision agriculture in the country, described very vividly the actions he has gradually taken as a rice grower, his failures and successes, especially the increase in production by 15% per year, the reduction of nitrogen inputs by 20%, and finally the reduction of costs and the significant facilitation of operations. He explained, however, that even today the most traditional farmers are reluctant to take the necessary risks in order to evolve and succeed. As he pointed out, the problem is not technological, but psychological and sociological.

Finally, Mr. Kalaitzopoulos, as a representative of SMERC fund, a fund of exclusively Greek interests that is largely active in the agri-food sector, attempted to clarify the criteria that the funding companies follow in order to support the adoption of innovation in agriculture and livestock farming in the country. Apart from the hard economic-accounting indicators taken into account, he pointed out that the main element is not only the integration of innovation, but also the determination of enterprises to take the lead in solving difficult problems.

A very fruitful discussion followed and questions were raised, mainly by professors from the Agricultural Schools of Athens (GPA) and Thessaloniki (AUTH).