A group of Greek stock breeders from Ioannina, a region in north-western Greece, exploit the global trend for production and consumption of high nutritional value and quality local products made in small scale (that are produced in less quantities compared to industries) in order to survive the financial crisis. Cow’s and sheep’s milk (both complete and light) and sheep’s yogurt are produced by the Cooperative called “Movement of Ioannina Breeders” (consisting of 12 members) and are sold in the local market.
Similar to European models
Mr. Michael Tzimas, the head of the “Movement of Ioannina Breeders”, stated to AgroTypos “The decision for this business venture was taken by us in order to find a way to survive the financial crisis of the livestock sector. Following the example of European stock breeders who managed to set up small farm units, we produce milk and yogurt under the name of “Gianniot’ko” giving identity to our products”. The fact is that in many countries of Europe there has been an organized vertical integration in livestock sector many years ago. Extremely competitive and diversified products are produced by such farms in Germany, France, Holland and Italy, and their function is adapted in the general framework of the primary sector development referring both to legislation and taxation. The farmers from Ioannina put a lot of effort to follow this example.
Positive response to Gianniot’ko
According to Mr. Tzimas the consumer response to their products is very positive although their production is still small. About one tonne per day of 5 days duration “Gianniot’ko” fresh milk is currently produced. Cooperative “Movement of Ioannina Breeders” accepts new members, and in the future wishes to be able to cover the needs of milk and yogurt in a wider region. A further objective is the purchase of milk vending machines and the production of goat’s milk products which are in high demand. Τhe farmers of the “Movement of Ioannina Breeders” have a contract with a local dairy in Ioannina in order to promote their products. Every morning their milk production is collected and being transported by lorry to the local cheese making industry in order to be processed on private label. “The added value of our products is based on milk quality and short duration path from the farm to the shelf”, explains the farmer from Ioannina. He adds: “Some stock breeders were afraid to participate in this effort. There is high risk to start an independent business. Our main fear was and still is how to place our products on the shelves, given the strong competition from large companies. At first we were producing small quantities to be known and the locals welcomed us. We started with a milk production of 200-300 pounds per day and suddenly the demand within few days came in one tonne and is constantly being increased. This initiative of breeders was mainly comprised of young people, of thirties, who wish to strengthen the livestock sector by their animals and their personal work, and each one offered a share in the investment. Apart from the positive response of the local people, the need for extra staff arose so we hope to the state support”.