Blueberries grown in the Greek city of Drama are conquering overseas markets. Unique honey, which contains natural blueberry powder, won an honorary award in Dubai (UAE).
Greek honey “Sparta” with the addition of blueberries, under the trademark “Grandpas Blueberry”, is a natural product produced by the cooperative of farmers and livestock breeders “Biodrama”
According to the 65-year-old head of the cooperative Nikos Paputsis, “by combining honey with natural dried blueberries, we have created a superfood that contains all the nutrients, has a unique color and lasts a long time because honey acts as a preservative”.
As he notes, 60% of the cooperative’s production is sent to the domestic market, and the remaining 40% are exported to Switzerland, Germany, Italy and Cyprus. However, this ratio may change from next year. According to Mr. Paputsis, the completion of the construction of a complex for growing environmentally friendly products in 2022 will create 12 new jobs at the first stage of work and will contribute to the further development of the enterprise.
“This is a gem with a total budget of 2 million euros, which was abandoned in 2009 due to my personal health problems,” says Mr Paputsis, pointing out that “30% has been allocated for blueberry plantations – e financing, which we lacked so much. ” In fact, actions are already underway to include the project in a new program, which, as planned, should be crowned with success.
Agricultural land located in the town of Kirgia (Κύργια Δράμας) has an area of 20 hectares, and the infrastructure of the processing complex occupies 1200 square meters. According to Mr. Papucis, his activities will mark the beginning of contract farming in the region. “We can work with a foreign investor who is really interested in our products,” the farmer notes. “The number one requirement for a manufacturer is to guarantee the availability of his product, provided that everything works without failures,” he emphasizes.
For the Christmas and New Year holidays, the cooperative “Biodrama”, which employs 10 people aged 28 to 65 years, growing organic berries, presented a unique blueberry liqueur on the Greek domestic market.
Blueberries, says Mr Papucis, have many trace minerals and antioxidants that are important to human health. It can be used even by diabetics who have high blood sugar (at the initial stage of the disease). The cooperative sells fresh produce in Greece in limited quantities, as 80% of the produce is recycled.
About 200 shrubs grow on one acre, and each of them, at full fruiting, produces 5-6 kilograms of blueberries per year. According to the president of the cooperative, the annual profit can reach 30,000 euros. Obtaining such a crop requires an investment of 3,500 to 4,000 euros for the purchase of seedlings, as well as the creation of specialized infrastructure. According to the farmer, the costs are paying off.
Interestingly, the 65-year-old farmer brought the first 5 blueberry bushes to Greece from Siberia in 2002, inspired by the usefulness of the unique berry after meeting with a Russian professor.