Greek farmers fume against mayor who banned short food supply chains

21 December 2018
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The mayor of Kozani, a city in northern Greece, has decided to ban the “Without intermediaries movement”, which had created a direct link between local farmers and consumers.

Local authorities said the farmers’ market, which has been in place since the last five years, violated existing legislation.

Short food supply chains became popular in Greece following the economic crisis, which forced smallholders and consumers to seek alternative ways of getting food at affordable prices.

At EU level, different forms of short food supply chains (SFSC) have developed in the last years. Advocates say SFSCs are not just about selling local cheap products as they also have positive spillover effects on rural societies, the environment and agrotourism.

Local media e-ptolemeos.gr reported that the mayor decided to stop the “Without Intermediaries” movement, and the move came as a surprise, considering that mayor Lefteris Ioannidis is a known environmentalist who has been praised for his progressive policies.

He is one of the few mayors across the country to implement a much-discussed smoking ban in public places. He also warmly welcomed Syrian refugees at the height of the migration crisis.

Agricultural cooperative “Aliakmon” accused both the mayor and vice-mayor Chryssa Athanasiadou, who is a far-left politician, of bowing to the pressure from big businesses in the region and the market.

“It’s a shame. The mayor deprives producers of a significant income and the consumers, from cheap and high-quality products,” said Panagiotis Arnidis, the president of Aliakmon.

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