Economic crisis forced Greek primary sector to boost investment, extroversion

The economic crisis forced Greeks of the primary sector to wake up from a state of complacency and to become active again, raising their extroversion activity and cooperation around the world, high-ranking officials from Tesco and Metro told ANA on Wednesday.

The officials stressed that the entry of new generations in the sector altered conditions in bilateral cooperation and noted that a prevailing trend for big players in the global market was cost reduction to the benefit of producers and consumers.

Giorgos Bitsakos, Lead Supply Development Manager Tesco European Hub, said his visit to this year’s Freskon fair -for the second year in a row- was part of a strategy to find new fruit and vegetable products for Tesco, a leader in the UK and Ireland operating a network of more than 1,000 units in Eastern Europe (Slovakia, Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland). Bitsakos underlined “there is still deflation in food in Britain and prices continue falling,” adding that Tesco was already cooperating with very good suppliers in Greece and was constantly looking for new suppliers, innovators investing in quality.

He noted that primary sector producers and suppliers were seeking to significantly boost extroversion activity and were open to new things. Bitsakos said several producers were experimenting with new grape varieties from Israel and the US with the aim to raise both volume and value of Greek grape exports. He said that Tesco was investing in agricultural production and said that Greek exports were rising steadily after 2010.

Commenting on the possible impact of a Brexit on the business community, Bitsakos said: “In Tesco its business as usual, the world will not stop turning…No matter what happens, England will continue buying fruit and vegetables. I don’t think that duties will be imposed, but even in such a case, something will be found, I am optimistic”.

Sylvia Ewa Czochara, Metro Group Trading Office Valencia, speaking to ANA said that economic crisis has lead to the flourishing of business activity in the primary sector and noted that Greeks from the primary sector have developed into serious and credible professionals in the last few years. Czochara, who attended last year’s Freskon fair as well, noted that Greeks were now investing and that was clearly evident in the improvement of product quality, they are affluent in English and they do not declare, but they are open-minded. “The entry of young people in the sector upgraded the level in all fields,” she said.

Metro is always looking for credible partners in Greece, “and why not new products” and noted the group was aiming to directly contact its suppliers. Valencia Trading Office/Metro Group is the central unit of fresh fruit and vegetable market of the group. It is based in Valencia, Spain and serves 17 countries in Europe and Asia.