From 4th to the 6th of May the diversity of European agriculture was placed at the heart of discussions and EU policies, due to the Informal meeting of Agriculture ministers in Athens, under the Greek Presidency of the Council of the European Union. Greek Minister of Rural Development and Food and AgriFish Council Chairman, A.Tsaftaris highlighted the key issue on the agenda: “AGRidiversity»: the diversity of European agriculture at the heart of EU policies”.

The diversity of EU agriculture as a competitive advantage of the EU was the central issue on the agenda of the Council of Ministers for Agriculture and Fisheries, that took place in Zappeion, in which representatives of the European Commission and the Council Secretariat also participated.

The Greek Presidency has chosen the symbolic title aGRidiversity for its initiative “Transforming the European Agricultural Diversity into Strength." Diversity covers all aspects from the capacity of the production, to the environmental and social-economic conditions among Member States and the regions of the EU, while the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) for the period 2014-2020 recognizes and bases its implementation in the wide diversification of the European agriculture across the EU.

During the 3-days meeting they visited APIVITA’s new bioclimatic premises and spent 3 hours, touring the production and office building, the botanical garden and the company’s Apiary.

APIVITA’s founder Nikos Koutsianas and Head of Sustainability Anagnostis Tsoukalas, presented APIVITA and had the chance to talk about APIVITA: a company with strong philosophy, values, social responsibility, tradition and innovation, a sustainable business that promotes an ethical and greener way of thinking, living and business.

APIVITA manufactures cosmetics from bee products and plants indigenous to Greek nature. The plants and bees are grown locally from organic and sustainably managed sources with respect to biodiversity, enhancing local agriculture. APIVITA has encouraged numerous farmers to turn to organic cultivation of medicinal and aromatic herbs. Additionally, one of the company’s main goals is to safeguard biodiversity by supporting sustainable local bee farms. These initiatives have a bilateral effect, ensuring a sustainable organic resource for the company and at the same time creating a stable income for local farmers, supporting ecological agriculture and preserving biodiversity. Agriculturists, local organic farmers, beekeepers, researchers and the APIVITA scientific team collaborate to bring forth the best practices in organic medicinal and aromatic plant farming and ecological beekeeping. 20000 square meters of pristine land are home to more than 20 species of herbs, rosemary, lavender, Greek mountain tea, chamomile and 300 bee hives, but also home to our dreams and hope for a sustainable future.

It is a great honor that APIVITA was selected as the company to be presented to all EU Ministers of Agriculture and Fisheries (AGRI), as a living example of what can be achieved by combining the power of nature, the unique biodiversity of Greek flora, vision, innovation and ethical way of business.

 

The Speech of APIVITA founder Mr. Nikos Koutsianas to European Union’s Ministers of Agriculture and Fishery

Dear guests, honorable ministers of the 28 member countries of the European Union, welcome to Greece, and to APIVITA.

 It is an honor and privilege to have you with us.

Υou have the responsibility and honor to plan and implement strategies that provide your countries and the EU as a whole with possibilities and opportunities related to the sustainable agriculture of the land.

We are fortunate to have with us Dr. Tsaftaris, leading the efforts of our agriculture and foods ministry. He is a most distinguished genetics professor and researcher as well as a decorated pioneer in science and innovation. His integrity, his in-depth knowledge and his commitment to reintroducing Greece as a leader in sustainable agricultural development, leads us by example and gives us energy and hope to maintain our efforts for future excellence.

Once, Greece lead the way providing the rest of the world with the foundations of sustainable growth. Somewhere along the way we forgot our heritage and our roots. Our biggest and most important source of value is our natural and social capital and our cultural heritage.

So, let us remind ourselves of this wealth. There are over 13000 different species of plants in Europe, of which more than 2500 are unique to this region.

 In Greece alone we have more than 6600 different species of plants of which more than 1400 are unique as a result of our distinct geomorphology and microclimate. Of course in order to have all these plants we need to take care of the bees the guardians of nature.

This offers us an incredible opportunity for agricultural development that could lead to the creation of food and beverages, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, clothes and building materials that are more natural, organic and ecologically sound.

As you can see, Europe’s unique geomorphological, microclimatic and cultural diversity, has the potential for competitive advantages, endless innovation, and a value creation tank that could lead the way for sustainable development for a more prosperous future for the next generations.

Unfortunately, so far we have not focused on this endless source of value and we have not managed to unite nature, science and our heritage.

For the past 35 years my wife Niki and I have encouraged others to embrace a rediscovery of our roots and a reintroduction to civilization and environmental, social and cultural excellence.

As two young pharmacists back in 1972 we started to combine our scientific knowledge, the invaluable products of the beehive and medicinal plants of Greece inspired by the holistic approach of Hippocrates to beauty, health and well-being.

Today at APIVITA we are celebrating this year our 35th anniversary and we have built our brand upon three pillars of inspiration: the bee society, Greek nature and the holistic approach of Hippocrates, the father of modern Medicine, producing Natural, Effective and Holistic products For us it is all about a different way of thinking, a different way of living, a different way of business - more natural, more healthy, more ethical, more sustainable.

If we all join forces in Europe and work towards the greater common good we can value what we have inherited from our ancestors and return to future generations what we have borrowed from them.

We should all envision a future where all of us live in peace, with respect to society and in harmony with nature.

In the wise words of Hippocrates, Nature is most dominant ruler of all. However, it is up to human nature if we will be able to enjoy what Mother Nature has to offer.

In conclusion, I would like to thank Minister Tsaftaris, honorable ministers and guests for the great honor you do us, by allowing us, to offer you our hospitality today. I hope you enjoy your visit to APIVITA and Greece.

Now I would like to call honorable minister Dr. Tsaftaris to share with us his thoughts.

Please Minister Tsaftaris the floor is yours.

Thank you once again