Public workshop on organic products and their relationship with climate change mitigation and health benefits

More than 90 people participated in the public info day of ORGANIKO LIFE+ on “Organic products: Climate change mitigation and health benefits” at Limassol City Hall, on Wednesday, September 16th 2015. The event was organized by the Cyprus University of Technology (CUT), the Agricultural Research Institute, the Department of Environment, along with the European Commission Representation in Cyprus, Heart Cyprus and Europe Direct Limassol, under the framework of the ORGANIKO LIFE+ project.

The conference started with greetings from the Deputy Mayor of Limassol, Mr. Savvas Stouppas who expressed his support to public information initiatives, the Vice Rector of CUT Financial Management and Development, Prof. Andreas Anagiotos, who stressed the need for training of organic farmers and consumers as well as the Environment Commissioner, Mrs. Ioanna Panayiotou, which proposed the implementation of pilot organic farming programs with more support from the State.

Detailed presentations followed, with the first speaker being the project coordinator and CUT assistant professor, Dr. Konstantinos Makris, who presented statistics on organic farming, production and consumption in Cyprus, and outlined the scientific activities of the project. Next, the CUT professor, Dr. George Zotos, presented the methodology trends and perceptions of consumers towards organic products, while the agricultural research officer, Dr. Michlis Omirou, analyzed the contribution of agriculture to the greenhouse effect and how the implementation of the organic farming system and practices improve the agriculture environmental performance. Through the summary findings of epidemiological studies, the CUT assistant professor, Dr. Andrie Panayiotou, highlighted the potential benefits of organic products to health by reducing human exposure to pesticide residues and to some heavy metals, such as cadmium. The department of agriculture officer A, Mr. George Kirris, presented economic opportunities for Cypriot organic farmers through the Rural Development Programme 2014-2020. The vice president of Cyprus Organic Producers Association, Mr. Vasilis Kyprianou, presented the prospects and problems of organic farming through the prism of organic farmer and trader, while Mr. Giannis Makrygiannis, highlighted the promising prospects for organic farming in relation to emerging promotional marketing strategic sales of organic products. Finally, the organic products accreditation and controls inspector of LACON, Ms. Christina Savva, provided information about the operation and implementation of the accreditation system in Cyprus certifying the strict controls that are applied in livestock farms and retail sales points of organic products. During the conference, there was time for discussion and the audience showed interest by submitting several questions and comments.