The vulnerability and the adaptive capacity of the mountainous region in Rethymno (Greece)

Dec 9, 2022

Author: Andreas Vavvos (University of Crete)

Editor: Miranda García (AEIDL)

On 12 November 2022, the Greek MOVING team, the coordinator of the Crete Reference Region, held a workshop. The meeting focused on the vulnerability of the mountainous region in Rethymno and the role of carob flour.

Fifteen stakeholders from the local value chain attended the event and spoke about the main threats faced by carob flour, such as energy prices, demographic changes, and the lack of support from the regional authorities.

The question that led the conversation was how the region could adapt to the climate crisis, while the possible role of the state and the impact of EU agricultural subsidies were controversial topics.

The agricultural directorates were another priority since the island provides a fertile environment for the growth of these institutions and there is a wealth of prior collective experience and knowledge about their successes and failures.

The promotion of the Cretan diet was also emphasized as a crucial element.  This was viewed as a unique opportunity to connect the Cretan economy’s two pillars: agriculture and  tourism. The potential for regional goods like carob to improve health outcomes was highlighted too.

Last but not least, the quality certification can increase the profitability of carob flour production and help this value chain assemblage compete with other regional and international value chains. Participants preferred cooperative models of production because they believed that this would decrease vulnerability. This was due to the fact that certain local farmers, who do not grow carob or have low yields from their land, still use a cooperative sharecropping harvesting method which dates back to the Byzantine era. In the regional language, this sharecropping practice is known as “symisiaka”.

After this workshop, the University of Crete and the Region of Crete will develop a Digital Story to summarise the main conclusions of the vulnerability, sustainability and resilience assessment of the carob flour value chain. The video will be available at the end of January 2023.