Press release: It has been all present to address what lies ahead agrifood sector towards 2030

The 4th International edition of the AgriBusiness Forum 2021 that held in Athens-Greece (Benaki Museum) has been successfully concluded on 6-7 October 2021, having rolled clear outputs for the future of agriculture in the digital era.

AgriBusiness Forum 2021 highlighted “Food & Farming systems’ green and digital transition”, including 9 high-caliber & multidisciplinary chapters’, 45 topics and 50 renowned panelists from Greece and the world. Being evident, credible, relevant and transparent across businesses, farmers, academia and policy makers, AgriBusiness Forum sharpens the saw towards viable, sustainable, traceable and resilient agrifood systems in Greece and beyond.

AgriBusiness Forum 2021 key summary is as following:

  1. the highest networking and in-person meetings between speakers, sponsors and the audience;
  2. the content driven and multidisciplinary agenda that resulted vigorous dialogues and debates;
  3. the presence of Mr.Wojciechowski (EU Commissioner DG-AGRI), Mr.Livanos (Minister of Rural Development & Food), Mr.Papathanasis (Alt. Minister for Development & Investments), Mr.Cottogni (Dpt. Director, European Investment Fund), the leadership of the Ministry of Rural Development & Food etc;
  4. the participation as official partners of the United Nations agencies, being FAO & UN Women;
  5. the origin of the panelists, being 65% from Greece, 35% from abroad (out of them 40% women);
  6. the leading audience from businesses (50%), farmers (15%), academia (20%) and policy makers (15%);
  7. the 20-hours conference livestreaming flow;
  8. the exhibition areas boosting sponsors outreach both onsite and virtually.

AgriBusiness Forum 2021 – (Agenda, Topics, Speakers)

On Wednesday 6/10/2021, the opening remarks were delivered by Mr. Giannis Balakakis, Chair Organizing Committee of the AgriBusiness Forum and President of the Geo Routes Institute, and Mr. Nabil Gangi, Deputy Regional Representative for Europe & Central Asia of FAO United Nations.

Chapter-1 “The future of agrifood systems in view of the outcomes from the United Nation’s Food Systems Summit 2021” focused on CAP 2021-2027 in the light of sustainable agriculture, environmental protection, Europe’s recovery post-COVID-19 and farmers’ support in order they can meet societies’ demands. Panelists: Mr. Tasos Haniotis, Director, Strategy, Simplification & Policy Analysis, DG Agriculture & Rural Development, European Commission, Dr. Dionysia Avgerinopoulou, Chair, Environmental Protection Committee, Hellenic Parliament, Dr. Phoebe Koundouri, Co-Chair SDSN Europe, Professor AUEB, Ms. Christina F. Legaki, Country Leader, Corteva Agriscience Hellas, Mr. Nabil Gangi, Dpt. Regional Representative for Europe & Central Asia, FAO United Nations. Sessions was moderated by Ms. Mary Kenny, Food Safety & Consumer Protection Officer, FAO REU.

Chapter-2 “Enabling Women entrepreneurship in agribusiness to build smart economies” focused on women entrepreneurship, the financing challenges and risk management they use to face in the agrifood sector, the green entrepreneurship and the digital platforms enabling women to accessing new markets. Panelists: Ms. Fatma Dirkes, President of the European Banking & Financial Services Training Association and Vice President to the Frankfurt School of Finance & Management, Mr. Ilia Tamarashvili, Director RDA to the Ministry of Environmental Protection & Agriculture of Georgia, Ms. Nardane Kuscu, Founder of Narköy Organic Farm, Ms. Tülin Akın, Tech. Entrepreneur & Founder of Tabit, Ms. Marina Tosheska, President to the Union of Associations for Rural Development in North Macedonia, Ms. Meral Guzel, Partnership Manager UN Women.  Moderator was Ms. Alia El-Yassir, UN WOMEN Regional Director and Representative to Turkey, Europe and Central Asia.

Chapter-3 “Food Security & Safety in the digital world: regulation, frauds detection & monitoring tools” presented advanced tools for assessing authenticity and food fraud detection, new methods monitoring emerging surveillance and the inter-connection between all with the blockchain technology. Panelists: Dr. Nikolaos Thomaidis, Professor of Analytical Chemistry, University of Athens, Dr. Antonis Zampelas, President of the Hellenic Food Authority, Dr. George Tsangaris, Professor Proteomics Research, Academy of Athens, Mr. Haris Linardakis, IBM Cloud Leader Greece & Cyprus, and moderator has been Dr. Panagiotis Skandamis, Member of the BIOHAZ panel at the European Food Safety Authority.

High-level policy makers have flourished Chapter-4 “The novel state of CAP 2021-2027 and the “Green Deal”. In this session addressed Mr. Spilios Livanos, Minister of Agriculture, Rural Development & Food Greece, Mr. Janusz Wojciechowski, EU Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr. Nikos Papathanasis, Alternate Minister for Development & Investments, Mr. Hubert Cottogni, Deputy Director, Head of Mandate Management, European Investment Fund, and Ms. Jessie Voumvaki, Deputy Chief Economist at the National Bank of Greece. Moderator has been Ms. Stavroula Christofilea, TV Anchor at ERT Television.

Day-1 was concluded with Chapter-5 “Agritourism, Rural development, Mediterranean diet, Local products” being a topic that since 2019 AgriBusiness Forum pushes stakeholders for joining forces about interconnecting tourism with the primary sector. Chapter focused on the effects of the pandemic on the supply chain of catering sector, the nutritional value of the Mediterranean and Greek diet, on the initiatives of the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels, and on the evolution of the agritourism in the Netherlands in terms of GDP and local development. Panelists: Ms. Christiana Kalogirou, Secretary General, Ministry of Agriculture & Food, Mr. Geert Wilms, Director, Agricultural Innovation Brabant LIB/ZLTO, Mr. Dimitris Skarmoutsos, Executive chef at NATU Restaurant, Dr. Antonia Trichopoulou, President of the Hellenic Health Foundation, Mr. Alexandros Vassilikos, President, Hellenic Chamber of Hotels. Moderator was Dr. Athanasios Kizos, Professor of Rural Geography, University of the Aegean.

The second day of the AgriBusinsss Forum 2021, Thursday 7/10/2021, opened with the welcome remarks addressed by Ms. Alia El-Yassir, UN WOMEN Regional Director, Representative to Turkey, Europe and Central Asia.

In Chapter-6 “Smart farming, processing & circular economy: Precision agriculture, Α.Ι., sustainable biorefineries” were presented the prospects and the challenges in the adoption of digital technologies in the agrifood chain, the new solutions in precision agriculture, the online sensors across big-scale production lines and what biorefineries do in terms of bio-economy, waste management and food consumption. Panelists: Dr. George Stylios, Deputy Minister of Rural Development & Food, Dr. Spyros Fountas, Associate Professor, Agricultural University of Athens, Dr. Kalliopi Chalkou, Group Food Safety & Suppliers Quality Manager, Coca Cola Hellenic, Dr. Apostolos Koutinas, Associate Professor, Food Science & Human Nutrition, Agricultural University of Athens, Dr. Philip Papadopoulos, Director, Strategic Project Management Office, American Farm School. Moderator was Dr. Charalambos Kasimis, Professor, Agricultural University of Athens and fm. Secretary General to the Ministry of Agriculture & Food.

Chapter-7 “Financial instruments for efficient & sustainable agribusiness” dealt with the financial instruments of the Rural Development Program (Pillar II CAP), answered the question whether the financial instruments can improve the competitiveness of Greek agriculture, presented the opportunities created by the Just Transition Development Plan and demonstrated National Bank of Greece interests in supporting innovative scale-ups of the agrifood sector. Panelists: Dr. Konstantinos Baginetas, Secretary General, Agricultural Policy & International Relations, Ministry of Rural Development & Food, Mr. Christoforos Hatzopoulos, Head of Business Banking & Retail Lending, National Bank of Greece, Dr. Yiannis N. Tzortzis, President, Just Transition Development Plan Legal Experts Committee, Mr. Alexandros Dimitrakopoulos, Regional Mandate Manager to the European Investment Fund. Mr. Anthony D. Papayannides, Journalist has moderated the session.

The Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Greece, Ms. Susanna Terstal, has opened Chapter-8 “Agriculture in view of synergies: the Dutch triple helix model”. Mr. Simos Kedikoglou, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Rural Development & Food, addressed a welcome note, while Dr. Meine Pieter van Dijk, Emeritus Professor of Universities of Rotterdam, Delft & Maastricht, Mr. Hans Nijhoff, Senior expert agribusiness development, Maastricht School of Management, Dr. Eleni Maloupa, Director Institute of Plant Breeding & Genetic Resources, ELGO Dimitra have presented the essentials of collaboration between farmers-research and businesses. Such close cooperation is the recipe of success of the Dutch “triple helix” model that made The Netherlands the 2nd biggest agrifood power in the world.  Moderator was Ms. Rannia Savvaki, Senior Economic Policy Officer, Embassy of The Kingdom of the Netherlands.

AgriBusiness Forum 4th international edition was concluded with Chapter-9 “Ahead climate crisis and net zero emissions adaptation”. Session focused on the challenges of the agrifood sector due to climate crisis, the future of food in terms of desertification, and the funding criteria that banks will be called to take into account for sustainable and green business strategies. Panelists: Dr. Konstantinos Aravossis, Secretary General Natural Environment & Water, Ministry of Environment & Energy, Mr. Kostis Moussouroulis, Chairman of the Steering Committee, Just Transition Development Plan, Dr. Dimitris Skuras, Vice Rector of Economics & Planning, Patras University, Ms. Tatiana Giemelou, Head Business Development sector, National Bank of Greece. Moderator was the journalist, Mr. Anthony Papayannides.

The AgriBusiness Forum 2021 closing remarks delivered by Mr. Giannis Balakakis, Chair of the Organizing Committee of the AgriBusiness Forum and President of the Geo Routes Institute.

  • Leading partner:  National Bank of Greece
  • In cooperation with the: Ministries of Rural Development & Food, Environment & Energy, Embassy of the Netherlands
  • Official partners: the United Nations organizations, UN WOMEN, FAO
  • Sponsors: Kärcher, Corteva Agrisciences, Public Power Corporation, Syngenta, Gnomon Events, Siris Microbrewery, Paliria, Olympos, Kliafa, Doubia, Dipnosofistirion.
  • Field experts: IBM, Ιnternational Centre for Black Sea Studies (ICBSS), LASCM, ZLTO/LIB, National Rural Network

Coming next: AgriBusiness Thessaly Summit 2021, Trikala-Thessaly (Greece), 19-20/11/2021 on “The Future of Thessaly plain in the digital era”

About AgriBusiness Forum

AgriBusiness Forum is committed to advancing knowledge for the digitization & digital transformation of the agrifood value chain from seed to fork; and pivotal platform at boosting innovation and integrating partnerships towards viable, sustainable, traceable and resilient agrifood systems in Greece and beyond.

It spans across number of top-tier networking & learning activities, including conferences, summits, masterclasses and AgriFood Traction Tours in Europe; while maintains cooperation with distinctive national, regional and international bodies & organizations. 

Geo Routes is the owner and official organizer of the Balkans & Black Sea Forum and the AgriBusiness Forum


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