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Food production turns green

As sustainable agriculture gets ever more important, Slovenia strengthens its position as a global leader in beekeeping technology and know-how.

Slovenia has strengthened its position as the leader in beekeeping know-how. Photo: SBR

Agriculture is – somewhat paradoxically – one of the largest polluters and contributors of greenhouse gases. The latest trends in food production, most notably sustainable agriculture, are trying to change that. Key to this are local production, new scientific methods and, above all, no pesticides and other phytopharmaceuticals.

One of the leaders in organic food production in Slovenia is KMG PanOrganic, a young company from Ljutomer in eastern Slovenia. Their Goji fruit spread is successfully sold in many markets, including the United Arab Emirates. KMG PanOrganic is becoming one of the leading organic farmers in Slovenia, supplying all the major retailers in the country with fresh produce, with original brands like Česnek for garlic and Živa for lettuce. Another initiative from eastern Slovenia focuses on so called smart agriculture to replace traditional agricultural methods based on chemistry and information technology. Murska Sobota based Digital Innovation Hub for Agriculture and Food production (DIH AGRIFOOD) brings together Slovenian and European research and development expertise in the field of Agriculture and Food production.

In western Slovenia sustainable methods are being put into practice in cheese production: Planika dairy in Kobarid, for example, took part in the Interreg project on sustainability in the Mediterranean agri-food system to »clean-up« the production of its premium Tolminc cheese.

The key ingredient in Slovenian sustainable agriculture, however, remains beekeeping. Since the introduction of the World Bee Day last May, Slovenia has strengthened its position as the global leader in beekeeping technology and know-how. The Beekeeping Academy of Slovenia and Medex, a honey seller, have launched a pilot project for training beekeepers from developing countries in Bangladesh earlier this year. The goal of the project is beekeeping that provides opportunities to reduce unemployment, empower socially vulnerable groups, raise awareness of living with nature and environmental protection, and – above all - to combat famine by increasing food production with pollination. Experts from the University of Ljubljana are also taking part in a UK led project to develop honeybee derived medicine and health support in relation to some of Africa’s most intractable diseases.