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History of Agricultural products

Crops in comparison, and how our history affected by.

 agroHistory past present future
Γεωργία

According to what we know today, agriculture originated in the late Stone Age (10.000 to 3.000 B.C). Humans cultivated the ground with simple wooden tools that had stone tip or not. All tasks needed muscular power to be done. Agriculture was an alternative way of producing (food and general goods necessary for survival) from hunting. When livestock breeding and manufacturing of metal tools began to develop, cultivation with plough appeared.

In slave society, and later in feudal era, cultivation with plough was the basic type of production. At that time fallow was made for long time periods without tillage. Also land clearing is made by using fire and logging. In feudal society, the fallow system with tillage began to spread. .

With the emergence of industry and the increase of urban population, the demand for agricultural products began to increase. In mid-19th century the first attempts are made to use steam engine plowing. In early 20th century began the use of tractors with internal combustion engines.


With the growth of chemical industry, the use of chemical fertilizers and medicines begins to spread in order to control agricultural pests, plant diseases and other needs (such as “containment” of fruits on trees until harvest).  As more products of agricultural production are vulnerable, their storage has always been the biggest problem. This problem was decreased sufficiently with the appearance of methods and refrigeration spaces. 

The production and consumption of organic products increases in all western countries. In Europe there has been a very sharp increase in the consumption of organic farming products.

Many people acknowledge the fact that organic farming is at a critical point nowadays. Despite the development of organic products market in the last decade, the future of small and self-sufficient (organic or not) farmers is at risk. The support structures of small farmers have begun to weaken in almost all developed countries. On the contrary, mass production systems are supported through large areas or factory farming or livestock production. What we know nowadays as “organic farming” may dramatically change in the following years. This is acknowledged by everyone nowadays regardless of political agendas or actions.  .
 


Κτηνοτροφία  /  Πτηνοτροφία

Livestock farming is known as a human activity from the Late Stone Age era, with the Middle East and Eastern Mediterranean as development center.

Its development began in the era that agriculture began also to develop. Thus the primitive society was divided into two basic groups: farmers and livestock breeders. Farmers usually lived in one place while livestock breeders were forced to go to places that grass was growing. This mode, despite being so old, is still very common and widespread in many countries. .

 In Greece, this mode of livestock breeding refers to sheep and goat breeding and it can be said that is still very widespread. In other countries, some African countries for example, nomadic livestock breeding refers to big animals such as oxen, zempou etc. In some Asian countries, especially the ones located on the northwest of Asia, nomadic livestock breeding is still widespread but that refers to camel breeding. To the northern parts of Asia and Europe, Lapps and Eskimos are engaged in nomadic reindeer herding. On the contrary in Latin America, nomadic llamas’ breeding was known long ago. Nowadays some Latin American countries deal with the nomadic oxen breeding.

Nowadays, nomadic livestock breeding is being abandoned and housed livestock breeding is being developed. That occurs because nomadic livestock breeding faces difficulties. Livestock breeding is done in stables and modern units, so movements depending on season and weather conditions are avoided. Food is checked so it has the appropriate nutrients and veterinarians examine its good condition. Products transport in market becomes easier and they are directly available because livestock breeding centers are relatively close to large cities (contrary to nomadic). There is a production increase in livestock breeding (as in agriculture), although the number of people involved in it is reduced. The reason is the mechanical resources used to facilitate production as they decrease the time required to animal attention and care.

 It is necessary for production and commercial structures of all types of forages used by Greek livestock breeders to be modernized. Quality improvements and infrastructure development of pastures are additional parameters that will directly affect the improvement of competitiveness of livestock products. The application of pasture systems management, if implemented, will contribute in maintaining and retrieving their sustainability and therefore livestock breeders will make better use of them. .

Natural pasture lands continue to be the main economic source of nutrition for sheep and goat breeding and extensive cattle breeding. Abandoning forage use and turning to legume coarse crops but in the form of silages and system of crop rotation in order to have two (seasonal) productions, winter and summer.

Αλιεία

It is an ancient practice that dates back at least to the Upper Paleolithic Era. Archaeological findings of shells and fishbone remains, as well as relevant cave paintings, show that (fish) catches were an important food source in quantity, but also a type of trade for the people living during that era. In fact, while the majority of human tribes of that era lived a nomadic hunter life, there were tribes with a relatively permanent establishment associated with a relatively constant main source of (fish) catches that provided the main food source for these piscatorial tribes. In fact, they used the surplus of (fish) catches and shells for trade purposes with other products of other tribes they lacked these items and they were in contact with them.

Evidence in manuscripts dating back to the 5th century proves that Greeks were enjoying fish and they included them in their quality dishes. We find references in Homer to fish as quality food and Plutarch records advices to fishermen in his writings.

Although the contribution of fishery to national economy is considered to be small, fishing contributes decisively in social and economic consistency of many communities in our country since it mainly provides labor to coastal areas and islands of Aegean and Ionian Sea.

At the same time, aquaculture supplies are more than the one third of Greek fish production. With an annual growth rate of approximately 10% aquaculture is one of the fastest growing industrial sectors in Greece. This success is partly based on natural conditions that exist in the country: a mild climate, clean waters, about 3,000 islands and a long coastline.

Our country produces 60% of the total production of common dentex and sea bass bred in European Union and almost half of the global production.

Greece exports mainly fresh or frozen fish and seafood and less processed products. Mussels (Mytilus SSP, Perna SSP) are at the top of seafood export list. In second place are the common dentex (Dentex dentex, Pagellus SSP), fresh or frozen, and in the third place is sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax), fresh or frozen.

Fish canning industry exports more than 1,600 tons of products per year, mainly mussels and mollusks. Most of them go to France, Albania, Germany and Italy.  

A sea bottom trawler crosses the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic and reaches the shores of Senegal. There lies one of the richest marine ecosystems in the world. Or rather was a few years ago….after overfishing in recent years. The trawler starts fishing based on increasing its profit. It fishes like there is left no future, without thinking of either the necessity of reproduction for the animals wealth or its viability. As a result, only 20% of fish catches is suitable for commercial use. The remaining 80% is thrown back in the sea, killed and untapped. This is the reason that fish stocks worldwide have been dramatically decreased.

The decrease in fish stocks is increasingly noticeable and that is why it is essential to advance to the institutionalization of shelters of fish catches everywhere. There should be an immediate establishment for protection of marine areas for the good of fishery but also for alternative and quality tourism. A close and continuous scientific monitoring of piscatorial reserves must be present so that fishermen are properly instructed and they fish the productive surplus of reserves, without exterminating fish populations by overfishing.

Wherever protection zones exist and strict controls are done, we have a considerable increase in fish numbers and their size and money are flowing into State Funds from marine fishery and alternative tourism.

 

 
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