Along with tourism, agriculture remains one of the region’s most important economic activities. Much of the arable land of the Peloponnesian shores of the Argolic has been turned over to cultivation, with citrus and olive orchards being the predominant crops. Most farms in the area are relatively small in size, supporting individual families.
Today, many farmers use forms of intensive agriculture that rely on the use of inorganic fertilizers and pesticides. While these increase crop productivity in the short term, such methods have had multiple negative impacts, including on soil quality and water retention. Along with inefficient irrigation schemes, this has led to groundwater supplies falling in both quantity and quality. Inorganic fertilizers and pesticides also enter the marine environment, affecting fish reproduction and raising the risk of eutrophication.
Intensive agriculture also impacts the region’s terrestrial fauna; away from the beaches and marine ecosystems of the Argolic Gulf, the region remains home to a dizzying array of animals. Hundreds of species of birds inhabit or visit the area’s wetlands, mountains and islets. Meanwhile in the dense Peloponnesian undergrowth, badgers, foxes, pine martens, hedgehogs, frogs, lizards, snakes, tortoises, rare butterflies and many, many more species continue to live as they did long before the arrival of humans.
Drawing on domestic and international experience and networks, the AEF is committed to supporting farmers who wish to implement more holistic forms of cultivation, working with natural systems and populations as opposed to against them. Such methods not only help nature, but can also lead to improved incomes and resilience for farmers, through better prices for organic goods and potential diversification of income streams through agritourism and other activities.