From Tobacco To Stevia
At Stevia Hellas Coop, our journey began with a group of forward-thinking farmers in Central Greece. These former tobacco growers who were seeking a more promising and sustainable crop, transitioned from tobacco farming to the innovative crop stevia, which was recently authorized in the EU.
With in-depth research and a commitment to excellence, our farmers found a natural treasure in stevia—a plant renowned for its all-natural sweetness without the calories of traditional sugar. Stevia's cultivation & growing techniques were quite similar to tobacco's, saving farmers' investments in new equipment.
Soon, more than 100 farmers in Central Greece began to cultivate stevia and became members of Stevia Hellas Coop.
PMI & Stevia Hellas Collaboration
Today, we at Stevia Hellas, continue to build on our achievements with an exciting collaboration known as "NEA GI" in collaboration with Phillip Morris International. Together, we're pioneering sustainable practices and empowering farmers to embrace a greener and more prosperous future.
"NEA GI", a regenerative agriculture program by Papastratos, which started as a pilot project in Thrace in collaboration with Stevia Hellas, aims to become a sustainable alternative for tobacco growers by facilitating their transition to stevia cultivation.
We inspire people through
The aim of the pilot program is to support traditional tobacco growers who have been partners of the Papastratos Company for the past 90 years and to offer stevia as an alternative to tobacco. Stevia cultivation is envisioned to be a sustainable and economically efficient practice. Based on current data, it has the potential to yield higher profits per acre compared to tobacco. Additionally, stevia cultivation shares many similarities with tobacco in terms of farming practices, requiring similar mechanization and being well-suited for the Greek climate. Moreover, it presents excellent export prospects, making it a promising venture for the future.
Above all, it demonstrates our commitment not to leave anyone behind. For nine decades, tobacco growers have been a valuable part of Papastratos' history. Through our collaboration with Stevia Hellas in the "NEA GI" program, we aim to facilitate their transition to the future with new and better prospects.
Mr. Iakovos Kargarotos, VP Papastratos (Philip Morris International)
Stevia Hellas &
During the three-year duration of this program, Stevia Hellas will closely collaborate with Papastratos to reach as many tobacco growers in Greece as possible. The goal is to bring them together into communities and cooperatives focused on stevia production. This collaboration aims to facilitate the transition of tobacco growers to stevia cultivation, creating a network of stevia producers across the country. By working together, they can collectively benefit from the opportunities that stevia cultivation offers and contribute to the growth and success of the stevia industry in Greece.
Papastratos (PMI) finances the implementation of the new cultivation, which includes providing propagation material (seeds), planting soil, and geotextiles for establishing the seedbed, as well as drip irrigation systems. Through these funding and provisions, Papastratos supports tobacco growers in transitioning to stevia cultivation, offering them the necessary means and materials for a successful change in their crops.
We at Stevia Hellas, select the regions and tobacco growers that participate in the program. We have also took on the technical assistance in setting up the pilot cultivations, providing theoretical and practical training to the producers, forming collective groups, thus achieving cost reduction in production and increasing bargaining power. Additionally, we at Stevia Hellas have activated resources from the Ministry of Rural Development and Food and of course, we absorb the entire production, compensating the producers.
So far, in the first phase of the program, over 60 former tobacco growers have joined, and an Agricultural Cooperative has been formed, reviving more than 200 acres of previously cultivated land.
The Leading Stevia Producer
Stevia Hellas is a trustworthy and reliable supplier of dry stevia leaves, committed to driving growth and pioneering the development of new market segments. Through the strategic integration of Technology and Innovation, we are disrupting the stevia industry and revolutionizing its impact on the food and beverage market, providing innovative solutions that meet evolving consumer demands and shape the future of natural sweeteners.
We use Smart-Farming, including Sensors and Monitoring Systems, Data Analytics, and I(o)T, leading to improved yields, reduced resource usage, and optimized quality.
We use groundbreaking cultivation techniques, from sowing to harvesting, including state-of-the-art machinery, ensuring the highest quality of our crops.
Focused on growth and monitoring the creation of new market segments, we are reshaping the stevia industry and its impact on the food and beverage market, by being a trustworthy & reliable supplier .