Due to the great interest in the cultivation of Sea Buckthorn (Hippophae) in Greece, I am posting these questions and answers from the mini interview I had today with Mr. Christos Trantis from I.P.A.D.M. (Institute for Regional Development of Western Macedonia).
What should someone who wants to get involved in the cultivation of sea buckthorn do?
There is no need to do anything special. First of all, one should be informed about the way of growing the plant and then choose the field in which to plant it. In the Agricultural Cooperative of Multipurpose Plants of Western Macedonia, a training programme on sea buckthorn has been planned with Mr. Kassandros Gatsios, agronomist and author of the book “Sea buckthorn the multi-purpose plant of the future” and Mr. Spyros Bibos, agronomist and nurseryman.
The programme lasts 40 hours of which 30 hours are theory and 10 hours of practical training.
The training programme culminates in a Certificate of Successful Attendance which is a prerequisite for registration in the Cooperative.
Where can one get seeds, seedlings or any other reproductive material to start growing sea buckthorn?
In Greece there are no certified plants to obtain in order to plant one’s field.
The Agricultural Cooperative of Multipurpose Plants of Western Macedonia imports, with the assistance of Mr. Bibos Spyros, plants from Germany. These plants are two years old with a well-developed root system and are certified by a recognized body.
The danger is that one can obtain plants without knowing whether they are male or female.
It is also possible to obtain male and female plants but of different varieties, so that their flowering dates do not coincide and pollination will not take place.
Sometimes the seedlings do not know if they will develop into males or females and therefore we do not know what to plant and where.
It may also be possible to transplant the small shoots that sprout at the root of the plant.
What are the conditions for cultivation (minimum area, area, microclimate, water supply)?
Sea buckthorn is resistant to climates and temperatures. It can withstand temperatures from -45 to 45 degrees Celsius and from 0 to 1.500 meters altitude.
Of course it needs an area with sufficient sunshine because this improves the components of the fruit.
In our region in Greece (note: Kozani) the members of the Cooperative cultivate in the first phase 5 acres each. The field should not hold water.
How long does it take to get the first production?
The first Hippophae fruits are produced after three years from planting.
However, the plant comes into full production in 4-5 years.
Soil preparation (fertilization, ploughing, other)?
The first action concerns the soil analysis of the field. From some parts of the field we take some soil and send it to a laboratory for analysis in order to determine the composition of the soil.
The fertilisation of the soil will depend on the analysis.
But you need manure. About 1 – 1.5 tons per acre.
The field is ploughed, the manure is poured in and spread over the whole field and then lightly tilled with a tiller to lay the ground for planting.
The next step is planting the plant.
Where can the farmer sell his sea buckthorn production?
The crop is contract farming.
The juice and oil of the plant is sold to the food industry, the cosmetic industry and the pharmaceutical industry.
As a fruit it can also be found dried. Its taste is sweet and sour and only in combination with other foods can it be eaten with pleasure.
Which organizations can contact anyone interested in growing sea buckthorn in Greece?
None at present. The Agricultural Cooperative of Multipurpose Plants of Western Macedonia is one of the few, if not the only body with expertise in this field.
Are there any financial aids for the farmer who wants to train in the cultivation of sea buckthorn?
No, at present there are no. Only as a producer group. Then the aid will be discontinued under the new CAP.
Are there any nurseries where anyone who wants to grow sea buckthorn can go?
One can contact Mr. Bimbo Spyros. Tel: 00306945663828.
Where can interested parties find more information?
After 17 January 2011 (not yet ready), interested parties, can visit the website www.agrimup.gr. The name agrimup, comes from: agriculture multi-use plants.
I hope you found the information useful.