According to Reuters, intermediaries in Greece are part of an inefficient and bureaucratic system that encourages corruption.
Using as an example the milk vending machines in Larissa, Reuters sheds light on the activities of intermediaries in Greece, but also the citizen movements attempting to overthrow this corrupt practice.
The ThesGala (Want Milk?) vending machines in Larissa were successful. Constantine Gougoulias, general manager of the cooperative behind the initiative, told the news agency that some people are waiting in line for half an hour to buy milk.
Furthermore, the article notes that in 2012, Greek potato farmers began to sell their products directly to consumers in parking lots near various cities of Northern Greece in an attempt to cut off supermarkets, who work as the intermediary. Since then, the movement has expanded beyond potatoes. People have formed groups that sell anything from flour to cleaning products without the middleman.
“We have seen an increase in social solidarity and cooperation in Greece — we didn’t have this before,” Fiori Zafeiropoulou, lecturer at Athens’ City Unity College, said to Reuters.
On the other hand, supermarkets are denying accusations and claim that the crisis has “hit them too.”
Despite the milk war that continues to rage — even at government level — the price of milk rose by 12% in the last four years, Reuters states, when the prices of other products have dropped significantly.
Economists note that this has to do with the large profit margins of retailers and the high cost of transport and distribution in Greece, which is full of mountains and islands.
The article depicts the situation in Greece and the reason behind the farmers’ protests. Meanwhile, the project ThesGala has been very profitable for dairy producers and it has prompted other producers to think in a similar manner. Consumers save money and receive the best quality products and at the same time producers managed to eliminate the middleman and earn more money for their high quality products.