DCM David Burger’s Remarks at “Agrologistics in Greece: Challenges and Opportunities”

New Agriculture for a New Generation

Monday, June 7, 2021, 4:35 p.m.

As Delivered

Kalispera sas.  Minister Livanos, colleagues, friends, I want to start by thanking Effie Lazaridou and her talented team at New Agriculture for a New Generation for their resiliency over the past year and a half and for keeping this great program and its many moving parts running throughout the pandemic.

From the wide range of speakers joining me to deliver opening remarks—including our friends from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, AmCham, and SEVE—it’s clear that New Agriculture for a New Generation is doing important work and receives broad support.

I also want to welcome American expert Dr. Clemen Gehlhar, Agricultural Project Manager from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and thank her for sharing his insights with us about the global aspects of agrologistics.   I want to welcome Dr. Bob Goodman and Dr. Ali Maher from Rutgers University.

The agrologistics study that New Agriculture for a New Generation and its partners have conducted will play an important role in recharging the agricultural sector in Greece and contributing to its sustainable, state-of-the-art future.

As I read the summary of the study, I was struck by how many of its recommendations connect with policy priorities for the U.S.-Greece relationship.

First, there’s our joint focus on technology and innovation.  The United States is the world leader in Artificial Intelligence and Internet of Things technologies, and we look forward to sharing our experience and expertise to improve the quality of transportation, storage, and packing services and increase economic benefits.

In addition, the Embassy is committed to helping equip Greek young people with the skills they need to succeed in Greece’s digital future.  Through our support of New Agriculture for a New Generation’s Trophy-Trofi Challenge and collaborations with Social Innovation, Panorama, Mindspace, and others, we seek to train Greek young people in crucial STEM skills while encouraging creativity and entrepreneurship.

And that’s why we’re thrilled to support two of New Agriculture for a New Generation’s agro-entrepreneurship programs this year, including Trophy-Trofi.

Second, the study’s emphasis on sustainability and creating an environmentally friendly supply chain ties in with the Biden-Harris administration’s focus on combating climate change and growing the green economy.

As U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry and Secretary of State Blinken have strongly emphasized, climate change is the biggest challenge of our age, but it is also an unparalleled opportunity for innovation and future prosperity.

Finally, I want to highlight the importance of collaboration between public and private stakeholders as a key success factor in projects like the agrologistics hubs proposed by this study.

In that respect, I think Thessaloniki is the perfect region to launch an agrologistics center because of its geographic position as the gateway to the Balkan market of 30 million people; its proximity to Thessaloniki’s outstanding universities and U.S.-affiliated educational institutions like the American Farm School; and because of the enabling environment provided by the city and regional governments.

In addition, an agrologistics center in Thessaloniki can potentially collaborate with the growing network of innovation hubs established by leading U.S. companies like Cisco, Pfizer, and Deloitte.

And this speaks to the larger issue of partnership among civil society, the U.S. and Greek governments, and U.S. and Greek companies.  As this event demonstrates, we can accomplish great things by coming together to support innovation in the agricultural sector.  And President Biden has reaffirmed that the United States is committed to working with Greece to pursue sustainable economic recovery in the wake of the pandemic.

U.S. Mission Greece is proud to partner with New Agriculture for a New Generation and other Greek innovation and entrepreneurship programs.

I am confident that the development of Greece’s agrologistics sector will create new opportunities for both our countries while spurring the growth and export of Greece’s unique agricultural products and fostering Greece’s economic recovery.

Efcharisto poly.