Last year’s Greek Young Farmer of the Year 2019, Pavlos Tsakiris, was crowned Environmentally-sustainable Champion in farming at the Sixth European Congress of Young Farmers ceremony held in Brussels on Thursday, 10 December

Mr Tsakiris, 36, won the award for his implementation of environmental and climate practices in the field, which contribute to the conservation of biodiversity and ecosystems. The two other categories were for Digital Champion in farming; Food champion in farming. Over 200 young farmers from 21 European Union member states took part.

Based in the village of Neochorouda, near Thessaloniki, Mr Tsakiris is a third-generation family member of Tsakiris Family SA (Eggs and Cereals) which has been involved in egg production since 1963. Mr Tsakiris is the company CEO and is also the co-founder of Le Petit Dejeuner -breakfast cereal which debuted in 2014.

Mr Tsakiris also produces high nutritional value organic wheat, lupine and peas in a 60 hectares, products that are used to feed its egg-laying chickens.

Speaking to the Athens Macedonia News Agency (AMNA), Mr Tsakiris said the award had come as a “pleasant shock’.

“We think in our microcosm here in Greece that we do everything mediocre many times, that maybe we are not so good. We just do the job and finish and (we believe) that there are definitely better people abroad than us “, said Mr Tsakiris.

“In the end, in Greece, we do great things and we just do not communicate them properly. I believe that Greek products are rightly considered one of the best in the world and are widely accepted and preferred by consumers.”

Mr Tsakiris watched the award ceremony from the company premises at Neochorouda and his selection for the award was made by a five-member committee of executives, none of which was Greek, drawn from the European Parliament.

READ MORE: An innovative young farmer, going against the grain

“”I was distinguished and emerged as a winner by simply presenting my daily life and that excites me. It is the greatest reward.,” he said.

Mr Tsakiris who together with his sister, Maria, form the third generation in the family company, said the award recognized the company operated on principles of the circular economy.

“We cultivate our fields, we take the grains, the grains are fed, we feed the hens, we take the egg, which is either sorted and packaged for the shops, or goes, (the soiled) to pasteurisation, where we break the eggs, they go through heat processing, packed in bags and go to industry,” he said.

“The cycle closes with the fact that the waste from the hens goes to a biogas plant and is thus converted into electricity and in the process to solid waste. What is left we use as fertiliser for our fields. We do not create waste and we do not burden the environment at all,” Mr Tsakiris said.

In 2014, the Tsakiris Family changed its name from “Eggs of Neochorouda Tsakiri” in 2014 to include it’s the cereal production arm of the organisation.

Over 130,000 chickens currently producing over 4 million eggs per month. By next year, the company expects to double production to 260,000 hens. Of these, more than 70,000 chickens will be raised to organic requirements.

The company has 12 poultry farms in Neochorouda and a distribution centre in Athens. A few years ago, it set up an egg pasteurizer for the Horeca confectionery market, that employs 70 people.