IOCC and Greek Orthodox Archdiocese Help Peloponnese Farmers Recover Their Productivity

IOCC’s newly announced soil lab project in Greece’s southern Peloponnese region will allow farmers like Dimitris to significantly increase their production yield. IOCC is building the lab and providing Peloponnese farmers with tons of animal feed through a new $1.3 million grant from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and other supporters. (Photo credit: Dimitrije Djukic/IOCC Greece)

Baltimore, MD (December 26, 2008) — International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) announces a new program that will help farmers in Greece’s Peloponnese region to significantly increase their production yield. Through a $1.3 million grant from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and other supporters, IOCC will construct a soil lab in the Peloponnese to help farmers analyze the condition of their soil and water in order to determine what crops to cultivate and what kinds of fertilizers to use.

This is the third grant that the Archdiocese has provided to help farmers recover their livelihood since the devastating wildfires of 2007 which destroyed cattle, grazing lands and significantly altered the composition of soil and polluted water sources. The Pancretan Association of America will also assist in the lab’s funding with a $75,000 grant to IOCC.

Previously, farmers willing and able to test their soil had to send samples to Athens and wait an average of three weeks for the results. Farmers often think of testing their soil very close to the agricultural season and the three week waiting period is impractical. “The availability of a soil lab in the Prefecture would return results within a matter of days and encourage more farmers to test their soil,” said Alex Machaskee, IOCC Board Chairman. “Environmentalists and agronomists agree that this will help the Peloponnese to recover economically and environmentally.”

This latest grant from the Archdiocese will also provide a two month supply of feed for up to 80,000 animals, benefiting 1,000 farming families whose lands were completely destroyed by the fires of 2007. “We are grateful to the Almighty for the devoted faithful of our Archdiocese of America whose magnanimous generosity enabled us to respond in such a substantial way from the onset of this catastrophe,” said His Eminence Archbishop DEMETRIOS of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.

The 2007 fires were Greece’s worst wildfires in a century and killed 61 people and over 25,000 cattle and sheep. More than 500,000 acres of land were damaged and destroyed, amounting to about 5% of Greece’s territory. IOCC has provided nearly $4 million in relief and development programs to the Peloponnese since September 2007, including 3,100 tons of animal feed and 60 tons of forage seed to replant grasslands.

Help us speed relief to families in the Peloponnese that are still feeling the effects of the 2007 wildfires. Visit, call IOCC toll free at 1-877-803-4622, or mail a check or money order payable to “IOCC” and write “Greece Wildfires” in the memo line to: IOCC, P.O. Box 17398, Baltimore, Md. 21297-0429.

IOCC, founded in 1992 as the official humanitarian aid agency of the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA), has implemented over $275 million in relief and development programs in 33 countries around the world.