News World Locked down Greek fir tree farmers wait for Christmas miracle

Locked down Greek fir tree farmers wait for Christmas miracle

Locked down by coronavirus at their busiest time of year, fir tree farmers in Greece are hoping for a Christmas miracle to salvage a season all but lost.

A nationwide lockdown has meant thousands of Christmas trees may not get to market in time in a blow to farmers in an area of northern Greece where fir tree sales are their only livelihood.

“It will be a huge catastrophe,” said Christos Bitsios, a fir farmer in Taxiarchis, a mountainous village in Greece‘s Chalkidiki region.

Greece has extended to Dec. 7 a nationwide lockdown it imposed in November, its second since the coronavirus pandemic began, after a surge in COVID-19 cases. Northern Greece has been hit the hardest by the pandemic.

This time last year, Christmas trees were up for sale, Bitsios said. The annual crop requires up to 15 years of labour and the trees must be cut annually or they dry out as they are densely planted, he said.

Authorities say easing the restrictions would require a significant drop in COVID-19 cases which would ease pressure on the health system.

Greece registered 1,044 cases on Monday, bringing the total to 105,271 infections since the pandemic began.

Bitsios is optimistic that 2020 could be a year of high demand, if restrictions are eased, as people were more likely to stay home for Christmas.

“If they allow us, if they open the retail sector, we may fare better than other years because people want to decorate a tree. We’ve received many calls, many orders,” he said.

If not, the loss for the village is estimated at 300,000 euros ($360,000). Asked what he wants from Santa Claus this year, Bitsios said: “Better luck next year”. (Reuters)

Top Stories

164 new cases, one death announced on Thursday

The Health Ministry announced the death of one person due to COVID-19. This raises the death toll from the virus in Cyprus to 178,...

Where to get antigen rapid tests on Friday

The Health Ministry announced the following antigen rapid test sites for Friday, 22 January 2021: LIMASSOL Parking place Sklavenitis supermarket, Germasogia 08:30-16:30 Parking place Lidl supermarket, Limassol...

Alcohol consumption among Cypriot students high

Alcohol consumption among students has been reduced, the Cyprus National Addictions Authority ascertained on the basis of a European research, conducted every four years....

Earthquake measuring 5 felt all over Cyprus

An earthquake measuring 5 on the Richter scale occurred around 16:30 and was felt all over Cyprus. Due to the earthquake, the Parliament session that...

UK hits 5m vaccine doses as health minister defends scheduling change

British health minister Matt Hancock on Thursday (January 21) lamented another record daily number of COVID-19 deaths, but hailed the achievements of the UK's...


Squash soup

Ingredients: 1 kg pumpkin, cut into small cubes, approximately 5 cups 2 medium (400g) sweet potatoes, cut into cubes, approximately 2 ½ cups 1 chopped leek, only...


No visit to Cyprus is complete without enjoying the traditional meal of many small dishes known as ‘meze’. This large feast, which has been a...

Prawns with fried cheese, barley shaped pasta

Put the barley shaped pasta into a small pan with salted water, bring to a boil and when tender, drain. Peal the prawns leaving...

Salmon and shrimp sheftalies

Mix all ingredients for tabbouli in a bowl and keep to one side so flavours can combine. Prepare the sheftalies: wash and soak the casing...