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History

Raisin is a historic traditional product of the Greek economy, having a strong presence and involved in various social activities. The cultivation of raisin contributed decisively in the development and support of the Greek economy and society.

The Greek philosopher Aristotle makes reference to its cultivation in the area of North Peloponnesus as early as the 4th century bc.
In the 12th and 13th century there are as well similar testimonies concerning the cultivation and trading of raisins in Greece.

The cultivation of raisins started in Patras and Aeghio and later on expanded to Corinthos, Pirgos, Amaliada, Pilos, Zakynthos, Nafpaktos etc.

The exports were realized from the ports of Patras and Aeghio. For this reason currants were phonetically named after the Corinthian Gulf.

The cultivation of raisins developed rapidly when Greece became an independent state in 1821, after the liberation from the Ottoman occupation.
The rapid increase of the production during the 19th century can be mainly attributed to calamity of phylloxera, which destroyed the French vineyards.

The significant increase of the demand triggers an increase of the sales price, which is translated in a rise of affluence thanks to the exports of raisins and the producers enjoy high incomes while the areas of Aeghio, Patras, Pirgos, Corinthos etc. thrive.
Currants Transportation
The state revenues were based mainly on the taxes on raisin and the public works were stopped or progressed depending on the raisins crop.

During the second half of the 19th century while the Greek state was under restructuring raisin exports represented 80% of all Greek exports.
However, during the 1880’s, new vineyards in France with plants much more hardy to phylloxera were the reason why the demand gradually dropped, which together with the huge quantities of raisins produced due to the uncontrolled expansion of cultivations resulted in a major recession and raisin producers fell in poverty and despair.

In Vostizza and Corinthia the situation for raisin producers was slightly better due to the better quality of their product.
The complete overturn of the situation resulted in great turmoil, demonstrations and furious debates in the parliament, which finally obliged the Trikoupis government to resign.

Harvest
In 1925 the Greek state establishes the Independent Raisin Organization (I.R.O.), its purpose being to manage and control the raisin crop and trade. I.R.O has an additional very important role, namely to improve the raisin quality.

During the German occupation the raisin culture faces great difficulties and for three subsequent decades it generates very little income to the producers.

Today, Currants are exported almost worldwide; the main markets remain the EU countries (particularly the UK and the Netherlands) as well as other countries such as Australia, the USA etc