Fava Feneou

Crop: Lathyrus sativus L. (Grass pea)

Lathyrus sativus L. (grass pea) has been cultivated systematically in the demarcated area since the late 19th century. ‘Fava Feneou’ is the edible pulse obtained from L. sativus. The seeds of L. sativus are harvested and then dried, husked and crushed cotyledons are consumed as food, ground or cooked into a thick puree, known as fava.

The long-term cultivation of the product is due to its physical characteristics but especially its particularly high nutritional value. The physical characteristics of fava are the yellowish colour, the very small size (1000 seeds do not weigh more than 150 g), the angular, irregular shape, the small diameter (4-7 mm), the good appearance and the small percentage of broken cotyledons (1-5 %). The moisture content is not more than 13 %. Also the chemical characteristics that distinguish ‘Fava Feneou’ are the high levels of protein (minimum 24 %), carbohydrates (44-60 %) and dietary (plant) fibers (12-25 %). ‘Fava Feneou’ is therefore a product of high nutritional value. Also, the growers' ability to judge exactly when the pods are ready for harvesting (when they turn a typical yellow-brown colour) ensures that the seeds are rich in nutrients, so that ‘Fava Feneou’ has high nutritional value.

The landrace is sown from the end of March till the beginning of April in a straight line with the use of machines and harvest on August. The harvested plants are left to wither. The threshing, the sifting and cleaning follow. Finally, the seeds are stored in storehouses.

The landrace is adapted to arid soils, so it is irrigated rarely. The demands for fertilizers are low and many farmers use organic fertilizers. The use of pesticides and in general all chemical products for plant protection is limited. In 2019 it was produced over an area of more than 35 ha with an average production of 1.0-3.5 tonnes/ha.

Cultivation System: low input conditions.

Geographical Information

Country: Greece

‘Fava Feneou’ is produced in the Municipal Units of Feneos and Stymfalia in the Municipality of Sikyona, in the Regional Unit of Corinthia of the Peloponnese Region. The unique natural environment, i.e. the Feneos and Stymfalia plateaus, which are enclosed and protected by mountains—Helmos—Dourdouvana, Κillini and Oliyirtos—Saïtas (Feneos plateau) and Oliyirtos and Killini (Stymfalia plateau), and the presence of Lake Doxa and Lake Stymfalia, help to create ideal soil and climatic conditions. ‘Fava Feneou’ is very well adapted to the area's soil and climatic conditions. The medium-textured, slightly acidic to neutral soil (pH < 7), which contains a sufficient amount of organic matter and is well drained, the relatively mild, wet winters with no late frosts and the cool summers, are crucial in determining the quality and specific characteristics of the crop. The result is a high-quality product that is rich is protein, carbohydrates and plant fiber.


Farmer(s) description:

The human factor plays a key role in ensuring the quality of ‘Fava Feneou’. Because this landrace is mainly grown by families, cultivation methods have remained stable and unchanged over time.


Propagation system: Seed, self-pollination

Multiplication procedures and consequences on landrace diversity:

The ability and experience of producers to properly select seeds to be used next year for sowing, based on phenotypic characteristics of the seed and macroscopic observation, area determining factor in ensuring the germination capacity of the seeds, and the production of healthy, uniform and strong plants the following year. The seed should be strong, healthy and clean. It should not be deformed, scrubby or appear symptoms of invasion of pests and diseases. This seed selection process is applied by farmers every year. The stored seed that will remain in the warehouses until the next spring is disinfected early in the autumn to avoid contamination by warehouse insects. At the time of sowing, the seed decontamination process is again followed.

Management plan existence:

The landrace management relies completely on farming activities in the area.

Added Values

Market - existing and novel:

The unique natural environment, help to create ideal soil and climatic conditions, making it possible to grow a top quality product that is increasingly sought after on the Greek market.’Fava Feneou’ has a rich local and national market due to its quality. Most of the farmers sell the product directly and the price is lower than other fava products. Recently actions were taken from the Union of Agricultural Cooperatives of Kiato for the promotion of the product with the participation in food exhibitions and other events but the competition in the market is high. The reputation of ‘Fava Feneou’ is confirmed by historical and bibliographical references, the use of the name on packaged products found on the market, articles in local and national newspapers, media broadcasts and material found on the internet, mainly relating to food and tourism, etc.

Others (e.g. commercial/geographical brands or special traits):

In 2016 ‘Fava Feneou’ was registered into the European List of Protected Designation of Origin products (EC No: EL-PGI-0005-01339-26.05.2015) following the COUNCIL REGULATION (EC) No 510/2006 on the protection of geographical indications and designations of origin for agricultural products and foodstuffs and No 1151/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21st November 2012 on quality schemes for agricultural products and foodstuffes (https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/HTML/?uri=CELEX:52016XC0505(01)&from=EN). As a consiquence all stages of the production process from cultivation (preparing the ground, sowing, irrigation, application of fertilizer, weed control, plant protection) to harvesting and drying the product, as well as collecting the seed for the following year's crop, must take place within the defined geographical area and the packaging bears the words ‘Fava Feveou’ PGI and all the necessary information according to the EU and national law.

The soil and climatic conditions in the Feneos area, the unique natural environment, the use of traditional cultivation methods, which have remained virtually unchanged for decades, as they still do things in the traditional way (e.g. weeding and harvesting mainly by hand) and the growers' knowledge and experience of exactly when to harvest the product, the rigorous selection of the seeds to safeguard the purity of ‘Fava Feneou’, are the factors that determine the product's specific characteristics and its superior quality. The protein, carbohydrate and plant (dietary) fiber content, characteristics make ‘Fava Feneou’ a specific, highly nutritious food for human consumption. Besides, all the local and cultural events that have taken place and continue to date in the area of Feneos and Stymphalia are closely related to the product.


The Union of Agricultural Cooperatives of Kiato is responsible to keep the Registry, in order to ensure traceability. The ‘Fava Feneou’ growers register with relative information on the grower (cultivator code), the field of cultivation (agricultural parcel code), the size, the location and the year of sowing. The Registry is informed each year.

The following bodies are responsible for inspection of ‘Fava Feneou’ cultivation under the provision of Greek law as a product of designation of origin and protected geographical indication:

  • Hellenic Agricultural Organization-DEMETER, 56-58 Kourtidou and Nirvana str., 11145 Athens, tel.: 210 8292000, Fax: 210 8231438 
  • Directorate of Rural Economy and Veterinary Regional Unit of Corinthia, 36 Koliatsou str. 201 00, Corinth, tel.: 27410 81080, Fax: 27410 81087.

Provisions set by the Ministry of Rural Development and Food, the high quality of the product and the increased interest of the consumers of the landrace value give hope of on-farm conservation in the next future.

Uncertain. To have access to the resource Union of Agricultural Cooperatives of Kiato (https://easkiatou.gr/)should be contacted.

Case study prepared by Hellenic Agricultural Organization-DEMETER, Greece.

Most of updates have been communicated by Anastasia Lepesioti (Union of Agricultural Cooperatives of Kiato).