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General information: The primary sector in Greece holds an important position, not only economically but also as a factor promoting social and economic cohesion in large areas outside the urban centers. At the same time, it has created the conditions necessary for economic development in other fields, particularly in manufacturing (the food and beverage industry, textiles, tobacco processing etc.). Agriculture∆s contribution to the GDP (in market prices) in 1999 was just under 8.0%, while in the same year its contribution to employment figures stood at 17.0% (669.100 people: 3.940.000 total workforce.)

The main features of Greek agriculture are subject to a series of natural and structural factors such as:
The preponderance of mountainous and physically disadvantaged regions.
The dry climate, which usually extends into long dry periods.
The large number of small farm holdings ( 1/4 of the area farmed by similar enterprises in the EU on average). Fully 75.2% of farms cover an area of no more than 50 stremmata (one stremma = 1.000 square meters) while there are very few farms that cultivate larger areas.
The demographic problem of the aging of the rural population: 57% are over 55 years old, and 30% are over 65.
The limited number of brand name or high quality products that could satisfy the current needs of the market.

The composition of agricultural land: In 2000 the total area of land under cultivation and lying fallow was 39.006 thousand stremmata, of which 14.507 thousand (or 37.2%) were artificially irrigated. Total arable land is estimated to be 2.6% of the EU total. The largest portion of arable land is used for wheat, followed by cotton, tobacco and vegetables. More specifically, total tillable crops are grown on 22.234 thousand stremmata, of which 9.580 are irrigated artificially. According to available data from 1998, the number of tractors being used in farming is 369.642.

The chief goods produced are wheat, corn, cotton, tobacco, olive oil, tomatoes, peaches, potatoes, apples, citrus fruit and others. It is worth noting that Greece∆s total agricultural output is 4.1% of the EU total.

Foreign trade of agricultural goods: In 2000, the total value of exports of agricultural goods stood at 10.479.669 thousand USD (3% down on 1999) and the volume stood at 23.279 thousand tons (4.4% down on 1999). However, exports of the main fruits and vegetables rose significantly in 2000 (up 30%), while it is estimated that, except for those products hit by the cold weather, exports of more agricultural products will rise in 2001. At the same time however, the value of imports was 28.426.112 thousand USD (-6.9% compared to 1999) with a volume of 53.858 thousand tons (+58.7% compared to 1999).

Export activity: Greece∆s major exportable goods are olive oil, tobacco, seasonal fruit (apricots, cherries, peaches), grapes, wine, cheeses, other vegetables, tomatoes (fresh or preserved), oranges, milk, other oils, bananas, fresh fruit and citrus fruit and eggs. Greek agricultural exports have primarily OECD countries as their destination (65.3% of relative total exports). The EU accounts for 53.8%, the Balkans for 13-18% and North Africa and Middle Eastern countries account for 9.6%.

Penetration of imports: The chief imported agricultural goods are fruit, both fresh and dried, oils and vegetable fats, fresh or frozen vegetables, wheat, corn, barley and rice. Approximately 82% of imports come from EU countries and 18% from Third (non-EU) countries.

Animal Husbandry

General facts: The animal husbandry sector in Greece contributes approximately 28% to the gross value of farm output and employs 23% of farmers or 7% of Greece∆s economically active population. Greek animal husbandry, in the last few years, has had to face falling prices for the producer, acute competition from northern EU countries∆ similar products and delays on the part of the state in implementing development programs. The chief unprocessed products produced by the animal husbandry sector are: milk with a production of 1,994,023 tons, and meat with a production of 468.581 tons (last available data 1999).

Number of farms and livestock: During 1991-2000, the number of farms involved only in animal husbandry or in agriculture and animal husbandry fell by 23.6% (from 265.039 to 202.499). In contrast, the number of head of livestock rose by 3.7% (from 2.453.451 to 2.544.903). Specifically, the distribution of animals is as follows: sheep 34.4%, goats 20.9%, cattle 18.2%, poultry 15.3%, pigs 9.6%, horses 1.4% and rabbits 0.2%.

Foreign trade: In 2000, foreign trade in the chief Greek animal products was as follows: Imports: 1.079.272 thousand USD (-11.4% compared to 1999) and 1.575.109 tons (+174,9% compared to 1999). Exports: 128.837 thousand USD (-10.2% compared to 1999) and 228.466 tons (+284.2% compared to 1999).

Forestry - Forest Management

Forest products: The total round timber harvested, according to 1997 figures, came to 403.271 thousand cubic meters, firewood amounted to 688.409 tons, charcoal to 6.078 tons and the amount of resin harvested was 5.961 tons.


General information: The fisheries sector, as a branch of primary production, is considered important for the national economy despite its small contribution to GDP (0.37% in 1997), as it contributes to maintaining the economic and social cohesion of large areas of the country (coastal areas and the Aegean and Ionian islands). Approximately 40,000 people are employed in this sector.

Within this sector, the new branches of fish farming and processing are being developed, which perform well in exports, contribute to covering demand in the domestic market and reinforce employment in related areas (e.g. shipbuilding).

Fish production: Fish production in all categories (fishing, fish farming, lagoons), according to 1999 estimates, amounts to 231.000 tons. Fresh-water fish farming and fishing production in 1999 came to 72.650 tons (+15.1% compared to 1998).

Foreign trade: In 1999 foreign trade was as follows: Imports: 264.123 thousand euros (+3.2% compared to 1998) and 93.000 tons (+1.7% compared to 1998). Exports: 220.103 thousand euros (-1.5% compared to 1998) and 65.000 tons (+7.6% compared to 1998).

Fresh fish
Imports: 70.433 thousand euros (+4.3% compared to 1998) and 21.000 tons (+10.3% compared to 1998).
Exports: 190.756 thousand euros (+7.7% compared to 1998) and 50.000 tons (+8.0% compared to 1998). Greece has a deficit with regard to fish products and is thus obliged to import. Because of the robust exports of the fish farming industry, Greece produces a surplus of fresh product.

Agricultural population (in thousands)

Total population

10 977

Agricultural population

1 285

Non agricultural population

9 692

Source : 2004, FAOSTAT

Land use

Cultivated surface area

8 431 000

Irrigated surface area

1 453 000

Number of farms

833 590

Number of tractors

255 000

Source : 2003, FAOSTAT

Production indicators

Main crops

Product Production (in thousands) Harvested surface (1000 ha) Yield by hectare (kg/ha)
Olives 2583 785 3293
Sugar beet 2573 41 63541
Maize 2534 247 10264
Wheat 2044 844 2422
Tomatoes 1714 35 49383

Source : 2005, FAOSTAT


Specie Headcount (in thousands)
Chickens 28000
Sheep 9000
Goats 5400
Rabbits and hares 1500
Beehives 1300

Source : 2005, FAOSTAT

Fishing (in metric tons)

Shellfish, mollusks and cephalopods Saltwater fish Freshwater fish
39 604 152 662 1 773

Source : 2005, FAOSTAT