Recommendations For Rural Development – Greece
The three decades of European Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) implementation in Greece have had a significant impact on the structure of the country’s rural economy and the region. Farmers have clearly shifted to subsidized products, even abandoning traditional Greek crops such as pulses or livestock plants, so that the nutritional needs of the population have been largely met by increased imports.
With the exception of the capital region (Attica), the size of the rest of the Greek regions is small, compared to the European average. They are relatively weaker economic units, with productivity levels below the European average (except for the Region of Central Greece, which actually corresponds to the industrial zone of Attica). Central Macedonia has a higher growth rate than Western Macedonia.
Central & West Macedonia
Due to its natural resources, lowland areas, hilly mountainous and semi-mountainous mineral wealth ecosystems the Intervention Area has formed a productive pattern characterized by diversity. This diversity has shaped output in the three sectors of the local economy (primary, secondary, tertiary), and has contributed to the development of each of these sectors despite the problems arising from the socio-economic and sectoral problems encountered in recent years.
The intervention area’s economy relies heavily on the primary sector and rural development. At the same time, it should be noted that the sector, despite its dynamics, presents the structural problems that characterize the sector and its sub-sectors throughout the country (abandonment of rural and traditional crops, change of land use, lack of standardization methods and commercialization).
In Central Macedonia, fertile soil and favorable geomorphological and climatic conditions favor rural development and agrotourism as long as a large proportion of its inhabitants are farmers, or are engaged in similar occupations.
In West Macedonia, Olive and olive oil are the first choice for agriculture, probably because a large proportion of townspeople still have olive trees. A similarly high percentage of stakeholders prefer organic crops, as they believe they will have an increasing percentage of sales.
The rural areas of the wider region are dynamic. This dynamism is reflected in the variety and quality of the products produced, the linkage of these products to international markets, and their integration. The effect of this dynamic is also reflected in the contribution of the primary sector to the GDP of the Intervention Area.
As for the secondary sector, economic activity in the region, as in Greece in general, is marked by a strong dualism. There are a small number of large businesses while the bulk of the businesses are small and most are extremely small in terms of employment and turnover.
Businesses in general are not modernized, nor have they entered into collaborations, networking or even mergers. By remaining small and scarce, they are constantly losing market share (intrusive penetration) but also shifting their exports to easier markets than those of the EU, to those of the Balkans. In fact, part of these companies, in order to cope with the new economic situation, settled in other Balkan countries.
The geographical location of the Intervention Area is clearly eccentric in relation to the core but also to the emerging axes of the EU27, including the ‘Mediterranean bow’. On the other hand, it is in direct contact with the Balkans and, secondarily, with the countries of Eastern Europe.
The rural production field of the intervention area is characterized by extremely favorable conditions due to warm weather, increased period of sunshine for most of the year, as well as the terrain, which creates a variety of micro-environments. Thus, in Central and Western Macedonia, the conditions prevailing are those of an extended in time period of vegetation, conditions that favor biological cultures and production of quality, certified products for high income markets, cultivations that can be further developed by using the study correctly and the use of results of very important actions of training of the rural work force of the area.
Overall, the Intervention Area is a privileged area of potential development of the international role of FP. the Balkans. This strategic location is an asset to further accelerate the development and promotion of agricultural products and agrotourism.