ECONOMY

Greeks abandoning farming in droves

Employment in the agriculture sector in Greece is rapidly diminishing, as some 30,000 farmers abandon their craft every year, according to National Statistics Service (NSS) data, which show that from 2000 to 2006 the number of those employed in the sector shrank by 26.15 percent. Primary sector workers (employed in agriculture, farming, forestry and hunting), came to just 515,800 people in the third quarter of last year, against 697,400 people in the same period in 2000, the same NSS data show. This illustrates a mass exodus from the agricultural sector, with 181,600 people abandoning it due to retirement, a change in job or death. Therefore the portion of those employed in the agricultural sector has dropped to 11.5 percent from 17.6 percent in 2000. Already 30,000 Greeks give up agriculture every year, while the application of the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), which will allow farmers to receive subsidies regardless of their agricultural production, is expected to lead to more departures from the industry. A good indication of that is that during the first year of the application of CAP, the cultivation of tobacco in Greece diminished by 80 percent.