NEWS

Agricultural sector not ready for change

George, Nikos and Vassilis, who cultivate cotton, corn and clover in Viotia, hope their children will find something better to do; Arben and Ilir from Albania, who gather peaches in the prefecture of Pella, provide cheap labor; workers collecting olives in Crete take half the harvest and half the subsidy; some farmers cultivate early fruit and vegetables because they sell at a good price. All of them form a small part of Greek agricultural life. Now facing far-reaching changes in the sector, they are being called upon to deal with accumulated problems such as the slow pace of work and orientation of crops. The days when the money flowed and gave the illusion of development are well and truly past. The farming population, complying with the forces of change and European Union directives for the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), is destined to shrink. The minister for agriculture has declared on numerous occasions that «the agricultural population is too large; it must be reduced.» As farm production is modernized, so the thinking goes, fewer hands will be required, generating more profit. However, as the decisions are made in offices and not in the fields, will the producers have enough help to adjust, or will the changes once again drift into the distant and uncertain future?