Greece Economic Conditions Part I

Greece Economic Conditions Part I

Agriculture. – Much of the Greek population is directly linked to its soil work (53.7% of residents over 10 lived in agriculture in 1928); but it is also true that this is only partially cultivated. In the area of old Greece only 22% of the total area is cultivated, 31.22% constitutes meadows and pastures, 12.70% is covered by forests, 34% is abandoned land and largely not exploitable . In the new territories the percentage of cultivated land is even lower and that is, p. e.g., in the former Turkish vilâyet of Thessaloniki on 6.21, in that of Giannina on 5.

Of all the crops, by far the most extensive is that of cereals: it is estimated that in the whole of Greece 71% of the cultivated area is destined for it. Wheat holds the first place, followed by maize, barley, rye, oats and other fodder: cultivated almost everywhere except in areas above 1200 m. in height, but scarce in most of the islands, where the small extension of these makes intensive cultivation preferable; not abundant on the whole even in the Peloponnese, instead prevalent in Acarnania and in Aetolia, as in Boeotia and especially in Thessaly. But the production on the whole is scarce: the sowing takes place in the first rains, the harvest in June; then for a year the land rests without being otherwise exploited; and the product is not enough, in the whole of Greece, not even for internal consumption. So much so that an annual import of cereals is necessary for a value (1931) of about 1 billion dramme. This deficiency has not diminished even after the addition of the new territories, to which, in addition to Russia, the Greek request was addressed, due to the density of the population occupying the districts themselves. The great plains of Thessaloniki, of Sérrai, of Dráma often yield two crops a year, wheat in the spring and maize afterwards. Rice is grown almost exclusively in the Missolungi region. due to the density of the population occupying the districts themselves. The great plains of Thessaloniki, of Sérrai, of Dráma often yield two crops a year, wheat in the spring and maize afterwards. Rice is grown almost exclusively in the Missolungi region. due to the density of the population occupying the districts themselves. The great plains of Thessaloniki, of Sérrai, of Dráma often yield two crops a year, wheat in the spring and maize afterwards. Rice is grown almost exclusively in the Missolungi region.

The table at the bottom of the page gives, for 1929 and 1930, the cultivated area (in thousands of ha.), The production (in thousands of q.) And the yield of the most widely cultivated cereals in Greece.

Economically much more important is the cultivation of the vine; in fact, even if it comprises only 11.5% of the cultivated area (130.960 ha. in 1929; 151.555 in 1930), it gives a product that reaches the value of some hundreds of millions of dramas and which constitutes one of the main exports of the country. It is cultivated throughout the maritime area of ​​Greece, but with greater intensity of cultivation and goodness of products especially in the northern and western Peloponnese and in almost all the islands. That of the vine is the crop to which the Greeks take the greatest care: this is reflected both in the special aspect that the vineyards take, with sloping terraces, in some areas with a very inclined slope, and, on the other hand, in the greater density of the residents in the wine regions, and in their greater well-being. One of the main products is certainly given by wine; and if in ancient times the wines of Samos and Corfu and Metimno were rightly celebrated, even now many of those of the islands – of Tino, of Nasso, of Santorino, of Kefalonia – and some also of the mainland: Kefiso, Falero, Corinth and others – are prized not only in Greece, but elsewhere as well, as their flourishing export proves. The brandy, on the other hand, the “rakí”, is almost only reserved for internal consumption which is however very large. Official data only provide the quantity of must production, which was 2,546,240 hl. in 1929 and 1,381,822 hl. in 1930. Also another product of the vine takes on special importance, that is a very sweet little grape without berries, which, dried, it goes on the market under the name of Corinth (raisins or passolina). First known, apparently, in Naxos, and then widespread near the isthmus from which it took its name, it was later extended especially in the northern and western Peloponnese. In 1929 1,221,690 q were produced; in 1930, 1,488,400 q.

This is followed by another even more typical Mediterranean plant, the olive tree, truly characteristic of the vegetable landscape of Greece. Its plantations, in which, however, fruit and in any case different crops alternate, represent about 6.5 % of the overall cultivated area, and its diffusion can be said to almost coincide with that of the vine, that is mainly in the Peloponnese, along the northern coasts of the Gulf of Corinth, in the coast of the Magnesia peninsula towards the Gulf of Volo, and in the major islands, especially the Ionians, then Euboea, Crete, Mytilene and Samo. And a direct profit is drawn from this in olives, which for the Greek peasant constitute a national food, and a more important one in oil, of which there is quite a flourishing export. The production of table olives in 1930-1931 was 292.950 q.; that of olive oil was 1,000,711 q. in 1928-1929, 794.746 q. in 1929-1930, 863.114 in 1930-1931. But the custom of picking the fruit only when it has fallen to the ground,

Other Mediterranean plants thrive in Greece: figs, especially in Messenia, where they are dried in the oven and in the sun, and citrus fruits, especially in the coasts of the Ionian islands and the mainland, which are also exported. And mulberry trees also have a certain importance for the breeding of silkworms, especially in the new territories (production of cocoons in 1929, 2.527.000 kg; in 1930, 1.883.930 kg.), Where then there are many extensive, other crops that in old Greece appear only sporadically and occasionally: the main one is tobacco (1929: 101.107 ha., 687.382 q.; 1930: 78.855 ha., 692.453 q.), especially that of the districts of Xánthē and Cavala ; then opium, sesame, red pepper, while the cultivation of cotton, which was abundant in the past, is decreasing considerably.

The forests it can be said that they do not give rise to rational exploitation; their distribution itself appears irregular: they abound, relatively, in the mountains of Epirus, along the western slopes of the Pindus and its offshoots, in those of Arcadia, and on the plateaus that lie at their feet; on the other hand, they are scarce or even absent throughout eastern Greece, with the exception of the coastal chain that stretches from Campania to Olympus, Bones and Pelion as far as the extreme peninsula of Magnesia. When you do not consider the typical Mediterranean scrub of the coastal strip, in which a shrubby vegetation of mastic, myrtle, heather is associated with large patches of grass, the low areas not far from the sea of ​​the Peloponnese are covered with pine forests. But in Acarnania and in Aetolia are the oaks that form the densest and most extensive woods of the lower regions. Above, the fir and larch forests follow. As variously scattered but locally densified species, however, there are chestnuts and horse chestnuts, plane trees and hazelnuts, elms and alders, poplars and lime trees. However, the forests are not exploited, largely due to the difficulties, sometimes due to the absolute lack of communications. Almost the only exploitation is that of the vallonea, produced from an abundant oak in Acarnania and Aetolia, and which is exported mostly to Austria and England for the use of hides. elms and alders, poplars and limes. However, the forests are not exploited, largely due to the difficulties, sometimes due to the absolute lack of communications. Almost the only exploitation is that of the vallonea, produced from an abundant oak in Acarnania and Aetolia, and which is exported mostly to Austria and England for the use of hides. elms and alders, poplars and limes. However, the forests are not exploited, largely due to the difficulties, sometimes due to the absolute lack of communications. Almost the only exploitation is that of the vallonea, produced from an abundant oak in Acarnania and Aetolia, and which is exported mostly to Austria and England for the use of hides.

Greece Economy 1