Greece - Agricultural SectorGreece - Agricultural Sector
The agricultural sector in Greece remains an important sector of economic activity and employment for Greece, with exports of agricultural products accounting for one third of total exports in Greece. Agriculture contributes 4.1 percent of GDP and is characterized by small farms and low capital investment. Greece's utilized agricultural area is close to 5 million hectares, of which 57 percent is in the plains and 43 percent is in mountainous or semi-mountainous areas. There are about 150 million olive trees in the country, either in systematic orchards or scattered across the country. Lower agricultural productivity in Greece, compared to other EU Member States, is correlated to the smaller average-size of holdings. The economies of scale offered by modern farming practices have limited impact on the small plots of land typically used in Greece.
Greece’s financial crisis is affecting all areas of the economy, including agriculture. Agricultural output has steadily declined from 17 percent of GDP in the early 1990’s to 4.1 percent today. Greece’s main competitors are other European Union countries. The leading agri-food suppliers to the Greek market are the Netherlands ($990 M), Germany ($909M), Italy ($717M), Bulgaria ($683 M), and France ($618M). The leading markets for Greece’s goods are Italy ($1.1 B), Germany ($848 M), the United Kingdom ($427 M), the United States ($370M) and Bulgaria ($357 M). Greece’s top agri-food imports include cheese ($424M), pork ($264M), beef ($229M), and food preparations ($183 M), whereas cheese ($476M), olive oil ($465) and olives($451M) dominate Greece's agricultural exports, followed by cotton ($395M), sea bream ($273M), and canned peaches ($225M). In 2017, U.S. agri-food exports to Greece were valued at approximately $92.6 million, while imports from Greece reached $417.2 million. Tree nuts ($27.5M), distilled spirits ($9.0M), hides and skins ($6.8M), forest products ($6,3M), seafood products ($6.1) and soybeans ($5.3M), were the top U.S. exports to Greece in value terms, whereas processed fruits and vegetables ($10.5M), seafood products ($53,9M), vegetable oils ($43.5M), and cheese ($29.5M), were the leading U.S. imports from Greece.
Greece imports significantly more food and beverages than it exports. Products with good sales potential include cheese, meat, alcoholic beverages, organic foods, dairy products, some exotic fruits, off season fruits and non-GMO ingredients for the domestic food processing and confectionary/ice cream sectors.
Bilateral Ag Trade 2017
U.S. Ag Exports to Greece $92.6 M U.S. Ag Imports from Greece $417.2 M
Tree Nuts: $27.5 M Processed Fruits & Vegetables: $210.5 M
Distilled Spirits: $9.0 M Seafood Products: $53.9 M
Hides & Skins: $6.8 M Vegetable Oils: $43.5 M
Forest Products: $6.3 M Cheese: $29.5 M
Seafood Products: $6.1 M Wine & Beer: $14.8 M
Soybeans: $45.3 M Snack Foods: $10.2 M
• Greece is a net agricultural importer.
• The United States exports mostly consumer oriented and intermediate commodities to Greece and mainly imports their consumer-oriented products.
A. U.S. products in the Greek market that have good sales potential:
Tree Nuts (almonds, walnuts, pistachios)
Whisky (and other distilled spirits)
Crustaceans (shrimps, lobsters, and crabs), Mollusks, and Squid
Hardwood Lumber and Veneers
Dried Plums and Cranberries
B. Products not present in significant quantities but which have good sales potential:
Mink Furskins (and other hides & skins)
Soybean Meal and Soybeans
C. Products not present because they face significant trade barriers:
Beef, other than that sold thru the High Quality Beef Quota
Poultry, use of chlorine as a post-slaughter pathogen reduction treatment is not accepted by EU
Processed food products containing biotech ingredients
In spite of the institutional challenges and ongoing economic downturn, areas of opportunity remain in the Greek market for U.S. companies. Greece is a potential market for seafood; U.S. seafood exports to Greece in 2017 increased 48.8percent and are forecast to further increase in 2017 favored by record tourism arrivals. U.S. pulses exports (mostly lentils) are expected to recovered in 2017, after a 33 percent reduction last year, and pulses market is expected to continue to grow over the next five years because of increased demand for inexpensive and healthier meal choices.
Embassy of the United States in Athens, Greece
United States Mission to the European Union
Global Trade Atlas, trade statistics
Global Agricultural Information Network
European Commission Agriculture Website
Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute
USA Dry Pea and Lentil Council
Greece Agribusiness Trade Development and Promotion