Greece has 5 less developed, 6 transitional and 1 more developed regions under article 2014/99/EU definitions. In addition, the country is one of the member states eligible for funding from the Cohesion Fund pursuant to Article 4. It has a population of 10.75 million people and covers an area of 131,957 km2. The region includes four level 1 NUTS areas, EL3, EL4, EL5 and EL6 (considering the last changes in NUTS). Agriculture in Greece is one of the main employers, with around 1,212,720 people working in it. The agricultural sector in the country contrasts with the rest of Europe, having much smaller farms on average. The country accounts for 723,101 agricultural holdings and a total cultivated area of 3,477,930 ha, resulting in an average area per holding of 4.8 ha. Indeed, 89% of the total number of farms are smaller than 10 ha. In general, in 2014, there was a low penetration of young farmers in the sector, with only 7% of the holdings owned by young people, while 35% was owned by people over 65 years. This highlights the old-aged workforce and the need for its renewal.
The selected instrument is the “M6.1: Start-up aid for young farmers” sub-measure, which is included in the national programme for the period 2014-2020. It is derived from Article 19 of the 1305/2013 EAFRD regulation. The aim of this instrument is the establishment of farmers-entrepreneurs and the increase of agricultural holdings’ competitiveness through age-based and higher-skilled renewal. The measure contemplates providing a lump sum to holdings producing between 8,000 and 100,000 €/year and managed by new young (<40) farmers. It covers up to 100% of the development of new business plans (between 17,000 and 22,000 per farm).
This use case will analyse the M6.1 measure impact on Greece, focusing on the socio-economic aspects. The ex-post analysis will be done for the period 2014-2017 and the ex-ante impact analysis will be done for the period 2018-2020. To that end, AGRICORE will use several data sources including FADN, FSS, the Hellenic Statistical Authority, the different Chamber of Commerce and MinAGric. This information will be complemented with information provided by the national and regional governments and with participatory research conducted among the different stakeholders involved in the use case. Biophysical models (generic and crop-specific) will be used to calculate the productivity and the yield of the exploitations on different climate scenarios.
Agriculture is a key sector of the Greek economy providing inputs for other sectors such as Food & Beverages, contributing to the vitality of the rural areas through employment as well as adding decisively to the overall export orientation of the economy. It contributes the 4.7 percent (2021) of the total Gross Value-Added (GVA), employs almost the ten percent (2021) of the total workforce and exports agricultural products valued more than the twenty percent (2020) of the total exports of Greece (Agriculture and rural development, 2021; European Commission, 2023).
Although, even if a third of the population in Greece resides in predominantly rural areas and the total agricultural income rose by 14.4 percent during the last decade (2010 – 2020), the total number of agricultural holdings decreased by 5.3 percent (2010 – 2016) and the number of younger aged farmers (less than 44 years old) decreased significantly (almost by fifty percent for the farmers aged less than 35 years and by 26.2 percent for the farmers ages among 35 to 44 years). In 2020 only the six percent of farm managers in Greece is aged less than 35 years(Agriculture and rural development, 2021; European Commission, 2023).
The scarce presence of young farmers is considered one of the main weaknesses of the competitiveness of European agriculture. In this context, the Young Farmers Aid Programme aims to enhance the competitiveness of agricultural holdings through age renewal. To this extent, Sub-Measure 6.1 of the Greek Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 aims to provide the key that will help to unlock access to finance, land and knowledge that the new generation requires for a competitive and viable startup of an agricultural holding. Within AGRICORE project, the Greek Use Case focus on the socio-economic assessment of the young farmers aid programme that is applied through the sub-measure 6.1 of the Greek RDP 2014-2020.
Initially, with the scope to assess, from a socio-economic point of view, the effectiveness and the function of Sub-measure 6.1 the research have concluded to an average socio-economic profile of the beneficiaries of sub-measure 6.1 in Greece. As table 1 depicts, it is evident that the majority of beneficiaries are men, aged 28.5 years in average, with an average yearly personal income of almost 1300 Euros and an average size of their agricultural holding of 5.2 Ha.
Table 1. Socio-economic profile of Sub-Measure 6.1 beneficiaries
Moreover, a questionnaire aiming to directly identify the beliefs and perceptions of young farmers aged less than forty years old, beneficiaries and non-beneficiaries of sub-measure 6.1 concluded to a map of perceptions towards the financial aid of sub-measure 6.1 (Table 2). It is clear that, solely the grant from their participation to the sub-measure 6.1 does not viewed by the young farmers as sufficient at keep them viable in farming. Although, the payment is seen as a motivation to succeed as head of an agricultural holding.
Table 2. Beliefs and perceptions of Sub-Measure 6.1 beneficiaries
and non-beneficiaries concerning the received financial aid from the sub-measure.
*Score 1 indicates strong disagreement and 10 meant a strong agreement
Agriculture and rural development. (2021, June). European Commission. Greece: Agriculture Statistical Factsheet: Https://Agriculture.Ec.Europa.Eu/Cap-My-Country/Performance-Agricultural-Policy/Agriculture-Country/Eu-Country-Factsheets_el.
European Commission. (2023, March). Analytical Factsheet – Greece. Agri-Food Data Portal: Https://Agridata.Ec.Europa.Eu/Extensions/CountryFactsheets/CountryFactsheets.Html?Memberstate=Greece#YoungFarmers.