SEAM: Shrinking of mechanization over the last 15 years threatens Greek primary sector

The president of the Association of Machinery Representatives (SEAM), Savvas Balouktsis, sounded the alarm for the future of the primary sector in Greece because of the continuing shrinking of mechanization in Greece over the last 15 years, a trend that leads both to further increase in production costs for people in the industry and reduces the competitiveness of Greek products.

Speaking to ANA, he stressed that 2016 was yet another negative year for the agricultural tractor market, with sales at 1,120 units compared to 1,491 in 2015 (-25%). Mr. Balouktsis noted that if the start of a new cycle of Improvement Plans failed to materialized until the end of the first half this year, according to the latest government announcement, “a further reduction could not be excluded, which would lead the market to three digit numbers”. But, “if this time everything goes normally and we will not go into further postponement, the agricultural tractor market can show a slight recovery of up to 10%,” he noted.

The announcement of the new Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which includes subsidies for investment in agricultural equipment, has brought the machinery market to a standstill and any transaction made covered equipment replacement, currently switched off, or purchases of absolutely necessary and cheap machines, he explained. “The market of large and modern tractors has frozen and it is directly dependent on the implementation of new programs,” he stated.

The mechanization level of Greek agriculture in numbers

Recalling that in 2015 a decrease of 18% was recorded in the agricultural tractor market in Greece, the president of SEAM noted that in the 2015-2016 period, the decline recorded reached 40%. As he explained, the market for combine harvesters was also at very low levels, with only 13 sales in 2016, along with the market for baler machines with just 49 units. The President of SEAM told ANA-MPA that the level of mechanization of Greek agriculture lagged far behind compared with other European countries. In Greece it represents 0.5 tractors per farm, when in Italy this ratio is 2.0, 1.9 in Spain, while in Portugal and Slovenia 2,1 and 3,7, respectively.

In the 10 year period from 1990 to 1999 in Greece a total of 43.940 new tractors were sold and in the 10 years that followed (2000-2009) only 20,045 were sold. The introduction of new tractors in the market fell rapidly, with around an annual average of 4,400 tranctors in the 1990-1999 period, falling to an average of 2,000 in the 2000-2009 period. In 2014, the market “gave” 1,817 new tractors.