Greece spends more than 4.5 billion euros annually on imports of food and beverages. Pistachios from Georgia, lentils from Canada, lemons from Argentina, orange juice from Brazil,
potatoes and garlic from Egypt, dill from Belgium and fish from Thailand are just some of the products that end up on the shelves of Greek grocery stores and then on our table.
Although Greece may be one of the largest suppliers of food products in the world market due to climatic conditions, it nevertheless spends more than 4.5 billion euros annually on imports of food and drinks from all over the world, since, apparently, it is not able to provide the population with them. the required volume.
It is significant that seven out of ten kilograms of beef entering the pots of Greek housewives and 2/3 of pork are imported, with the main suppliers being the EU-27 countries.
In 2020, 380,289.2 tons of meat of all types (fresh, frozen, processed) were imported to Greece, worth more than 1 billion euros. A similar picture is observed in the dairy market, the production of which is in short supply. Imports account for more than 50% of consumption (for milk and cheese), as well as in the market for legumes, where 70% is imported from Asian countries.
Equally revealing is the IOBE data, according to which eight out of ten processed foods and beverages imported into Greece come from the European Union, and 15% are from non-EU countries.
Argentina is ranked 10th among the champion countries for imports to Greece, with Germany ranking first with 15% of the total and the Netherlands second with 14%. They are followed by Italy (10%), France (9%), Bulgaria (6%), Denmark (4%), Belgium (4%), Poland (4%) and Argentina (3%).
Increased costs and “Hellenization” of imported products
The catalyst for the situation is a shrinking livestock sector and rising costs, which have forced processors and traders to use imports to meet demand. Imports from third countries were more economically viable (!) Before the pandemic, although imported goods had to travel long distances to reach the Greek market.
In fact, for some types of products, such as fruits and vegetables (potatoes), meat (lambs) and dairy products (milk), the difference in prices between those produced in Greece and imported goods pushed producers to violate the law: some products imported from abroad , suddenly, in some inexplicable way, turned into “naturally Greek”.
However, it should be noted that there has been a recent return of interest in the agri-food sector in Greece due to the provision of significant support and investment, for example in the livestock sector.
Alas, Greek production still cannot meet the general demand of the country’s population for food.