The Region of Western Greece is one of the 13 Regions of Greece and covers the northwestern part of the Peloponnese and the west of Central Greece. It occupies an area of 1,336 square kilometers and its population is, according to the census of 2011, at 679,796 inhabitants. Its seat is Patras. The Region is divided into three Regional Units, Aitoloakarnania – Achaia – Ilia, to which its 19 Municipalities belong:
|Western Achaia||Kato Achaia|
|Ilia||Andravida – Killini||Lechaina|
|Andritsaina – Krestenon||Krestena|
|Ancient Olympia||Ancient Olympia|
Businesses whose activity is related to the production, processing and trade of agricultural products and foodstuffs have significant presence in the PPA, in relation to what is happening in the rest of the country. The Primary Sector of the Western Greece has to display significant products in the export-oriented crop production and animal production sectors.
Plant and animal production
The primary sector of the Western Greece Region has to show significant products in the sectors of plant production and animal production. In the area of plant production, in the Region of Western Greece dominate the tree plantations (olives, citrus trees), the vine cultivation (mainly in the Achaia region), while the cultivation of horticultural, outdoor and under cover (mainly in Ilia region). In particular, table olives and olive oil are one of the most important products of the Region of Western Greece, while in the Region a significant number of olive oil and olive presses are considered to exceed the area’s production needs. Citrus trees are among the most important crops of the Region and are of interest to the three Regional Units of the Region of Western Greece, with the most important being the cultivation of oranges and lemons, mainly in Aitoloakarnania and Ilia, with regard to oranges, while for lemons the most important production is that of Achaia. The cultivated areas with vines in the Region of Western Greece are almost exclusively wine-making, while they represent 13.4% of the area cultivated at the country level. The main vegetables grown in the Region of Western Greece are watermelon, melon, strawberry, cabbage, asparagus, lettuce, aubergines, autumn, summer and spring potatoes, peppers, cauliflower, carrots etc. a significant concentration of production in the Regional Unity of Ilia, followed by Achaia and Aitoloakarnania.
On the other hand, livestock production in the Region of Western Greece includes mainly meat and dairy-dairy products. The total value of livestock production amounts to € 312.32 million and comes mainly from sheep, goat, pigs and milk (mainly sheep). Sheep and goat farming is one of the dynamic branches in Western Greece, as well as pig farming and plowing. For the Region, this area is of particular importance, as it exploits mountainous – less – favored areas which it would be impossible to exploit otherwise. In particular, the great economic importance of sheep and goat farming lies in the production of large quantities of various products, mainly milk, meat, wool and leather, as well as the support of abundant and cheap natural resources (mainly pastures) of small potential for alternative exploitation. The largest quantity (75%) of goat and sheep’s milk is used for the production of cheese products (feta, graviera) in industries, crafts and family businesses (cottages). The rest is used in a number of other traditional products (eg yoghurt), or it is self-manufac- tured by the producers. Many of the products produced are Products of Protected Origin (PPO), mainly Feta and Kefalograviera, which have a remarkable position on the domestic and international markets. The topography of the area and the excellent biodiversity that accompanies it are the significant comparative advantages that give the livestock products their excellent quality. It is noteworthy that the Regional Unity of Aitoloakarnania currently has about 10% of the total livestock of the country in sheep and goats and 8% in cattle. A significant part of the livestock is reared organically. At this point it is noted that the area of Aitoloakarnania occupies the first place in the domestic organic livestock farming sector, where 700 breeders are employed and 130,000 sheep and goats have been certified and 2,100 cattle.
Fisheries and aquaculture
In the Region of Western Greece, namely in the region of Aitoloakarnania, Aquaculture is now established as the most dynamic branch of the primary production of the region, and is ranked among the top positions in the value of exports of agricultural products. The region owns 48% of the country’s lagoon and 25% of the lakes, while the aquaculture production activity – including that of the Echinas – covers 25% of the landings of domestic production, ie over 12, 5% of the European production of sea bream and sea bass aquaculture. The total number of companies in the Region is 128, the turnover of which amounts to € 30.6 million. It is noteworthy that the high level of know-how acquired, the intensive research, experimentation and development in the Hydrogen stations have led to an increase in the efficiency of the sector and a reduction in production costs and also the cost of capital per unit of production.
The course of the region’s enterprises operating in this sector is very positive. In addition to traditional, new dynamic businesses are emerging, taking advantage of the region’s key comparative advantages (tradition, specialization, excellent raw material, designation of origin, access to excellent raw material in neighboring areas) have already been established in the market. Altogether 83 companies are active in the Region, the turnover of which amounts to €53 million (ELSTAT, 2008). It is noted that despite the crisis facing international and domestic industry, the prospects are quite positive due to its export character.
Source: Western Greece Region. (2015). Regional Smart Specialisation Strategy for Western Greece.