Cultivation of the land

From pre-historic times, to the age of mechanical cultivation, agricultural economy has very slowly gone through various stages. Under Ottoman rule, the manner of utilizing the land was the same across the whole Ottoman Empire. There were large estates (çiflikia), where slaves, provided by the landholder would work in barely basic conditions, under the supervision of an overseer (dragoumani). Other estates used the system of sharecropping (tenant farmers used to rent the land and give the land owner a portion of the profits.)

When Thrace was integrated into the free Greek State, Ottomans’ çiflikia were bought by rich Greeks. Greek farmers used to cultivate legume, maize, sugarcane, sesame, flax, sorgo, tobacco but mostly cereal in smaller pieces of land, to cover their eating habits.

Despite the fact that for centuries cultivation of wheat and barley were the main cultivated products, the produce could not cover farmers’ needs, so they would ensure they had the required quantity
through the exchange of other products.
The distribution of the land to non-owners began in 1933. Land consolidation, flood control, drainage, irrigation work started much later and rendered new, more fertile pieces of land for cultivation, with products like beetroot, cotton and maize.

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