Prefecture of East Macedonia and Thrace: Economy
The Region of East Macedonia and Thrace has lower per capita income compared to the national average (ranking last but one) and the E.U. countries, despite the economic growth of the last twenty years.
The primary sector, especially agriculture, plays a key role in GDP. An important advantage to the economic growth of the region is added by the forests, especially the forests in the Drama prefecture. The arable plains (40% of them are irrigated) are cultivated intensively, producing cotton, corn, tobacco, grains and tomato. In the Nestos Delta the agriculture of asparagus and rice is widespread. Animal husbandry, although not systematic, is based on pastoral goat and sheep breeding and on dispersed farms for raising cattle and pigs.
The secondary sector of economy is dominated by the building sector and processing industries due to motives given for investments, subsidies for the purchase of residences, exploitation of energy substructure (hydroelectric dams, geothermic fields, deposits of mineral fuels) and of mineral deposits (inner materials, marble). The processing business, focusing mainly on textile and tobacco industries, are on decline due to problems in the infrastructure and the policy of the globe market. The extraction and processing of marble, the food and beverages industry and the timber industry are still active and follow the development of the national average.
The tertiary sector is important and equals to 10% of the total economical activity with exports overbalancing imports. The presence of institutions of education, such as the Democritus University of Thrace, the Technical Education Institution of Kavala with departments in Drama and Didymoteicho, the Police Academies, all boost the economic development of the region. The ports of Kavala, Porto Lagos and Alexandroupolis, as well as the airports "Alexander the Great" in Kavala and "Democritus" in Alexandroupolis, not only serve the traveling passengers, but also the transport of the local produce. Tourism is constantly developing, especially on the islands of Thassos and Samothrace, ecotourism on Mt Rhodope and north Evros, as well as in the areas close to Nestos and Evros rivers.