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Back to the village. A SWOT analysis point of view

Back to the village

The return to the village was something that was of great concern to many Greeks in the early years of the economic crisis that started in 2008.

The dead ends that appeared in the cities, the lay offs, the unemployment, the lack of work and prospects, led to the search for alternatives.

Thus many Greeks remembered their villages and explored the possibility of returning back to them and engaging in agriculture, farming and livestock farming.

This article was written in 2012, at that time.

I write the following lines thinking out loud. I have no answers. I am seeking for answers.

In recent months, and even more so in the last few weeks, there has been a bombardment of news from the mass media about our fellow human beings returning to their villages so that they can start a new life.

Returning to the “village” and engaging professionally with the cultivation of the land, but also with livestock farming, seems to be a panacea to the problems we face in the big cities, and especially in Athens where 50% of the Greece’s population lives.

The “return to the village” is presented as idyllic. The reports are superficial, short, easy and without any substantial information. Without any mention of the risks. Only the positives.

Returning to the village for the sake of a better life, through new business activity, is a business move and should be considered as such.

SWOT Analysis

When analyzing a business plan, a method is used for evaluating the pros and cons, called SWOT analysis.

SWOT is the initials of the words:

  • Strengths
  • Weaknesses
  • Opportunities
  • Threats

Beyond the term of SWOT, it is nothing more or less than what any prudent family man does when he has to make an important decision.

He makes a list of pros and cons, risks and potential opportunities. Depending on the outcome, he makes prudent decisions.

None of this is said in the news channels and newspapers that influence tens of thousands of people. Tens of thousands of people who, in their desperation, can be led into a more desperate situation from which they started. The only losers will be them. The others have sold their “news” and their TV time and are moving on to other things, whistling indifferently.

Back to the village from a SWOT analysis point of view

Below I will provide some thoughts. Not all of them are necessarily correct. You can refute them.

STRENGHTS of returning to the village

  • I will live in an upgraded environment, much better than the city
  • I will not go hungry. Even if everything goes wrong, I will have neighbors and my own produce
  • It is a much better environment for us and our children
  • I will have the opportunity to develop a new professional activity
  • I will be able to sell my products and make a living from this activity
  • If everything goes well, I will have my own business
  • Have relatives, land, or friends who want to help me

WEAKNESSES of returning to the village

  • I have never farmed before. I don’t know what and how to do it
  • I don’t know what is required (paperwork and subsequent costs) to do what I am thinking about. What Greek legislation provides for an idea to become a real business
  • I will face locals who will see me as a competitor and not as a fellow traveler
  • I have no land. I will have to rent it or buy it. Extra costs. Can I have land?
  • I need funds to buy/rent land, buy equipment, seeds, consumables, consultant services, certification, packaging. Do I have them?

OPPORTUNITIES of returning to the village

  • I will be able to earn money by adding my services to what I already do in town
  • Things may go better than I think and I may earn a lot more money
  • I will take the first important step. I may get better ideas there and eventually do something different but profitable
  • If I’m one of the first to take the step, I’ll be among those who have an advantage
  • I’ll meet new people. If they have the same ideas as me, it’s easier to partner up and win together

THREATS of returning to the village

  • Things are not as I imagined. I need to make sure I can get back somewhere before I lose everything
  • To be treated as an outsider by the locals and not be accepted
  • The problems I will face (social, financial, bureaucratic) to be much bigger than I anticipated
  • Running out of money before I can have an income from the crops
  • The prices of the products I produce will not be such that I will be able to survive
  • Facing competition from non-EU imports, which have low production costs and therefore low prices
  • Not liking life in the village and having to return

Please take the above as a food for thought only, before you get excited about the idea of returning to the village and farming as a solution to your professional dead-end.

Forum discussion: If we return to the villages, how will we live?

See also the discussion (in Greek) in forum on the topic: “If we return to the villages, how will we live?“.

See also

SWOT analysis (from Wikipedia)


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