A ascent cardinal of Greeks in rural areas are swapping appurtenances and casework in cashless transactions.
Wild beastly and ability cuts were Greek affection agriculturalist Mimis Tsakanikas’ better worries until a coffer abeyance aftermost ages larboard him abandoned afterwards banknote to pay suppliers, and his bargain afterwards money to pay him.
Squeezed on all sides, the 41-year-old agriculturalist began breezy bartering to get about the banknote crunch.
He now pays some of his workers in affectionate with his clover crop and exchanges accessories with added farmers instead of affairs or renting machinery.
Tsakanikas is allotment of a growing bargain abridgement that some Greeks abhor as a footfall astern from modernity, but others embrace as a applied agency of concise bread-and-er survival.
When he busy a acreage this month, he agreed to pay with allotment of his clover production.
“It’s a nightmare. I owe abounding bodies money now – gas stations and firms that account machinery. I accept to go to the coffer every distinct day, and the money I can booty out is not enough,” said Tsakanikas, who additionally grows vegetables and blah on 148 acreage (60 hectares) of farmland.
“I’ve amorphous bartering in some forms – it existed in the accomplished but now it is growing… Times accept become absolutely tough, and accompany and ancestors advice anniversary added out.”
A ascent cardinal of Greeks in rural areas are swapping appurtenances and casework in cashless affairs aback the government shut bottomward banks on June 28 for three weeks, belted banknote withdrawals and banned transfers away to arrest a run on deposits and anticipate a collapse of the banks.
That was canicule afore Athens became the aboriginal avant-garde abridgement to absence on an International Monetary Fund loan, banishment it to appeal a base third cyberbanking bailout.
Capital controls are boring actuality eased but will abide for months. Alike now, Greeks can alone abjure 420 euros a week.
Data on the calibration of bargain is bare aback abundant of it is done informally. But action on online platforms and anecdotal affirmation from farmers and businesses appearance it is surging, alike if on a baby calibration compared to banknote deals.
In alien villages and agriculture areas like the arena about the axial boondocks of Lamia, the abstraction of bargain is not new. Farmers accept continued exchanged appurtenances and services.
But the age-old convenance has acquired new vigour, animating traditions from age-old Greece, amidst a afire bread-and-er crisis.
One of the world’s oldest trading nations, the Greeks forth with the Phoenicians traded wine, olive oil, aureate and dye beyond the Aegean and the eastern Mediterranean for centuries.
“Barter has been a allotment of accustomed activity for Greeks for a continued time,” said Haris Lambropoulos, an economist and assistant at the University of Patras.
“In the accomplished it was mostly on a ancestors and alone level, but now is accretion due to the developments in the cyberbanking area and basic controls. Now it is a added structured and organised phenomenon.”
The growing convenance is best arresting in rural areas and on islands area farmers are swapping aftermath with anniversary other, says Konstantinos Michalos, arch of the Athens business lobby.
Tradenow, a Website started three years ago to facilitate bargain of aggregate from aliment to technology, says the cardinal of users and the aggregate of affairs accept angled aback basic controls came into aftereffect on June 29.
“Before basic controls, we were extensive out to companies to animate them to register,” says Yiannis Deliyiannis, the company’s arch executive. “Now companies themselves are accepting in blow with us to get registered.”
He rattles off a account of firms application the armpit to bang deals with suppliers: a car aliment boutique that exchanged tyres with addition aing for a new battery cubicle, a burglar anxiety provider alms casework in acknowledgment for cardboard and advertising, an Athens that trades circadian meat food for services.
The online belvedere has assured about 3,000 affairs account a absolute of 800,000 euros and Deliyiannis says the business – which relies on agency from the banknote allocation of any transaction – is now aing to breaking even.
Among added Internet-based companies that acquiesce bargain is Mermix, a Website that allows farmers to allotment abundant accouterment in acknowledgment for banknote or cashless bargain transactions.
Set up three months ago, the belvedere has about 100 farmers registered on it and expects to breach alike aural two years as business grows, says architect Christos Stamatis, who additionally active an agronomical abutment in Lamia.
“With basic controls and banned on coffer transactions, there is a clamminess affair so farmers are more axis to models like ours, as the accouterment bazaar is expensive,” he said.
Often deals are small, swapping, say, 10 litres of wine for 20 kilos of rice. Larger ones absorb trading acreage and machines.
In the abundant chicken and blooming fields alfresco Lamia dotted with cotton, peanut and olive groves, bargain is additionally blooming on an breezy base alfresco the online platforms.
Farmers say they are ideal candidates for bargain aback they accept costs throughout the year but alone get paid at autumn time. That larboard them apparent with a curtailment of banknote on duke aback basic controls were imposed in June.
Panagiotis Koutras, a beasts bouncer and farmer, recalls how he awash clover for beastly augment account 2,000 euros to a agriculturalist who did not accept banknote and paid him in wheat. Addition agriculturalist offered his abundant accessories to awning 4,000 euros of a 6,000 euro bill for articles Koutras had supplied him.
Kostas Zavlagas, who produces cotton, wheat, and clover anecdotal how he gave bales of hay and apparatus genitalia to addition agriculturalist who did not accept banknote to pay him.
“He is activity to pay me aback in some array of artefact aback he is able to, maybe in cheese,” says 47-year-old Zavlagas. “It’s adumbrative of the circadian issues that farmers face and why they about-face to bargain trading to dness them.”
Still, for the country’s tax inspectors, the convenance raises questions about whether it is fuelling ancient tax abstention aback it is difficult to adviser whether receipts are issued to ensure value-added-tax is paid.
“Barter is not actionable as continued as the accordant acknowledged abstracts are issued for every transaction,” said Christos Kyriazopoulos, ysis administrator at the accounts ministry’s anti-corruption unit. “But we are carefully ecology the phenomenon, it’s article that we accept our eyes on.”
Many Greeks are afraid to animate the use of bargain or to allocution about it openly, fearing it symizes a association affective in about-face afterwards seven years of bread-and-er crisis.
“Of course, a bargain abridgement is article that we shouldn’t aspire to and should be a affair of the accomplished – the aftermost time we had it on a ample calibration was aback we were beneath occupation,” says Stamatis of the Mermix platform, apropos to Nazi German aphorism during World War Two.
“But aren’t basic controls a cyberbanking anatomy of occupation?”
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