The inauguration and gradual development of rail communications quickly brought about the expansion of agriculture, especially wheat. However, the high rail fares, the antiquated road network, the increased salaries resulting from a shortage of labor, the primitive means of production and traditional cultivation methods (e.g. the practice of letting fields lie fallow), in tandem with the low prices of similar products from the Americas, made it difficult to dispose of stock in the international markets.
The port of Kavala
Gennadeios Library, 1850-1913
In the 1890s, circumstances forced a shift towards the cultivation of tobacco, cotton and opium, which became easier to channel to either local or international industry (e.g. American companies increased their demand for Macedonian tobacco at the turn of the century).
Nevertheless, the most serious problem facing agriculture was the malfunctioning taxation system, which curtailed development potential and relegated Macedonia to being a merely occasional supplier of the international market.
At the same time, silk production, which had witnessed its golden age after 1850, reached impressive dimensions in the last quarter of the 19th century, supplying both local silk factories and exporting vast quantities of silk worms.