About Cyprus


The broad agricultural sector, despite the reduction of its contribution to the Gross Domestic Product and total employment, continues to be a fundamental sector of the Cyprus economy, both with respect to the production of essential food items for the population and exports and with respect to the employment of thousands of rural residents and the containment of the depopulation of the villages.

During the period 1960-1974, the agricultural sector expanded rapidly, but in 1974, it was severely affected by the Turkish invasion and occupation of part of Cyprus. The Turkish forces occupied and displaced non-Turkish population from an area which accounted for 46% of crop production and much higher percentages of citrus (79%), cereals (68%), tobacco (100%), carrots (86%), and green fodders (65%), while 47% of livestock production also emanated from the area. Despite the concentration of population in the less productive part of the island, it was possible through concerted efforts and heavy investment in land improvement and irrigation to reactivate the agricultural sector and to approach the pre-1975 production levels. Nevertheless, the occupation of a great part of Cyprus is still causing problems in the agricultural sector, particularly with respect to the difficulties faced by displaced farmers, the shortages of fodders, the rational development of water resources, the spread of plant and animal diseases and many others.

Despite the blows incurred by the Turkish invasion the broad agricultural sector contributed in 1999 at current prices, some Cú197,0 mln. or about 4,5% to GDP and employed approximately 27.600 persons or 9,6% of the total economically active population. In the year 2000, agricultural exports (raw and processed) reached Cú62,6 mln constituting 27,9% of total domestic exports, compared to Cú61,8 mln or 30% of total domestic exports in 1999.

Cyprus%26rsquo; agriculture may be divided into two major sub sectors, namely, crop production and livestock production, which, in 1999, contributed 60,3% and 27% respectively to the value, added of the broad agricultural sector. The contribution of the other sub-sectors was as follows: Ancillary production (milk and grape products processed on-farm) about 30%, fishing 6%, forestry 0,8% and others 2,9%.

Development policy aims at restructuring and upgrading the agricultural sector a) in order to be able to successfully cope with the conditions prevailing in the European Union and international competition, b) for further development of the sector and c) for exploitation of the opportunities created by European Union orientation and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT).

The most important elements of development policy are improvement of productivity and competitiveness, further development of comparative advantages, improvement of quality and structural and institutional modernization.

Gradual harmonisation with Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) of the European Union has started and will be the basic objective as regards the Agricultural Sector during the coming years. As regards fisheries, the basic reference point is the Common Fisheries Policy.

More specifically, the main objectives are:
%26ndash; Increase of agricultural production and improvement of productivity of the broad agricultural sector, taking into consideration a balanced development of agricultural sub-sectors, with emphasis on competitive sub sectors and products.

Approaching agricultural holdings/areas/zones as integrated units and preparation and implementation of integrated development programmes based on common socio-economic, soil and climatic characteristics. Areas may be grouped into two main categories or zones, i.e. the “Plain%26rdquo; and “Mountainous%26rdquo; Agricultural Zones, each one with its own development targets, capabilities and prospects.
%26ndash; Improvement of farmers%26rsquo; standard of living.
%26ndash; Maintenance of a balance in the market (supply-demand) of agricultural products.
%26ndash; Sustainable agricultural development, taking into consideration preservation of environment and minimization of negative effects from agricultural activities on environment.
%26ndash; Harmonisation with the European Union, with basic reference points the Common Agricultural Policy and the Common Fisheries Policy.

The targets of the on-going development programme are satisfactory rates of growth of exports, gross agricultural output and value added of the broad agricultural sector while productivity is expected to increase at a relatively high rate that will reduce employment in the sector.

In order to attain the above objectives, the Government implements various programmes and projects. An essential component of many of these projects are the provision of agricultural credit, cash subsidies, interest on loan subsidies and other assistance for the purpose of encouraging the development of the agricultural sector while supplementing agricultural incomes.

According to results of the 1994 Census of Agriculture, the area of agricultural land on agricultural holdings is about 178 thousand hectares out of which about 118 thousand hectares is cultivated land (under crops or fallow), as compared to 179 and 126 thousand hectares respectively of the 1985 census.

Reduction is mainly attributed to the abandonment and destruction of certain crops, such as vines, olives, carobs and some species of deciduous fruit. Fallow land was considerably reduced by using that land for the cultivation of temporary crops, which showed an increase.

Cyprus%26rsquo; agriculture is characterised by two main features namely:
%26ndash; Irrigated agriculture, which includes, mainly citrus, potatoes, other vegetables and melons, deciduous fruit, table grapes and bananas.
%26ndash; Rain fed or dry land agriculture, which includes mainly cereals, fodders, olives, carobs, almonds and wine grapes.

Marketing of agricultural commodities is undertaken mainly through private merchants, cooperatives and the producers themselves though potatoes, wine grapes, milk, carrots, beetroot, olives and cereals go through state marketing organizations.

Crop Production
Thanks to the diversity of topography and climate, a wide range of microclimatic conditions exist permitting diversified crop production. In the central plain the main crops are wheat and barley grown under winter rainfall. Potatoes, vegetables, legumes and fodders are widely distributed all over the island, while citrus orchards are generally concentrated along coastal areas. In narrow valleys at higher elevations of the Troodos mountains deciduous fruits, nuts, vines and a wide range of vegetables are grown. Viticulture is very important in the hilly areas of Paphos and Limassol districts, and the grapes are mainly used for wine making, while table grapes are grown in the southwest areas near the coast. Bananas are cultivated in the Paphos district.

Systematic measures are undertaken by the Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment for the further development of Cyprus%26rsquo; agriculture. These measures have concentrated mainly on the improvement of productivity through the introduction of new and improved varieties of crops, improved cultural practices, expansion of irrigation and modern irrigation methods and means, mechanization of farming activities (cultivation, harvesting etc.), plant protection and soil conservation in mountain and hilly areas.

Livestock Production
Livestock production constitutes an important component of Cyprus%26rsquo; agriculture. Cattle, sheep and goats, swine and poultry constitute the main sub sectors of the livestock industry. Also ostrich farms for commercial purposes have been established during the last few years.

Fresh pork, poultry, meat and eggs satisfy fully local demand and no imports of these items are realized. However, local production of beef, veal, mutton and lamb are supplemented by imports.

The demand for pasteurised cows%26rsquo; milk for liquid consumption is fully satisfied while the demand for cheese and other traditional products made from cow%26rsquo;s milk as well as sheep and goat%26rsquo;s milk is met by 85% and supplemented by imports.

All the required quantities of evaporated milk, condensed milk, sweeted or not, whole milk powder S.M.P. milk for infants etc for local demand are imported.

The efforts of the Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment in this field are mainly concentrated on the improvement of animal productivity through improved breeding and management practices, upgrading veterinary services for animal disease control and cure, local production of feeding stuffs, better nutrition of animals and modernization of farms through mechanization and upgrading the managerial capability of farmers.

Interest of loans issued by banks and other lending institutions for capital investment for livestock development is subsidized through the Integrated Livestock Development Project in parallel with loans issued by the government. Meanwhile, measures are taken for harmonization with the European Acquis in the livestock sector.

Fisheries and Marine Research
Cyprus Fisheries produced 3679 tons of fish during 1999 at a value of over Cú13.7 million, compared to 3600 tons in 1998 at a value of Cú13,3 million. Fish production is mainly derived from the inshore and the trawl fishery territorial and international waters as well as from aquaculture. There is a small increase vis-a-vis the 1998 figures, which is due to, increased catches in international waters and aquaculture production.

The Department of Fisheries and Marine Research is responsible for the sustainable management of living marine resources, the development and research of aquaculture and the protection and research of the marine environment.

As far as Fisheries Resources are concerned, a number of management measures are being applied and relevant legislation is being enforced. In addition, technical and financial aid is granted to fishermen in order to develop fisheries.

By 1999, there were in operation four private marine fish hatcheries and one shrimp hatchery farm on land, as well as eight private offshore cage farms. In 1999, the production of market size fish reached 1356 tons valued at about Cú4.82 million, while 18.6 million marine fish fry were produced, out of which about 12.8 million valued at about Cú1,453.000 were exported. Forty-three tons of shrimps were also produced. Five trout farms were in operation in the Troodos area, which produced 66 tons of trout in 1999valued at Cú260,000, compared to 100 tons in 1998.

The construction, improvement and maintenance of fishing shelters are among the major activities of the Fisheries Department and Marine Research. In 1995 a new Law for the management of fishing shelters was enforced. There are twelve fishing shelters in operation - at Paralimni, Ayia Triada, Ayia Napa, Potamos, Xylophagou, Ormidhia, Dhekelia, Larnaca, Ayios Georgios, Latsi, Pomos and Pyrgos. Fishing vessels are also harboured in the ports of Paphos, Limassol and Larnaca.

The Department%26rsquo;s activities also focus on research and study of the marine environment in the sea around Cyprus and the Eastern Mediterranean covering inter alia the following:
- Research, monitoring and control of Marine Pollution, including the prevention and combating of oil pollution.
- Research in Physical Oceanography, understanding the hydrodynamic features of the Eastern Mediterranean Sea.
- Studies of fish population dynamic and stock assessment.
- Research in Marine Ecology with a particular interest in the distribution of benthic organisms (phytobenthos and macro fauna) in relation to their environment.
- The preparation and assessment of Environmental Impact Assessment studies on marine environment in relation to coastal development plans such as sewage, aquaculture, construction of breakwaters etc.,
- Conservation of endangered aquatic species and habitats and protection of endangered marine ecosystems.

In relation to the last item the Department continued its project to save the green and loggerhead turtles breeding on the island%26rsquo;s beaches. For this purpose the Lara-Toxeftra area has been declared a nature research.

Entry Date 8/8/2001