Cyprus Mail

EU funds sought for drought-hit farmers

By Constantinos Psillides

CYPRUS IS seeking EU compensation for farmers and producers who have been badly hit by the prolonged drought said Agriculture Minister Nikos Kouyialis on Monday.

He added that he would raise the issue at the coming extraordinary meeting of the EU Agriculture and Fisheries Council.

The council meeting was requested by Austria, according to Kouyialis, who said that the country faces similar problems.

“A number of countries have asked for compensation for destroyed crops due to the drought and Cyprus will be one of them. The EU has a crisis and disaster fund specifically designed to tackle unexpected problems like these. We just want our share,” said Kouyialis, adding that an experts meeting has been called for Wednesday to set the agenda for the council meeting.

“The experts will evaluate the damage caused to all agriculture sectors and suggest further measures. No decision has been reached yet and we will wait for the Wednesday meeting to be concluded before we press further,” explained the agriculture minister.

In April the met office declared the 2013-2014 season as one of the worst ever recorded, with a recorded 204mm rainfall, which equals 47 per cent of the expected rainfall.

News from the dams is also not encouraging as, according to the water development department figures, dam capacity is 37. 6 per cent, compared to 73. 5 per cent last year.

Kouyialis also told the press that he will be coordinating his efforts with his Greek counterpart George Karasmanis, who also has to deal with prolonged drought.

Kouyialis said that he spoke to Karasmanis on the phone and that he will be meeting with him in the following days.

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