By Angelos Anastasiou
Cypriot beekeepers absorbed 98 per cent of the approved funding in the 2014-16 national apiculture programme, and the new one – from 2017 through 2019 – will feature similar actions, incentives, and expenditure of approximately €600,000, Agriculture Minister Nicos Kouyialis said on Saturday.
In a speech at the general assembly of Pancyprian Association of Beekeepers, the minister noted the government’s priority on all development programmes – national, European, or co-financed – and specifically referred to efforts to make the best possible use of the European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), so that this “traditional profession can be strengthened”.
“I must also refer to a series of separate actions relating to measures in the new Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which includes total expenditure of €243 million,” Kouyialis said.
“Through these actions, the agriculture industry is encouraged, and incentives are offered for improvement plans, new farmers, the creation of producer groups, promoting quality products, etc.”
Further, Kouyialis said, the agri-environmental measure relating to the balanced coexistence of bees with bee-eating birds was approved as part of the 2014-2020 Rural Development Programme. The measure will last five years, and available funding is €2 million.
The agriculture minister noted the timeless value of honey as a basic ingredient of human nutrition.
“Since ancient times, honey was, and continues to be, an integral part of diet globally, with high nutritional value, and established anti-oxidising action,” he said.
“It is precisely due to these properties of honey, as well as its by-products, such as beeswax, pollen, royal jelly, propolis, and even bees’ venom, and the tendency of modern pharmacology and healthy eating to turn to natural solutions, apiculture is fast becoming of higher international, commercial, and economic value.”
Promoting current apiculture issues, exchanging views on the prospects of Cypriot honey, maintaining its unique quality, and bringing it to consumers, were the main items on the agenda at the beekeepers’ general assembly.