Cyprus Mail

€323,000 worth of potatoes cross the line

The winter crop isn’t harvested until November and December

Almost 1,300 tonnes of potatoes worth €323,000 have been transported from the Turkish occupied areas to the Republic since January, according to figures from the Turkish Cypriot chamber of commerce.

The transport is part of the Green Line Regulation, introduced by the EU in 2004 as part of a pack-age to assist Turkish Cypriots, though the scheme runs both ways.

According to daily newspaper Kibris, there are still unresolved problems in the trade between the two communities.

Turkish Cypriot vehicles weighing over 7.5 tonnes are banned from crossing into the Republic.

There are also certain elements who object to the trade.

Last month, a Greek Cypriot businessman who made a deal with a Turkish Cypriot counterpart to bring over potatoes for export under the regulation said he was being harassed and has had threats made to burn down his packaging plant.

Christos Christofi said a group of around 200 protesters showed up at the premises of his company Sowrrano Fresh Ltd in Achna, in the Famagusta district, made up of farmers, other potato export-ers and seven MPs.

The businessman said it all started in July when he made the deal on the Turkish Cypriot side to export potatoes that came from the north out through the legal ports of the Republic.

The demonstrators claimed that what he was doing was illegal. Christofi also received threats on the phone.

Four of the seven MPs were from ruling DISY, one from the Solidarity Movement, and two from far-right party ELAM.

According to the latest Green Line report for 2015, the total value of goods moved across the line amounted to €3.93 million compared with €3.91 million in 2014, an increase of 0.58 per cent.

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