The agriculture minister on Sunday reconfirmed the government’s “determination to support rural communities so they remain lively financial, cultural and social centres” bringing together the benefits of farming, tourism and protection of the environment.
In a speech at the Almond Blossom festival, minister Costas Kadis said “the almond tree is a species perfectly adapted to the environment and climate of our country”.
The trees are grown to such an extent that 300 tonnes of almonds are produced each year, with a value of over €300,000.
He said the government is committed to increasing rural income largely through the cultivation of quality and traditional farming produce.
He said that this is underlined by three different bills that “concern the promotion of the uniqueness of Cypriot products, the overhaul of Farmer’s Markets and the confrontation of unfair commercial practices”.
The government will use all the financial means at its disposal he said, adding that in the 2014-2020 period a total of €500 million will have been given to rural communities.
The Rural Development Programme aims to keep money in the countryside through subsidies for organic farming and agri-environmental actions aimed at enhancing traditional landscape crops, such as the almond tree. The budget for these schemes comes to about €9 million annually.