The coming decades will see a greater impact from climate change in Cyprus, Agriculture Minister Costas Kadis said on Monday, stressing the need for changes to the way water is used in agriculture.
Addressing an event organised by the Panagrotikos farmers association at UCLan university in Pyla on modern methods of saving water, conservation, and enhancement of ecosystems dependent in agriculture and forestry, the minister said the government attaches great importance to the effort made to achieve the objectives set out in the EU Green Deal.
“The world population is expected to grow by 65 per cent by 2050 and the additional needs that will arise will put further pressure on water resources,” Kadis said.
“Irrigated agriculture consumes about 70 per cent of the available water, the Mediterranean basin is considered one of the most vulnerable areas to climate change, while Cyprus is expected to be much more affected in the coming decades.”
Kadis said that the reduction of cultivated areas and soil degradation requires the adaptation of agriculture to a new regime, which should produce more products with less water, in a limited area of fertile agricultural land.
“The weather conditions and the microclimate of an area are the key factors in the growth and development of crops, which must be taken seriously into account for the viability of an agricultural holding.”
The minister pointed out that economic and environmental issues as well as food safety and adequacy issues require a new way of agricultural management.
The minister said that the EU Recovery and Resilience Facility gives member states the opportunity to invest in projects and policies that will enhance sustainability and contribute to the achievement of the objectives of the Green Deal.
His ministry, he added, has included tackling challenges on issues concerning water conservation and the protection of ecosystems in the national resilience and recovery plan.
Among other things, the government is planning on reforming the water resources management system and installing a system of monitoring the irrigation network, upgrading water treatment plants, monitoring and working on gradual reduction of carbon dioxide emissions in the agricultural sector, upgrading and strengthening of the forest fire protection system and the creation of a regional livestock waste management unit.
Additional actions already implemented, Kadis said, are projects to promote the use of recycled water, the regional action plan to tackle climate change, the new water management and drought management strategy, the new waste management strategy, as well as projects to protect and enhance the Natura 2000 network areas.
Kadis also said that both the new announcements of measures of the rural development programme for the period 2021-22 and the ministry’s strategic planning for the period 2023-2027 “promote on a large-scale modern methods of water conservation and restoration and conservation and strengthening of ecosystems that depend on agriculture and forestry.”
The minister said that the implementation of modern water-saving methods and the adoption of targeted actions for the conservation, restoration and strengthening of ecosystems dependent on agriculture and forestry are important tools to address the challenges facing the agricultural sector, which are not independent of the wider environmental issues the world is called upon to address.