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Grape production plummets by 93 per cent

Cypriot grape production has collapsed by 93 per cent over the last 30 years, as the island has shifted from being a grape exporter to an importer.

MPs were presented with the startling statistics during Tuesday’s House agriculture committee, as those in the industry press for state aid.

The Republic produced 250 million kilos of grapes in 1991 but by 2021 it fell to just 15 million kilos, as the committee heard that misjudged decision-making and policies were to blame.

Diko MP Chrysanthos Savvides said that the now small quantities of domestic production have forced the local market to import eight million litres of grape produce, allegedly of questionable quality, while the current checks on the goods are insufficient.

He also said that local producers are facing price shocks on multiple fronts: “The cost of production has not even been considered, fuel costs have surged, so have fertilisers.”

Savvides argued that the state should intervene and do more to support the sector, a move which would assist whichever young people remain in the industry and prevent them from also abandoning it.

But Edek MP Elias Myrianthous told the committee that restrictions on consecutive aid to those in the sector is limited by EU regulations, although €1.2 million in subsidies is due for 2022.

He echoed the statements of “terrible problems” facing the sector, adding that the cost of some fertilisers are up by 35 per cent as are fuel prices.

It is hoped, Myrianthous said, that discussions currently underway in the EU will prove fruitful and unlock €35,000 in subsidies per producer but warned that nothing is certain yet.

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