Farmers on Tuesday warned that they are on the verge of being “wiped out” due to untenable production costs, appealing to the state for immediate assistance.

The matter came up at the House agricultural committee, where chair Yiannakis Gavriel (Akel) accused the government of turning a deaf ear to the plight of the primary sector, primarily farmers.

Whereas the government seems to understand that a problem exists, said Gavriel, it has given a mere €17 million in direct support to livestock farmers – “a drop in the ocean.”

Meanwhile the government’s windfall revenues from VAT as a result of increased production costs in the sector, came to more than €30 million.

“We want the government to listen to the people of agriculture, to draw up schemes for immediate support, otherwise the primary sector will cease to exist,” the MP remarked.

The Commissioner for State Aid Control has already indicated that ways exist to help farmers, and the EU has made available various instruments, “but the government does not hear, does not listen, does not want.”

Until such time as authorities come up with another assistance package, Gavriel said, they could be taking other steps – such as tweaking VAT returns and also expanding discounted VAT on agricultural diesel to cover all agricultural activities, rather than some as is currently the case.

For his part, Disy MP Kyriacos Hadjiyiannis argued that providing support to the primary sector will “rein in inflation” because otherwise if farmers’ production costs are transferred onto consumers that would adversely impact price increases across the board.

“Every support the state provides to the primary sector means supporting the consumer ultimately,” he noted.

And any such assistance should not come with strings attached, as that would create two tiers of farmers – those eligible and those not.