Young farmers have shown a huge interest in state subsidies with applications reaching €10 million, double the amount of the available budget, the Cyprus agriculture payments organisation (Capo) said on Monday.

In total, 291 young farmers had applied to participate in the programme funded by the state and the European Union. This resulted in requests of about €10 million when the available budget is €5 million, Capo commissioner Andreas Kyprianou said.

“Efforts are being made and I am optimistic that in the end those who meet the criteria and are approved will be granted the subsidy for young farmers,” he said.

Kyprianou noted how the sector is going through “an extremely difficult period”. It is experiencing unprecedented difficulties this year due the Russian invasion of Ukraine after which the prices of animal feed, pesticides, fertilizers and energy have skyrocketed, increasing total production costs.

Despite the problems, the future of agriculture and traditional products is bright, Kyprianou said, explaining that continuity in the sector will be achieved by attracting the interest of young people.

Meanwhile, producing traditional rural products in homes can increase family incomes, he added, also helping to curb urbanisation and upgrade traditional products.

A relevant bill is already being discussed in parliament to pass legislation that will support this effort.

Subsidies paid to farmers in 2022 amounted to €87.5 million, of which €67.9 million was from EU funds, while a total of €2.07 billion has been paid to Cypriot farmers since the establishment of organisation in 2004, of which €1.22 billion came from EU funds.

Kyprianou added that in the period of 2023 – 2027 the organisation will disburse a total amount of approximately €457 million to Cypriot farmers, excluding additional national subsidies.