Agriculture Minister Costas Kadis on Wednesday said €443 million euros in grants and subsidies had been allocated to the agricultural sector between 2018 to 2022, marking significant progress.

Presenting his assessment of recent years, Kadis said that, thanks to the Rural Development Programme (RPD), over €180 million were allocated to agriculture, as well as another €240 million in the form of subsidies and schemes, and €23 million aiming at improving the national production of wine.

Kadis also hailed the registration of halloumi as a protected designation of origin (PDO) as one of the most significant results obtained by the agriculture ministry in the past decade.

“The PDO registration of halloumi is already bearing fruits, both locally and internationally,” Kadis said. “The next step is the inclusion of the Cyprus red potato in the EU list of products of geographical indication.”

The use of a geographical indication, as an indication of the product’s source, is intended as a certification that the product possesses certain qualities, is made according to traditional methods, or enjoys a good reputation due to its geographical origin.

The minister added that the finalised version of the Akamas local development plan, which will be presented before the end of the current government’s term, represents a very important development for the country.

“A framework will be announced with guidelines for the provision of compensatory measures where it is deemed appropriate,” he said.

“Also, a major effort has also been made to upgrade the Natura 2000 network in Cyprus, with the inclusion of eight new sites and the extension of four existing sites.”

Moreover, Kadis also added that, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine, the government stood by farmers and since 2020 allocated to their sector a total of €50 million in financial aid grants.

“The entire sector saw a great number of important reforms and measures implemented to modernise the institutional framework governing the agricultural activity,” he said.

“Some of the most important were the adoption of a law on unfair commercial practices in the agricultural supply chain, which has already been implemented, the law submitted to parliament on the regulation of the operation of farmers’ markets, which aims to reduce the price gap between producers and consumers, and the introduction of the Cypriot label on some local products.”

Kadis said that the marine and fisheries department had also been consistently strengthened since 2014 thanks to the allocation of €33 million to the sector, which he said are going to be increased to €53 million in the coming years.

“To support aquaculture, which has seen significant growth in recent years, the agriculture ministry has also sponsored the construction of a new, modern port infrastructure in Pentakomo at a cost of €35 million. At the same time, a number of fishing shelters have been upgraded to provide safe moorings for professional fishermen.”

Finally, as a response to climate change, Kadis said the agriculture ministry has strengthened all efforts aimed at protecting forests from wildfires through comprehensive action plans.

“Those included the acquisition of firefighting planes and fire trucks, the implementation of vegetation management plans and creation of new infrastructure, such as a new hangar for firefighting planes in the Mammari-Kokkinotrimithia area.”