Cherry production in Cyprus is valued at €1.6 million and is spread across 2.3 square kilometres, Agriculture Minister Petros Xenophontos said this weekend.
He was speaking at the opening of the fifth Cherry Festival in Pedoulas on Saturday evening.
Cherries are an important crop in Cyprus, especially for mountain and semi mountain communities, he said, and under the right circumstances can result in a good source of income for the producer and in this way keeping people in villages.
He added that although the agricultural sector contributes, in numbers, a small part of the Gross National Product, it nevertheless exerts a significant influence on other sectors of the economy, thus multiplying its value as it helps maintain the social fabric in rural areas.
Also, he said, agriculture protects the natural environment and helps fight climate change.
The sector in Cyprus, he said, faces a lot of challenges but through his ministry the government is determined to improve the competitiveness of Cyprus products.
To this end, the Strategic Agricultural Plan 2023-27 is expected to be important as it sees the disbursement of €454 million.
The plan includes measures that promote the sustainability and competitiveness of farmers, while at the same time aiming at mitigating environmental problems and addressing climate change.
“We are determined to breathe new life into the agriculture sector, charting a new path that meets the needs and addresses the real problems of the farming world,” Xenophontos said.
He said the government’s aim is to keep rural areas viable.