Farmers protested on Thursday in Nicosia and Paphos, following suit with many of their European counterparts that have taken to the streets to air their concerns over EU Green policies.

The protests started at 10am in both the capital and Paphos, where farmers will meet at the Konia roundabout.

In the capital, farmers gathered outside the European Union House on Vyronos avenue, where they also gave out fruit to passersby. They also turned in a note with their demands to the EU House.

Police were in the area to make traffic arrangements.

On Wednesday, police in Nicosia warned of traffic chaos when farmers from across the island staged a protest with their tractors and other agricultural machines. Drivers were urged to avoid unnecessary travel, stating that road closures would occur along the route the protesters took.

Speaking to CyBC in the morning, Agriculture Minister Maria Panayiotou said: “The government stands together with the farmers and not against them.”

She said that one of the government’s major goals is to increase by 1.8 per cent its contribution to the primary sector of GDP.

The minister said she has invited farmers organisations to a meeting for Friday morning, which the farmers accepted.

She promised that the government has the farmers’ back and would relay their concerns to the European Union.

According to Panayiotou, the government is constantly exchanging views with farmers’ organisations to work together in this effort and there are earmarked funds of €354 million to be allocated.

Already, she added, four million euros have been allocated to support the production of grains and potatoes, €47 million to extend subsidies and €50 million for investments.

She gave assurances that the government will continue to be in contact with the farmers’ organisations to solve their problems.

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The general secretary of the Farmer’s Association Tassos Yiapanis said they were calling for the substantial support of the primary sector at the protests as farmers were asking for financial support from the state to cope with the increased cost of production.

He added that the Cypriot farmer is facing a problem of sustainability and recalled that in the recent past, farmers had asked for seven million euros for financial support for all sectors, without being heard.

Yiapanis pointed out that the farmers’ organisations are demanding a meeting with President Nikos Christodoulides to discuss with him support issues.

At the same time, he pointed out that in Greece subsidies are not taxed and this – he stressed – should also apply in Cyprus.

Commenting later on this call for tax-exempt subsidies, the agriculture minister said only that the government “hears the demands” of farmers groups. She pointed out that in Cyprus new entrants in the farming business get a one-time payout of up to €50,000 which, she said, “is very substantial”.

Weighing in, the Green Party said the real problems of European farmers do not arise from the Green Transition and the need to ensure sustainability, the production of healthy agricultural products and the sustainable prosperity of the primary sector through the application of good ecological practices.

“Farmers’ real problems arise from the abolition/restriction of subsidies, the serving of the interests of the large chemical fertiliser and pharmaceutical industries, unfair competition from imported products from third countries and inequality in the distribution of resources at national and European level,” the party said.

It should be noted, for example, that according to European statistics, 80 per cent of European subsidies are absorbed by 20 per cent of large agricultural enterprises.

They called on everyone to sign a petition to protect farmers and their subsidies.

The petition can be found here:

Farmers in Paphos closed the Konia roundabout and called for the government and the EU to support the primary sector.

Last week, farmers from Paphos staged a protest on the road between Amargeti and Statos in solidarity with demonstrating European farmers.

Farmers from across the continent have descended on Brussels in recent days, incensed by new environmental regulations and trade agreements allowing for cheap imports of produce to undercut European farms, particularly the agreement with South American common market Mercosur.

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