Disy MPs were irked on Thursday that the interior minister was reluctant to allow farmers to instal photovoltaics without first acquiring a building permit.

The discussion stemmed from a bill submitted by Disy MPs Kyriakos Hadjiyiannis and Nikos Sykas.

It said famers seeking to install photovoltaics on agricultural plots to power water pumps for their own use should be excluded from having to obtain a building permit.

They argued scrapping the building permit requirement could create a fair and equal competition between farmers across different parts of Cyprus.

For instance, some farmers live in areas without government irrigation projects and as such, are disadvantaged, they said.

“It is necessary to address the energy costs in the irrigation sector. This will be beneficial for not only for farmers but also for consumers, as it will limit price increases for agricultural products,” Hadjiyiannis underlined.

He criticised the interior ministry for wanting to issue the relevant permits, so as to avoid installation without any monitoring.

“We’re talking about a small number of photovoltaics which cannot have any commercial nature,” the MP stressed.

The aim is to cut down on bureaucracy but the interior ministry’s stance only ‘enhances’ it, he argued.

Hadjiyiannis also said that under the existing legislation, bureaucracy has almost completely hindered the installation of photovoltaic systems for irrigation purposes, stating that the conditions need to be created to reduce bureaucracy and allow farmers to install photovoltaic systems for irrigation and self-production purposes.

Responding to a clarifying question, he said that the farmer should be able to connect to the grid as well.