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Boosting agriculture a ‘top priority’

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Every effort is being made to upgrade the competitiveness of the agricultural sector, Agriculture Minister Maria Panayiotou said on Sunday.

Speaking at the 1st Mandarin Festival in Arakapas, she said the Common Agricultural Policy Strategic Plan 2023 – 2027 provides for a total funding of €454 million to support agricultural activity and the sustainable development of the island’s countryside.

“The channel of communication we have opened with farmers’ organisations, especially under the current circumstances, confirms our willingness to work together with you on the issues that concern you,” she said.

Our common goal is a modern, efficient agricultural sector, which ensures a fair income for the people who serve it. Our goal is to support rural communities to remain vibrant hotbeds of economic, social and cultural development, combining agriculture, tourism and the protection of our natural environment,” she added.

Referring to Arakapas mandarin, she said it has been extensively cultivated in the area for decades, and is sought after throughout Cyprus because of its quality and unique aroma.

“This particular mandarin variety was introduced to Cyprus in the distant 1870s, however, over the years, it acquired its own special characteristics and is now a certified separate unique variety,” Panayiotou said.

One of its characteristics is its resistance to cold, which is why it has been successfully cultivated in semi-mountainous areas such as Arakapas, which is at an altitude of 650m.

The development of the primary sector in our country is a top priority of the governance programme of President Nikos Christodoulides,” she added. “Although today the contribution of the primary sector to the country’s Gross Domestic Product is small, it can nevertheless gain momentum for significant growth and play a key role in broadening the productive base of our economy.”

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