Cabinet on Wednesday approved €2.8 million in aid to relieve farmers affected by the recent fires in Limassol, Paphos and Nicosia districts.

Agriculture Minister Maria Panayiotou told reporters after the cabinet meeting that the purpose of the compensation is to ensure the viability of farmers and livestock farmers who have lost all or part of their agricultural production and infrastructure.

It has been decided to make an immediate payment to beneficiaries which constitutes an advance on the total financial aid for which each beneficiary qualifies.

“It’s depending on the damage each beneficiary has. The advance payment is at 30 per cent of the eligible expenditure,” the minister said.

Meanwhile, Interior Minister Constantinos Ioannou said a further €700,000 of financial assistance had been made available to pay for others impacted by the fires, including 23 residential properties, a solar farm, a car dealership, two agricultural warehouses, and a church.

He said applications will be open until June 26.

The relief is aimed for farmers affected by the fires that broke out on May 31 in Ypsonas municipality in Limassol, on June 11 in areas of the Paphos district and on June 15 in Farmakas, Nicosia.

Paphos was most severely impacted from the recent wildfires, where the fire ignited near Polemi and spread to the surrounding communities, resulting in the evacuation of five villages. The fires ravaged over 30 square kilometres of agricultural land and killed around 120 animals.

Deputy director of the agriculture ministry Konstantis Spanasis reported to the Cyprus News Agency (CNA) that the fires have particularly impacted the regions of Psathi, Polemi, Choulou, and Ayios Dimitrianos.  

Preliminary assessments indicate significant agricultural losses across the Paphos district. Cereal crops covering 25 square kilometres, olive groves spanning two square kilometres, and vineyards totalling five square kilometres have all suffered extensive damage. Additionally, approximately half a square kilometre of deciduous trees, predominantly almond, peach and carob, have been affected. There were further losses involving 200 bee clusters and 20 hives, he added.

The fires have also destroyed irrigation systems crucial for farming operations, encompassing an estimated 2.5 square kilometres. Further economic losses include severe damage to a livestock facility previously engaged in sheep and goat farming, now focusing on rabbit breeding, impacting several local livestock farmers.

The Paphos District Administration reported that four residential properties were destroyed by the fires, while another 15 homes and facilities sustained varying degrees of damage.

President Nikos Christodoulides, who toured the affected areas last Saturday, instructed swift action to draft a compensation proposal for consideration during Wednesday’s cabinet session that he is heading.

Those wishing to make damage claims or receive further information can contact the district agricultural offices at 26804594, 26804569 and 26321531 for Paphos, at 25803912 for Limassol and at 25874031 for the Pitsilia district agricultural office.