Agriculture Ministry to introduce farmer’s card and auction for agricultural products

The Ministry of Agriculture is looking to introduce a farmer's card in collaboration with local credit institutions, to facilitate the movement of capital to farmers as well as other similar benefits.

Agriculture Minister Petros Xenophontos told MPs on Tuesday that the plans also include establishing an agricultural products auction.

Xenophontos had a first meeting with the parliamentary agriculture committee since the assumption of his duties and briefed parliamentarians on his main priorities, assuring them at the same time of close cooperation to promote the interests of Cypriot farmers.

The Minister said that he takes over the portfolio at a very difficult time, when the war in Ukraine is still on-going and the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic have just started to subside. He said that rising energy costs have increased the cost of production for farmers, but also the cost of living for consumers.

He said that supporting the primary sector, to improve its competitiveness and to develop the countryside, is among the government's top priorities. He also said that the aim is to strengthen the quality of agricultural products and to increase their added value.

The Minister added that in order to achieve these goals, the Strategic Plan of the Common Agricultural Policy 2023-2027 is being implemented with total funding of €454 million.

Xenophontos assured MPs that his Ministry will work to stabilise agricultural income, improve the economic activity conditions of farmers and safeguard production. He explained that the auction of agricultural products is included in the Recovery and Resilient Fund. He added that through the electronic auction it is expected that better planning of production will be done and security of transactions will be strengthened, with a timely payment of farmers and transparency in prices.

Referring to the restriction of the use of pesticides and antibiotics, Xenophontos said that a mechanism will be set up which will control the residues of pesticides and antibiotics in agricultural and livestock products, throughout the food production and distribution chain.

The Minister also told lawmakers that the goal is sustainable fishing and aquaculture and that the control of illegal fishing will be strengthened and artificial reefs will be created as a means of enriching biodiversity.

He also said that Cyprus will cooperate with neighbouring countries to deal with sea pollution incidents.

The MPs and agricultural organisations noted in their statements that cooperation and coordination is essential, adding that a lot of issues need to be addressed in an urgent manner.

(Source: CNA)

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