EU Infopoint organised rural visits to raise awareness
The EU Infopoint highlightined the EU policy on rural development and the EU support to rural communities during the month of July with a rural tour between 27 – 30 July in Komi Kebir/Büyükkonuk, Kiados/Serdarlı, Morphou/Güzelyurt, and Lefka/Lefke. The rural tour was culminated in a panel discussion on “Harmonising Agricultural Competitiveness and Rural Development” at Merit Hotel on 31 July. At these events, participants received information not only on the current rural development programme and the related EU policy, but also future opportunities for regions in the northern part of Cyprus.
The rural events encouraged local residents to explore the EU’s Rural Development Policy and EU support for regional development, by highlighting the work of beneficiaries and successes of previous EU funded projects. It included success story presentations, short films and other interactive activities on the EU’s Rural Development Policy and in the Turkish Cypriot community. The panel in Nicosia featured an EU expert and focused on harmonising Agricultural Competitiveness and Rural Development.
The Turkish Cypriot agricultural sector and rural areas face a myriad of challenges from poor quality seed stock to a lack of water and equipment. As part of EU’s Aid Programme for the Turkish Cypriot community, the EU Rural Development support in the northern part of Cyprus has three main areas: crops, animal husbandry, and community development. The main objectives of the programme are to help improve living conditions in rural areas while protecting the environment and cultural heritage as well as developing sustainable use of natural resources.
Through the Rural Development Sector Programme, the EU has provided approximately €46 million of support to the Turkish Cypriots in the period until 2013. It takes the form of investment support through a series of grant schemes, as well as providing guidance to Turkish Cypriots to help prepare for the future adoption of EU rules and regulations, including training to farmers to help improve animal and crop husbandry techniques.