Potatoes harvested in the north will be transferred next Monday to government-controlled areas, where potato crops suffered heavy blows after successive days of heavy rain and frost.
According to Turkish Cypriot media, citing comments made by the President of the Turkish Cypriot Association of Potato Producers, Engin Halkseven, the transfer of potatoes from the north will be conducted in the framework of the Green Line Regulation. He explained farmers in the north harvested potatoes before the freezing weather swept over the island.
Halkseven did not clarify the quantity of potatoes to be transferred to government-controlled areas, where the main potato-growing red-soiled villages known as ‘Kokkinochoria’ suffered three consecutive days of heavy rain and frost which severely damaged potato crops that satisfy local demand but also cater to foreign markets.
The transfer of potatoes from the north is expected to ease the pressure on producers in the government-controlled areas, though the local price of potatoes is expected to remain inflated, reflecting the significant limited supply of the crop.
President of the Republic of Cyprus’ Potato Council, Georgios Tasou, expressed hope that some portions of the potato crops might be salvaged, but stressed that “a serious aspect of the problem has to do with the export Cypriot potatoes to European and international markets.”
Tasou added that the damage may result in there not being enough potatoes to meet the demands of foreign markets, which will then take their business elsewhere, resulting in an additional blow for local producers.
The Agricultural Minister Costas Kadis said the Government will fully support the affected farmers through compensation.
Kadis added that potato crops have seen repeated and extensive damage in the past two years, which is reflected in the multiplying amounts that the Government is providing to potato producers as compensation.
“For the last 20 years, the average Government compensation has been around €8 million [annually]; for 2019 we have surpassed €18 million, while in 2020, we expect the sum provided to support farmers will surpass €24 million,” Kadis said.