Cyprus is expected to be much more affected by climate change in the coming decades, said today the Minister of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment Costas Kadis, adding that the Ministry is implementing actions that are directly related to addressing the challenges of water saving and ecosystem protection.
Welcoming him at the Cyprus Pan-Agricultural Association Conference held at the UCLan Cyprus University in Pyla, the Minister said that "the conference deals with the protection of ecosystems and water saving, issues that could not be more topical, since they concern all and more our planet and especially our place ".
the reduction of cultivated areas and the degradation of soils, requires the adaptation of agriculture to a new regime, which should produce more products with less water,
He added that "the world's population is expected to grow by 65% by 2050 and the additional needs that will arise will put further pressure on water resources. "Irrigated agriculture consumes about 70% of the available water, the Mediterranean basin is considered one of the most vulnerable areas to climate change, while Cyprus is expected to be much more affected in the coming decades."
Mr. Kadis also stated that "the reduction of cultivated areas and the degradation of soils, requires the adaptation of agriculture to a new regime, which should produce more products with less water, in a limited area of fertile agricultural land. The weather conditions and the microclimate of an area are the key factors in the growth and development of crops, which must be taken seriously for the viability of an agricultural holding."
At the same time, he continued, "economic and environmental issues, as well as issues of food adequacy and safety, impose a new way of managing agricultural holdings. The application of modern methods, with the use of new technologies and the application of innovative solutions in agriculture and animal husbandry, in combination with the promotion of actions for conservation, restoration and enhancement of biodiversity of rural and forest ecosystems, ensures the continuation of ecosystem serviceswhich is a benefit to man ".
As a government, said Mr. Kadis "we attach great importance to the effort made to achieve the goals set in the Green Agreement of the European Union. "The Recovery and Sustainability Plan gives EU Member States the opportunity to invest in projects and policies that will enhance sustainability and contribute to the goals of the Green Agreement."
He also noted that the Ministry sought and managed, among other things, to include in the National Plan for Recovery and Sustainability actions that are directly related to addressing the challenges in matters of water saving and protection of ecosystems.
"The reform of the water resources management system and the installation of an integrated monitoring system for the water supply network with a budget of EUR 7 million, the upgrading of water treatment plants with a budget of EUR 6 million, the monitoring and gradual reduction of carbon dioxide emissions in the "Upgrading and strengthening the forest protection system against fires with a budget of 19 million euros and the creation of a regional livestock waste management unit with a budget of 25 million euros are just some of these actions," he said.
In addition, Mr. Kadis continued, the Ministry of Agriculture "has included in its strategic planning and is already implementing actions included in the Government Program of the President of the Republic, such as the construction of projects to promote the use of recycled water, the regional action plan to address climate change, the new strategy for water management and drought management, the new waste management strategy, as well as projects for the protection and promotion of Natura 2000 sites ".
"Also, both the new announcements of measures of the Rural Development Program for the period 2021-22 and our new strategic planning for the period 2023-2027, promote on a large scale modern methods of water saving and restoration, conservation and strengthening of the dependent ecosystems from agriculture and forestry," he said.
According to the Minister, the implementation of modern water saving methods and the adoption of targeted actions for the conservation, restoration and strengthening of ecosystems that depend on agriculture and forestry are important tools to address the challenges facing the agricultural sector, which are not independent of the broader environmental issues we are called upon to address as a society.