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Water management top priority for Agriculture Ministry

November 27, 2018 at 10:18am
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The Agriculture Ministry is revising is water policy so as to increase available resources with new irrigation projects, increased desalination and better management.

Overall, 25 of the 46 projects planned in the 2019 budget concern water policy, the House Finance Committee heard yesterday.

Agriculture Minister Costas Kadis told the House Finance Committee that pilot programmes to cut down on water waste using Israeli technology will be tested next year. Water policy will also be among the issues to be discussed at the trilateral meeting with Greece and Israel in December, he added.

Plans to increase available water resources included increased recycling and new desalination plants as well as better management through a reduction of waste and savings.

The ministry’s 2019 budget provides for expenditure of €238.6m, up 6% from €224.9 m in 2019. This does not include €51.2m in projects co-financed with the EU. Development spending is up 12% to €101 m.

Of the €238.6m budgeted, about 21% is for development projects, 31% for operating costs, 44% for salaries and 4% for contributions and grants.

The ministry anticipates an increase in revenue to €112.1m from €101.6m primarily due to the auction of carbon emission rights and the sale of water.

Kadis said a new policy on unfair business practices which particularly affect producers is to be introduced with proposed new legislation. Under the draft bill, a producer will not be able to sell to an intermediary without recording the price and quantity while the intermediary will not be able to return unsold quantities to the producers. Moreover, intermediaries will not be allowed to cancel orders at the last minute.

On the environment, Kadis said Cyprus was launching an initiative on climate change in the East Med and the Middle East.

The ministry is also going ahead with the comprehensive management of urban waste with regulations for separate collection at source, prevention programmes, recycling and the better use of the Koshi and Pentakomo waste sites.

Other plans include updating the action plan on the impact of desertification, the Akamas plan, better management of forest fires and new infrastructure for fishing.

Another priority is the implementation of a comprehensive plan on animal protection and welfare.