Cyprus agriculture and natural resources account for only 2.4% of GDP (data 2008). Agriculture has accounted towards GDP less and less each year for the past 20 years. The products include grapes, deciduous fruits, potatoes, cereal grains, vegetables, olives, and carobs, whilst resources include pyrites, copper, asbestos, gypsum, lumber, salt, marble, clay, and earth pigment. Livestock includes sheep, goats, pigs, cattle, poultry and livestock products. Most of the countries fish products are imported.
Citrus, grapes, wine and potatoes were some of the top agricultural trade exports of 2008, mainly to EU countries with UK and Greece being the biggest importers, as well as Russia and the Middle East.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment currently consists of 11 Departments and Agencies;
• Department of Agriculture
• Forestry Department
• Agricultural Research Institute
• Geological Survey
• Department of Land Consolidation
• Veterinary Services
• Department of Fisheries and Marine Research
• Water Development Department
• Meteorological Service
• Mining Service
•The environment is covered by the Environment Agency which is a Task Force of the Directorate of the Ministry.
The Department of Agriculture's main mission is to develop the Farmers field through training and guidance to farmers, planning and implementing development programs. The Department prepared, and subsequently implements the Rural Development program 2007 - 2013, which is an ambitious project specifically designed to revitalise the rural economy, ensuring the short and long-term future of the countryside.
The Department of Fisheries and Marine Research, the regulatory body for Cyprus fishing and marine matters, being responsible for the enforcement of the relative legislation, it oversees the protection of endangered species and habitats. The other main activities of the Department relate to the sustainable use of marine resources, the development and sound management of fisheries and aquaculture, the marine ecology, physical and chemical oceanography, and the prevention and combat of marine pollution. It also promotes supporting programmes to local fishermen such as the construction of fishing shelters.
The Water Development Department is responsible for implementing the water policy of the Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment. The main objectives of this policy is the rational development and management of the water resources of Cyprus. In this context, the responsibilities of the department cover a wide and diverse spectrum which includes:
1) The collection, processing and classification of hydrological, hydrogeological, geotechnical and other data necessary for the study, maintenance and safety of the water development works.
2) The study, design, construction, operation and maintenance of works, such as dams, ponds, irrigation, domestic water supply and sewerage schemes, water treatment works, sewage treatment and desalination plants.
3) The protection of water resources from pollution.
The Water Department has issued ten tips to save water, please remember to implement them into your daily life. Remember - every drop of water counts.
By following a number of water saving measures, which require little time and money to implement, not just during drought conditions but year-round, significant amounts of water can be saved.
• Check the plumbing installation for leaks.
• Check taps for drips and make repairs promptly.
• Install plastic water bags in the toilet flush tanks.
• Take a shower instead of a bath and avoid having to run the water until it’s hot. Turn off shower water while you apply soap to body.
• Encourage and advise children not to mess around with water in the bath, garden or anywhere else.
• Turn off water while you shave and/or brush teeth.
• Wash only full loads in the washing and dish washing machines.
• Water the garden with a watering can early in the morning or in the evening when evaporation is limited.
• Wash the car with a sponge and a bucket, instead of a hosepipe, which is prohibited by Law.
• Use a broom, not a hose, to clean verandas and pavements. The use of a hosepipe is prohibited by Law.
Alternative energy sources and the energy sector in general are attracting an increasing amount of attention, while the possible existence of natural gas and petroleum reserves off the southern and eastern coast of Cyprus opens up new optimism for growth.