The Rural Development Section of the Agricultural Research Institute (ARI) conducts research aiming to improve the agricultural sector in Cyprus and enhance the quality of life of the farmers. Current research activities focus on Precision Agriculture (Information and Communication Technology (ICT), robotics, Internet of Things and Remote Sensing) and on agricultural economics issues, such as the sustainability of farming systems, the cost of production and marketing of agricultural products, traceability of food products and the potential of farmers’ markets for improving agricultural marketing.
Researchers of the Rural Development Section are actively involved in various external-funded research projects. During 2019, two Use Cases of the Internet of Food and Farm 2020 (IoF2020 - project number 731884), were initiated, which are funded by the Horizon 2020 (Industrial Leadership). Specifically, the Section is involved in "Digital Ecosystem Utilisation - CYSLOP" and in "Data-Driven Potato Production – IOT4Potato" Use Cases. Furthermore, in February 2019, an ERASMUS+ project was launched. The project “Enhancing Youth Entrepreneurship Skills, Careers Guidance and Competences in Agriculture Thought a Game based Virtual Reality Platform” (AGRIENT - project number 2018-3-HR01-KA205-060151), aims to create a virtual environment, based on 3D worlds for educational purposes, focusing on rural entrepreneurship. In addition, the Section is engaged in the Interreg Balkan-Med project RE-SOURCE (Providing services of management of natural resources) and the SWOSOIP project (Smart Watering System for Optimizing Irrigation Process) which is funded by the European Space Agency, and involves the formation of irrigation data for Cyprus crops by utilizing satellite images. Researchers of the Section also participate in the 3PRO-TROODOS project (INTEGRATED/0916_0061) funded by the Research and Innovation Foundation, as well as in a LIFE+ project, namely ADAPT2CLIMA.
Likewise, the Rural Development Section participates in national-funded projects, coordinated by other Sections of ARI. Importantly the Section collaborates with the Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment and undertakes targeted studies and technical reports on agricultural economics, trade and policy, thus supporting decision making. Finally, researchers of the Section are in close collaboration with the Extension Service of the Department of Agriculture and have co-developed training material on agricultural production economics and marketing, which is exploited for the training of farmers in the context of the National Rural Development Programme.
The Rural Development Section manages and maintains the ARI’s official website and blog. It is also responsible for the promotion and dissemination of research results by utilizing internet technologies and social media, such as:
Georgios Adamides, Georgios Papadavid, Andreas Stylianou, Marianthi Giannakopoulou, Stavroula Ioannou