Activities of the Horticulture Section
The Horticulture Section has the technical responsibility for arboriculture, vegetables, aromatic and medicinal plants, floriculture, mushrooms, heliculture, development of organic farming and for the setting up and operation of Producers Organizations. Officers working for the Section provide technical advice and expertise in the above sectors. In this context a series of training and information sessions are organised, technical field visits take place, various informational bulletins and articles are prepared, while interviews are conducted on radio shows and telecasts.
In addition, aiming for the further development and support of the relevant sectors, the Section contributed to the preparation of the Rural Development Program 2014 - 2020, concerning the sectors falling under the scope of its responsibility.
Furthermore, it is responsible for the implementation of Union Regulations of the Common Organisation of Agricultural Markets in the sectors of Fruit and Vegetables, Bananas, Olive oil and Floriculture. For this purpose, the Horticulture Section has contributed to the preparation and enactment of National implementing legislation for these sectors. Relevant national Legislation includes the Recognition of Producer Organisations of Agricultural Products Laws of 2018 and the related Regulations issued thereof, as well as Law 225(I)/2004 and relevant Ministerial Decrees for better implementation of CMO of Fresh and Processed Fruit and Vegetables, olives and olive oil and bananas. Officers of the Horticulture Section have worked for the preparation of informational bulletins concerning the Common Organisation of Agricultural Markets, in the relevant sectors.
The Horticulture Section Officers represent the Department of Agriculture and the Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment in the European Union decision making bodies, contributing to the policy making procedure of the European Union in sectors of its competence. The Section also collects and transmits to Brussels statistical information concerning horticultural products, as well as other information and reports, on the basis of Community Regulations.
The Horticulture Section is responsible for the management and technical guidance of the Government farms, stations and nurseries of Department of Agriculture.
At Paphos Government Farms, certified plantations of citrus fruit, vines, walnuts, stone and pome fruits and olives, as well as other tree crops (carobs, avocados, pomegranates, figs, loquats, pecan trees, etc.), are preserved in order to produce healthy plant propagation material (seeds, grafts, cuttings). At the same time, Paphos Government Farms have under their responsibility the cultivation, sowing and harvesting of cereals for the production of certified seeds for the needs of the Seed Production Center of the Department of Agriculture, as well as cereal and fodder for the needs of the Achelia livestock Farmhouse.
Additionally, Paphos Government Farms host field trials in order to solve problems in various crops.
In the aromatic and medicinal plants sector, technical information and practices are provided to producers about aromatic and medicinal plant species and varieties, cultivation, production of fresh and dried products, post-harvest handling and marketing through the formation of Producer Organizations.
Finally, the Horticulture Section has contributed in the implementation of the annual programme of the Department of Agriculture for agriculture extension services, training of farmers and technical guidance of producers.
In the context of the wider objective for the promotion of aromatic and medicinal plants, the Department of agriculture created in 1991 the aromatic and medicinal plants division.
The aim of the Division is to promote the use of new varieties and species, to provide technical advice and training for farmers interested in aromatic and medicinal plant crops. To this end, the Department of Agriculture has installed several pilot/evidentiary crops of aromatic and medicinal plants and has created and maintains a Botanical Garden with plant material. The material used for the production and proliferation of various species, which are available to interested farmers. It also provides services to farmers for the drying, processing of fresh and dried aromatic plants and the distillation of essential oils.
About 235 farmers are currently involved with the cultivation of aromatic and medicinal plants in Cyprus, covering a total area of over 165 hectares.