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Brussels, 22 February 2010

EU support boosts rural economy in the northern part of Cyprus

Grant award ceremony for beneficiaries of EU grant schemes "improving agricultural production" and "supporting rural enterprise".

188 Turkish Cypriot farmers and rural enterprises have been awarded EU funding to help bring their operation in line with EU standards and best practices. An award ceremony will take place on Thursday 24 February at 18:45 at the Lefke Gardens Hotel in Lefke/Lefka.

There are two Rural Development Grant Schemes: the first, launched in December 2008 ‘Improving Agricultural Production’ provides financial support for equipment purchase to farmers and growers in three sectors: dairy, crop and horticultural production Following a competitive evaluation process, 141 grants ranging from €15,000 to €100,000 were awarded for a total value of almost €5,000,000 offering up to 65% of investment support to the best projects. Beneficiaries will be able to improve their methods of production to reach EU standards.

The second scheme ‘Supporting Rural Enterprise’ was launched in June 2009 to provide support to small and medium enterprises in rural areas. It aims at introducing new technologies to improve production quality, environmental and occupational safety and hygiene. 47 grants ranging from €10,000 to €150,000 were awarded to local entrepreneurs to modernise and upgrade post-harvest technologies for cereals, fruit, vegetable and potato and dairy processing, and to develop alternative rural incomes including rural tourism, rural micro-enterprises and small-scale fisheries and aquaculture.

This project is funded under the €259 million EU funded Aid Programme for the Turkish Cypriot community which is managed by the European Commission. Support to the rural economy is a major component of the programme for which around €30 million in total has been allocated for grant schemes, technical assistance and equipment.

Cypriot media is invited

For further information, the European Commission contact persons are Oscar Casamian (E-mail: oscar.casamian ) and Andrea Hedenskog (E-mail: andrea.hedenskog ).

Footnote: This press release announces the grant award ceremonies for Proposals selected under the Rural Development grant schemes ‘Improving Agricultural Production’ and ‘Supporting Rural Enterprise’. In view of the large number of beneficiaries and its geographical distribution three ceremonies are planned to take place. The first one covers beneficiaries in the Morphou area.

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