Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition (FSN Forum)

This member contributed to:

    • The experience from Cyprus was gained over the period 1960 with independence to 1970, with various projects:

      1. The FAO Cyprus Water Planning project of 1969 to 1972 which planned the use of water resources and was fully implemented over a 25 year period except for areas in northern Cyprus that are North of the Green Line (ceasefire line of 1974).
      2. The Pitsilia Integrated Rural Development Project prepared by the World Bank/FAO Cooperation Programme and Republic of Cyprus and implemented in 1980’s.(World Bank Loan 1483-CY, Appraisal Report 159-CY)
      3. Various other programmes including the River Valleys Project, Cyprus, EU Life 1999 prepared but not funded.

      The experience leads to the conclusion that agriculture cannot achieve the development of rural areas alone, but needs to be integrates in regional projects which draw from the agricultural sector, and diversify employment and income.

      In the EU LIFE project above a “General Model for Sustainable Development in Rural Areas” was developed but unfortunately not tested for lack of funding and state support. Its central feature is the “Reduced Government Dependence –Self Help Model”, which harnesses and coordinates the public sector role in development, and supplements by self help. Rural Communities, NGOs , cooperative credit institutions, city dwellers, overseas emigrants from the area, and trade unions all cooperative to create initiatives for the development of the region or community, in coordinated cooperation with the state but also separately from the state through local initiatives. For example:

      1. Investment in small scale tourist facilities.
      2. Registration of a brand names or names for processed agricultural products by communities or NGO’s, facilitate market penetration through identity, organize festivals and activities to attract visitors and urban and overseas former residents, and improve facilities in the communities.
      3. Facilitate and organize education in agricultural production, processing of local products, marketing and in nutrition in schools and in the communities.
      4. Develop cooperatives or small loan financial institutions to fund local initiatives.
      5. Establish links with people who have migrated or emigrated from the communities, to establish a basis for expanding the market.
      6. Encourage local initiatives and coordination of state organizations, and the private sector in the communities.

      Though the ideas were developed for the Mediterranean they are transferable and can be adapted to other regions, where there are strong communities and where education among the population has progressed, and communities are well organized. Furthermore exchange of knowledge on what works is important and should be a matter for research.

    • Integrated Development with Diversification of Employment

      On the basis of experience in Cyprus on rural development projects, undertaken in cooperation with FAO Cooperation Programme and the Word Bank, the formerly fashionable INTEGRATED RURAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS IN THE 1970, AND 1980’S present the best approach, because they provide for rural areas needs in access to essential services (health, education, extension serves, research etc), but should be broader to diversity employment, and include agriculture within the concept, not only in production, but marketing, research and development also. When work began in Cyprus on the successful Pitsilia Intergrated Rural Development Project, the analysis showed that very little agricultural research and innovation was focused on the low income mountain areas. In addition agriculture and nutrition were not integrated into the education system, which of course was under a different ministry, that of education with different priorities.

      Later on within an EU project called LIFE a group of specialists from several disciplines was asked to develop a model for development of rural areas. The model presented was relevant to the Mediterranean region,where strong village communities often undertake initiatives. The basic idea is to link agricultural production with marketing, product research, and treat the village or the area/region as a brand. This requires the following:

      1. Quality control of the quality of both agricultural products and agro-industry products.
      2. Identification of unique products of the region and marketing them i.e. bottled quality water, Pissour halloumi which is halloumi cheese with the addition of mint.
      3. Identify areas for research on new products, to diversity what is offered. For example GLUTEN FREE products are now fashionable both for medical reasons, but also because they are considered better for digestion etc. Quinoa has developed as a product in this respect, but are conditions suitable for it and how can it be marketed?
      4. In schools at all levels nutrition should be taught and practiced, that needs coordination.
      5. Agriculture should also be taught and practiced in the schools.
      6. Communications and roads need to be developed both between villages and towns but also to the fields, facilitating mechanization and reducing costs and opening up new opportunities, such as rural tourism.
      7. In short an intergrated approach that improves peoples lives, allows greater security of income through diversification, and links social services, agriculture, agro-industries, marketing and research.

      Costas Apostolides, Cyprus