When Cyprus achieved independence in 1960, the backbone
economy was agriculture, mostly small farms, and sometimes
subsistence farms. During the 1960s, irrigation projects
possible vegetable and fruit exports; increasingly
farming was able to meet the demands for meat, dairy
wine from the British and United Nations troops stationed
island and from the growing number of tourists.
In the early 1970s, Cypriot farms, still overwhelmingly
owner-run units, furnished about 70 percent of commodity
and employed about 95,000 people, or one-third of the
economically active population. Given the expansion of the
manufacturing and service sectors, however, agriculture's
importance was declining, and in the first half of the
share of GDP amounted to 18 percent.
The de facto division of the island in 1974 left the
Cypriot community in the north in possession of
resources that produced about four-fifths of the citrus
crops, two-thirds of the green fodder, and all of the
fig. 7). The south retained nearly all of the island's
grapegrowing areas and deciduous fruit orchards. The south also
possessed lands producing roughly three-fourths of the
potato crop and other vegetables (excluding carrots), half
island's olive trees, and two-thirds of its carob trees.
addition, the south retained two-thirds of the livestock
The Turkish occupation caused a large-scale
exchange of the agricultural work force between the
southern zones. The resulting substantial agricultural
was countered by government actions that included
assistance on easy terms to farmers. By 1978 the number of
working in agriculture in the government-controlled area
to about 47,000, or 23 percent of the working population.
Thereafter, however, agriculture's portion of the work
declined to 20.7 percent in 1979 and 15.8 percent in 1987.
contribution to the economy also declined; from 17.3
percent of GDP
in 1976 to 10.7 percent in 1979 and 7.7 percent in 1988.
was important to the south's economy, however, and in 1988
added in agriculture, at constant 1985 prices, was C£112.7
Agriculture's share of the national economy could be
to decline still further in the 1990s, as the Greek
became even more dominated by the service sector. The
favorable climate and its location near its leading
Europe, however, meant that farming would remain an
stable part of the overall economy. Government irrigation
subsidies, and tax policies encouraged farming's
existence, as did
research in new crops and new varieties of ones already in
The Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources
efforts to improve agriculture, fishing, and forestry.
to this ministry and assisting it were, among others, the
Agricultural Research Institute, the Veterinary Service,
Meteorological Service, the Department of Water
Department of Forests, and the Department of Geological
In addition to macroeconomic considerations, the
encouraged agriculture because it provided rural
maintained village life and relieved urban crowding.
agricultural activity prevented some regions from losing
their population. Part-time agricultural work also
residents to keep in contact with their villages and gave
Data as of January 1991