Blog: Potatoes ferment but Cyprus delights

Catherine Sleep | 15 November 2005

And so to Cyprus Delight. Or Turkish Delight, as it’s more commonly known outside Cyprus. I tried some while on holiday there last week, and it really is revolting stuff. Talking of revolting, the holiday was livened up by some pretty spirited demonstrations by potato farmers. It’s not every day you see a rabble of tractors lumber down from the hills to blockade motorways. They farmers are angry because the government won’t hand out vast subsidies and cash incentives to help those who want to hang up their ploughs and exit their failing profession.

Those in the know mutter that potato farmers in Cyprus are now paying the price for the generous conditions they enjoyed prior to Cyprus’ accession to the European Union last year, which led immediately to increased competition. EU membership may be something to aspire to but it brings with it certain restrictions to ensure a level playing field for all members. Handing out generous subsidies for bad weather is no longer okay. The farmers have demanded CYP20m (US$40.8m). Not going to happen.

Like a lot of other farmers are learning, they’ll have to rely on growing superior products to ensure their future livelihood. Fortunately Cypriot potatoes really are very good, so that gives them a head start.

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