Technical Support

The overall objective of the EU Grant Support Team, formerly known as the Programme Management Unit (PMU), is to provide technical assistance to the design, assessment, implementation and monitoring of grant projects in the civil society, community development, human resource, private sector development and rural development sectors for the Turkish Cypriot community. The EU has funded the operation of the PMU since September 2008 under successive projects.
Main project activities include:

  • Support to the development of grant scheme guidelines in accordance with EU rules and procedures.
  • Grant scheme assessment and support to contract preparation
  • Assistance to grant beneficiaries in project implementation, capacity building activities for project applicants and beneficiaries, and the monitoring of grant projects.
  • Updating and maintenance of the RDSP website,
  • Establishment and maintenance of a Monitoring Information System; and
  • Implementing a programme of communications and visibility activities

The EU-financed Crop Husbandry Project, implemented between October 2008 and December 2014, aimed at advising and training farmers to increase sector competitiveness:
  • improving good agricultural practices and farm management practices (including accounting),
  • improving crop breeding practices and irrigation efficiency,
  • establishing a number of demonstration fields, and
  • assisting the association of farmers in cooperatives and producer groups.
Project activities included support to increasing irrigation efficiency, introducing crop diversification to consume less water and be more adaptable to water quality, increase the utilisation of recycled water from water treatment plants and deliver trainings on the development of automatic irrigation systems.

In relation to new crops and varieties the project has supported testing of asparagus, palm dates, olive, grape, guava and pomegranate, focusing on water quantity and quality aspects, including increased resistance to irrigation water high salinity levels.

More than 50 farmers have participated in citrus sector support activities related to pests and diseases, citrus pruning as well as a citrus field day, and harvesting platform and edges pruner demonstrations. Concerning the olive sector more than 750 olive growers and agronomists have participated in trainings, workshops and field visits on olive pruning, harvesting and irrigation demonstrations.

The importance of the need for an updated pesticides database and phytosanitary legislation, essential to ensure quality of fruits for domestic and export markets, has been emphasised throughout.

More than 220 farmers and agriculture experts have attended farm management bookkeeping training. Support has also been provided to agriculture research and development centres through the procurement of irrigation equipment, a nursery greenhouse, small agriculture machinery and also the supply of plants and seeds for trials.

The EU-financed Animal Husbandry Project, implemented between October 2008 and December 2012, aimed at advising and training livestock farmers to improve farm management (including accounting) and animal breeding practices (feeding, hygiene and animal welfare), as well as strengthening the provision of animal husbandry, farm advisory services and veterinary services.
Key activities included: training local experts/advisors in the provision of animal husbandry advice to farmers, provide animal husbandry advisory services directly to farmers, develop the capacity of veterinarians and support staff, assist in the improvement of services provided by veterinary laboratories, support rural development planning, with respect to animal husbandry, and improve public awareness on the importance of healthy food, food safety and of diseases transmitted from animals to humans (zoonoses).

A total of 39 training courses (with 466 participants) were delivered to animal husbandry advisors, while 206 trainings were provided to 2,991 farmers and herdsmen. Farmer training subjects included animal health, identification, hygiene, nutrition, mastitis, forage crop production, rearing of livestock, farm management, and processing and marketing. Ad hoc advice with farm visits was also provided to 56 individual farmers and twenty three advisory bulletins were published on key topics of interest to farmers.

A total of 69 training sessions were delivered for 649 veterinarians and support staff in subjects such as animal and herd health, notifiable diseases, food safety, mastitis control, reproduction, disease prevention, animal welfare and pharmaceuticals. Pilot epidemiological disease surveillance programmes were undertaken as part of the disease control and eradication plans. Following assessment of the veterinary laboratories technical specifications were drafted for the supply of needed laboratory and supporting equipment and training was provided for laboratory staff on the use and maintenance of the delivered equipment, funded by the EU.

Four information campaigns were implemented on food safety and diseases transmissible from animals to humans.

The Rural Development Support Team, in operation between May 2008 and May 2012, provided technical assistance to help develop the capacity of the Turkish Cypriot community in the formulation of rural development policy, including assistance in the preparation of a Rural Development Plan and three LEADER-type Local Development Strategies that guide the implementation of some EU funded projects in the sector.
The Support Team also played a vital role in the design of three Rural Development and two Community Development grant schemes as well as providing information, training and help to potential beneficiaries in the preparation of their applications. Target beneficiaries included rural communities, farmers, producer organisations, cooperatives, agri-food processors, small and medium-sized enterprises and eco-tourism operators, local action groups and non-governmental organisations.

Key tasks performed by the Support Team included an analysis of the rural sector and large-scale consultations of rural stakeholders. In addition, the Support Team drafted a provisional rural development plan and priority support measures to be implemented, as well as three “bottom-up” rural community local development strategies for the North West, the Karpaz and the Mesarya Areas using participatory approaches. The team contributed to the preparation of five grant scheme “Call for Proposals”, and information, while carrying out awareness and training activities for potential beneficiaries.

Farm Advisory Services (FAS)
The main purpose of the 26 month EU funded Farm Advisory Services project, starting in March 2016, is to support the establishment of an efficient and sustainable local farm advisory service. Developing farm advisory services by providing the latest technical advice and information to farmers, increasing farmer knowledge and skills and linking farmers with research, will result in increased family farm efficiency, increased production and generally an increase in the standard of living of farming families. Farm advisory services can have a powerful role in the development of agricultural production in the northern part of Cyprus. Main project activities include:
  • Development of a farm advisory strategy and support for implementation of the strategy;
  • Provision of technical advice to farmers in collaboration with the advisory bodies in charge of extension services;
  • Supporting private sector capacity in the delivery of advisory services;
  • Preparation of grant schemes for advisory services targeting the private sector to extend the offer and capacity through dedicated financial support; and
  • Development of a Monitoring and Evaluation system to measure performance with a view to assist in future planning, programming and development.

Development of Metrology Capacity
The main aim of this 30 month project, starting in March 2016, is to develop analytical laboratory services to the level where they can be relied upon to support the analysis of foodstuffs and products in compliance with EU rules and regulations, but with priority on food safety. The focus is on upgrading the laboratories that undertake testing on water, processed foods, agricultural produce, animal origin food products and animal diseases with European Union and international standards. Legal metrology is a key tool bringing many social and economic benefits, ensuring the safeguarding of the health and welfare of all citizens, the protection of the environment, and accuracy and fairness in trade operations. Main project activities include:
  • Review the laboratory related institutional framework and make recommendations;
  • Undertake an assessment of existing and needed laboratory equipment, providing for subsequent EU funded equipment supply;
  • Design and implementation of a training plan;
  • Undertaking of study visits;
  • Capacity building in the application of Laboratory Management Systems; and
  • Assistance in the preparation of quality assurance documentation.