Wednesday, 22 February 2017

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Around 200 potato farmers went on strike on Saturday along the Larnaca-Ayia Napa road after still not having received compensation for damage to crops due to extreme weather conditions over the last two years, reported Cyprus Mail.

The potato farmers, mainly from Larnaca, Famagusta and Nicosia, expressed their discontent by closing one of the lanes with their tractors and vehicles for one hour, while also threatening further strike action until they get what they were promised.

"When it came time to give us financial help that was approved by the Ministry of Agriculture for the damages we suffered due to adverse weather conditions, those governing cited the economic crisis and then they left us at the mercy of God," said Nikos Vasilas, head of the Cyprus Coordinating Committee of Potato Producers on the reason for the protest. "The results of this is that some of us have had to quit this profession and others had to mortgage homes and fields to plant new seeds," he added.

The damage suffered by the potato farmers, according to Vasilas, has not yet been calculated by the Ministry of Agriculture but "it is definitely more than 50 per cent" of the crop.

"Despite all of our efforts, along with meetings with all the leaders of political parties, even with the governing party, the government has not responded at all to our demand and neither has it answered us," said Vasilas. "The potato producers cannot take this insult, and they cannot forget it because of the damage we have suffered," he added.

Police were patrolling during yesterday's protest, which was also attended by representatives from all the agricultural organisations, MPs and some parliamentary election candidates.

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