The contract for the implementation of Local Development Strategies of the Larnaca - Famagusta Districts was signed

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The contracts with the four Local Action Groups were signed yesterday at the Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment, in the presence of the Minister of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment Mr. Petros Xenophontos, by the Director General of the General Directorate of Agriculture and Rural Development Mr. Andreas Grigoriou , for the implementation of Local Development Strategies within the "LEADER" Intervention of the Common Agricultural Policy Strategic Plan 2023-2027.

Welcoming the four Local Action Groups: the Community Development Companies of Troodos, Larnaca and Famagusta, Limassol and Paphos "Aphrodite", which will receive a total of 12 million euros for the next five years, Mr. Xenophontos said that the good work of Local Action Groups is reflected in local communities.

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"You are the arms of the Ministry for the development of rural areas and through this agreement we will see more targeted projects that will fully meet the needs of the residents," noted Mr. Xenophontos.

Afterwards, the General Director of the General Directorate of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr. Andreas Grigoriou, stated that the Local Action Groups submitted applications, which were evaluated by a six-member Committee and ranked according to the score they received.

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The Troodos Communities Development Company was ranked first, which will receive the amount of 3,1 million euros, the Larnaca and Famagusta Development Company second, which will receive 3 million euros, the Limassol Development Company, which will receive third the amount of 2,9 million euros and fourth the Development Company of Paphos "Aphrodite", which will receive 2,8 million euros.

"With a five-year horizon, the implementation of projects will be expected, which will support the communities and groups of local populations" added Mr. Grigoriou, who then asked the representatives of the Local Action Groups to report their experiences from the previous programming periods, but also the goals they have set.

Projects to improve the life of the local community

Initially, the representatives of the Local Action Groups explained that the strategy they follow for their development projects is "from the bottom up", i.e. they start from the local community.

The Director of the Troodos Community Development Company, Mr. Petros Chatzikostas, stated that in the previous programming periods, they had implemented agritourism projects and infrastructure projects, both private and public.

"We aim to introduce other actions, such as, for example, actions for young entrepreneurship, for small investments, such as tutoring schools, dental clinics, buildings for physiotherapy and general projects that our region needs," said Mr. Hatzikostas.

The Director of the Development Company of Larnaca - Famagusta, Mr. Vassilis Constantinou, referred to the consultations that took place, which helped to listen to the problems and needs of the rural areas. He also referred to a specific project that was implemented during the previous programming period in Agios Theodoros, in which the contribution of Development was of decisive importance, a fact that satisfied the community.

On behalf of the Limassol Development Company, its Director, Mrs. Rakis Pieridis, spoke, who explained that the previous programming was carried out under several difficulties, both because of the war in Ukraine and because of the coronavirus.

"An important element is that in the new programming period we have included projects of an environmental nature, while we have also added projects that concern young people, i.e. these are targeted actions. In my opinion, I believe that the LEADER Local Development Strategies will be implemented with great success during the new programming period", said Mr. Pieridis.

Also, the Director of the Development Company of Paphos "Aphrodite", Mr. Marios Ioannou, said that the implementation of his Strategy was implemented with great success during the previous programming period. He asked, however, for more safeguards in terms of absorption. That is, he said, when the project of a private person or the District Administration is approved, there should be a timetable to start or implement the project. This will help the Development Companies not to lose funds.