The Troodos Mountains of Cyprus offers many opportunities for agricultural production and food processing. However, the mountains are not an easy production environment. A consortium of researchers, small businesses and farmer organisations have started a new integrated research project, named 3PRO-TROODOS, to support the agri-food sector in the Troodos Mountains. This new three-year project is funded by the Research and Innovation Foundation and coordinated by The Cyprus Institute. The coordinator of the project, Assoc. Professor Adriana Bruggeman from The Cyprus Institute, explained that the project will integrate scientific and practical knowledge to contribute to the maintenance and productivity of the beautiful terraced landscapes of the Troodos Mountains.
The 3PRO-TROODOS project aims to develop a Troodos quality certification label, in cooperation with local producers and processors. Savvas Maliotis of Filagrotiki Consultants, who will lead the development of the label, emphasized that a Troodos label will support mountain farmers by increasing the value of local products. Petros Hadjicostas, the director of the Troodos Development Company, highlighted that the linkage of quality branding with the Troodos Geopark will benefit the products and services offered in the region.
Agriculture in the Troodos Mountains is mainly practiced on terraces supported by dry-stone walls. The architect, Antonia Theodosiou, will organize public training workshops on mountain terrace maintenance. She emphasized that maintaining drystone terraces is an important aspect of Troodos rural development and cultural heritage.
Climate change is affecting the water resources in the Troodos Mountain. The Cyprus Institute will explore options for sustainable, future irrigation water use. Sigint Solutions, an information and communications technology company, will cooperate with researchers of The Cyprus Institute on the use of wireless sensors for improving irrigation scheduling. Loizos Kanaris from Sigint Solutions anticipates that as a result of this project, the adoption of smart technologies will be increased and the capacity of farmers to take informed decisions will be enhanced.
Andreas Stylianou from the Agricultural Research Institute stressed the importance of agricultural innovations. Researchers from the Institute will evaluate the use of protective nets for fruit trees in cooperation with Troodos farmers. The Agricultural Research Institute will also conduct an ethno-botanic survey on the use of local medicinal and aromatic plants in Troodos. Selected herbs will be tested with local farmers. Charis Christoforou from the Cyprus Organic Farmers Association explained that herbs attract many beneficial insects. Growing herbs along fruit trees and other crops can support an organic production environment.
The 3PRO-TROODOS Project (INTEGRATED/0609/061) is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund and the Republic of Cyprus through the Research and Innovation Foundation