Rural and agricultural development play a key role in maintaining agricultural landscapes that support local economies and biodiversity, as well as giving the island much of its character. During the 2011-2013 revision of CAP, Laona contributed its input regarding the proposals for 2014-2020.
After the experience of an earlier (disastrous) official decision to uproot local wine-producing grape varieties, Laona advocates that CAP funds should be used as an incentive for sustainable production and as a reward for farmers who act as custodians (stewards) of the countryside. A ‘green CAP’ is of particular importance to Cyprus with its small-scale, extensive-type farming and small plot size (median size in mountainous areas is 2.1 ha), while also maintaining the landscapes that attract sensitive visitors to lesser known inland destinations. According to Markou and Kavazis (Agricultural Situation Report of Cyprus and the Market and Trade Policies for Fruit/Vegetable and Olive Oil, Agricultural Research Institute, Nicosia, Cyprus, 2006), more than one third of the farm units possess less than 1 ha and 56% less than 2 ha. Only 6% of the agricultural plots are above 10 ha.
Laona supports local products, and feels that tourism authorities and practitioners do not sufficiently promote the fact that Cyprus is free of GMO crops and has a burgeoning organic farming practice.