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Cyprus Agricultural Research

The Agricultural Research Institute (ARI) is a Department of the Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment. It is the sole institution engaged in agricultural research and depends mainly on Government funding, though during the last few years additional funds were obtained through European research projects. Within the EU 5th Framework Programme, the ARI was recognized as a Centre of Excellence in agriculture and environment.

The Institute undertakes applied and adaptive research within the wider domain of plant and animal production with the task of examining and solving existing problems and contributing to the development of the several sectors of agricultural production. It has well equipped specialized laboratories, including the Molecular Biology Laboratory, the Radioisotope Laboratory, a Plant Gene Bank, the National Herbarium and a Library which receives most of the leading agricultural journals. The Institute has an experimental farm in Athalassa where the livestock (cattle, sheep, goats) is kept, and outstations at Akhelia, Zygi, Polis, Saittas and Xylotympou where research on trees, vegetables, field crops, ornamentals and medicinal/aromatic plants is carried out. Extensive experimentation is also undertaken in farmers fields.

ARI has contributed substantially to the development of agricultural production in the country. For example, wheat and barley varieties under cultivation were developed by the Institute, while potato, vegetable and fruit varieties recommended to growers have been selected after appropriate testing. Water and nutrient requirements of the main cultivars have been established. In sheep, goats and dairy cattle, management and feeding systems were developed and, at the same time, specific breeding programmes aiming at the genetic improvement of these species were planned and implemented. In recent years, special attention is given to matters associated with integrated production management, greenhouse technology, biotechnology, molecular biology, organic agriculture, ornamental, medicinal and aromatic plants.

The Institute is the national AGRIS Centre collecting, cataloguing and indexing the agricultural literature published in Cyprus and also the national CARIS Centre collating information on on-going research. All this information is supplied to FAO for inclusion in the global data bases of the AGRIS and CARIS systems. ARI has been nominated as the responsible agency to implement the Farm Accountancy Data Network (FADN) according to EU Council Regulation 79/65/EEC.

Since its establishment, the Institute cooperates closely with national regional and international organizations and networks including FAO, the International Atomic Energy Agency, the International Centre for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas, the International Potato Centre, the CIHEAM, AARINENA etc. As a consequence of Cyprus accession to the EU, its cooperation with EU member countries is expanding rapidly.

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