Cypriot farmers descend in droves upon Nicosia this week to protest against a long-delayed EU pesticide ban, with tractor drivers taking part in the demonstration and warning 79% of arable land would be lost.
A large demonstration on Monday has been scheduled by local farmers, who plan to drive a large convoy of tractors and pickup trucks through the streets of the capital, including the Presidential Palace and the EU House.
Protesters are calling on President Nikos Christodoulides to join them against an EU proposal that would drastically reduce the use of previously approved conventional pesticides in Natura areas and places near rivers, dams, and built-up locations.
The demonstration comes after EU court decisions stopped temporary exemptions for banned pesticides, a decision essentially bringing Cypriot derogations to an end.
Local farmers say food sovereignty would be seriously compromised if the ban is implemented, citing huge areas of land that would become prohibitively expensive for local farmers to farm.
According to a farmer representative who spoke on radio, 79% of arable land would be lost if the proposal were to go forward.
But an EU report earlier this year found some member states systematically relied on such derogations year after year while failing to implement integrated pest management techniques.