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19 May 2015
Beekeepers protest over killer birds

By Andria Kades

A protest organised by the Cyprus Beekeepers Association (CBA) held outside the agriculture ministry on Monday was “pointless”, said Agriculture Minister Nicos Kouyialis.

“While the solution of the problem has already been put forward, they are just troubling our fellow citizens and causing a financial burden for policing this event,” he said.

Members of the association were protesting against the ministry which they said was not doing enough to tackle industry problems, including the €1.5m they say they have lost because bee-eaters – a type of bird – have destroyed their bees.

Following the protests, Kouyialis said he would meet with the CBA on Wednesday. He stressed he had sent them a letter on May 15 outlining that for the first time the ministry would spend €1.6m over the next five years to fund agricultural and environmental programmes to help beekeepers. No specific mention was made of any measures against bee-eaters.

This however did not seem to satisfy the protestors who argued they were promised a solution this month but had yet to see any results.

The protest began at 10am and finished by 5pm, with members travelling from Limassol, Paphos and Larnaca. The march started from the GSP stadium in Nicosia and proceeded towards the presidential palace.

Early in the morning, there were fears protestors would block the road at the roundabout however “the aim was not to trouble people” said CBA leader Charalambos Christodoulou. Traffic police were present all day to avert any problems. No major issues were reported.

Protesters then proceeded to the agriculture ministry to form a human chain. They were met with a representative from the government who gave them the same letter they were sent on May 15.

A sister organisation, the National Movement of Professional Beekeepers did not participate in the protest, saying they were satisfied with the measures outlined in the minister’s letter.