With its ever widening range of fruit and vegetables, Cyprus has quite justifiably gained a reputation in international markets as "the garden of the Mediterranean". Production of fruit and vegetables has been further enhanced by the completion of a massive irrigation scheme which has opened up an additional 40.000 acres of fertile coastal land.
Cyprus offers a full range of citrus fruit available from October to June, with many of the popular varieties of oranges, lemons, grapefruit and soft citrus.
The reputation earned by Cyprus for high quality oranges reflects decades of experience with this crop. The main varieties grown are Navel, Oval and late Valencia. The fact that Cyprus has been able to maintain and improve export volumes, underlines the careful husbandry and skilled marketing undertaken by the growers.
Cultivation of lemons is steeped in the history of Cyprus. The high demand for the preferred thin-skinned, juicy Cypriot lemons has ensured that the Island maintains its place as a major winter and spring supplier.
The Cyprus grapefruit has a high juice and sugar content which is the result of virtually perfect growing conditions. New plantations have been established and Cyprus has now an export capacity for both white and red flesh grapefruit varieties.
Originally based on Clementines, Cyprus has had a long experience in soft citrus growing. The increasing demand for easy peelers in world markets has encouraged the expansion and adaptation of citrus production with particular emphasis on Nova as well as the Mandora and Minneola hybrids.
In recent years there has been a major expansion in out of season salads and vegetables. Particular success has been achieved in specialized items such as aubergines, courgettes, okra, methi, coriander, taro, chillies, purslane, beans, spinach, parsley and many others. The transportation of vegetables is effected by air or refrigerated trucks to safeguard the freshness and high quality of the products.
Due to the favourable climatic conditions, Cyprus is an ideal location for growing fresh aromatic herbs. Most of the herbs grown are indigenous to the Island and can be found in the wild. The plentiful sunshine and scarcity of rainfall ensure the strongest aroma of Cyprus herbs. A wide range of fresh cut herbs is exported including basil, sage, rosemary, marjoram, thyme, mint, anise, dill, daragon and others upon request.
Potatoes are by far the most important agricultural product exported from Cyprus. All potatoes exported are grown in the southeastern coastal region of the Island, known for its distinct red soil. The virtually frost free environment and the deep red soil amply supplied with water, creates ideal conditions for the production of high quality potatoes.
The varieties grown are extremely versatile and can be used for consumption as well as industrial purposes. Cyprus grows several varieties of red soil potatoes. The main varieties are Spunta, Diamant, Cara, Nicola, Marabel, Marfona, Filea, Liseta, Sieglinde and Charlotte.
A Government inspection service works closely with both producers and exporters to ensure that strict international standards are maintained. All exports conform to EU regulations and the produce is subjected to inspection at packing house level and ports, before the necessary phytosanitary and inspection certificates are issued.