The first bicommunal olive oil festival will take place in Cyprus this weekend, bringing together Greek and Turkish Cypriot farmers. The “Let’s Grow Together” festival is supported by the EU funded project, “Crop Husbandry” and it is organized by SEKEP and ZEYBIR, the Greek and Turkish Cypriot olive oil producers associations.
“We hope that this meeting will be the beginning of a new cooperation between the two organizations that will contribute to the support of the Cypriot olive producers,” said Philippos Kamers, head of SEKEP.
Greek and Turkish Cypriot farmers and olive oil producers had worked together for many years in the past, until 1974. This event will allow them to move together towards a shared goal, establishing a Cypriot identity in olive oil products.
The festival will focus on shared issues between olive oil producers, such as finding new markets, growing new olive varieties and finding a solution for the issue of fruit flies (Dacus) which are plaguing Cyprus’ olive trees.
“We have the same problems, we share the same future, the solutions are identical and the problems we need to solve are in parallel with the same strategy,” said Irfan Çelik, head of ZEYBIR. According to Çelik, both Greek and Turkish Cypriot farmers need to come up with a common solution to this problem, in order to eliminate the threat in the entire country.
“The olive branch is a sign for peace; I believe it is the most powerful natural cement that brings us together for a more prosperous future” Çelik said.