Government Explores Aid to Mastic Farmers Following Devastating Wildfire



TEARS

On an official visit to the Aegean island of Chios, Rural Development and Foods Minister Vangelis Apostolou said the government will benchmark 500,000 euros to help promote and advertise mastic gum products following the devastating wildfire that swept through the island over the last few days. Noting the competitive potential of mastic gum cultivation endemic to Chios, Apostolou said the government notes that mastic production is a key tool for bringing income to the island.

Money will be given to mastic producers over the next five days, and funds will be given to repair storehouses and refrigerators of the mastic gum producers union. The government is also exploring other ways to compensate farmers for their loss, such as applying for assistance from the European Commission’s Solidarity Fund or through state support.

Apostolou said that the fire had swept through places already burnt in 2012, leaving 2,500-3,000 hectares bare of vegetation and causing damage to both mastic gum cultivation and other crops. Now, measures need to be taken to protect the environment such as through anti-flooding protection and other steps.