Cabinet on Friday approved the implementation of a National Strategy for mountain communities.
The Strategy aims to breathe new life into the Troodos area, create jobs, promote tourism and support agriculture and cottage industry.
“It will not only revive the wider area of Troodos but it will also be an example for the development of the rest of the rural areas of Cyprus,” Government Spokesman Prodromos Prodromou said following cabinet’s decision on Friday.
Prodromou said that the Strategy will get underway this year with a time frame to be completed until 2030.
More details about the policies involved will be revealed during a press conference, the Spokesman said.
According to Phileleftheros, the 250 point Strategy aims to bring better quality of life for the 30,000 residents of the Troodos Mountains communities, and stem rural depopulation.
The plan includes an innovative approach to farming and livestock breeding, creates a new model for tourism and introduces life-long learning. Other aspects cover the environment, water resources, health and accessibility. On the infrastructure side it includes actions for waste management, the road network, energy and health.
It will contribute to the creation of 350 new jobs in agriculture – 200 of them as part of the young farmers programme and 256 jobs in cottage industries.
Some 60 cottage industries will be created or modernised, including 10 wineries.
Employment in the tourism sector will rise to 600 – in 72 tourism related companies that will be set up or modernised, 80 catering business and hotels.
Environment services will create another 70 jobs and support services for the programme another 80.
Over the 10 years of 2020 to 2030, employment will rise to 1,375.
According to Phileleftheros, projections estimate population will rise by about 3000 in the same period, in part by successful stemming rural depopulation and encouraging young people to remain.
About 50% of the increase is projected to affect the mountain communities of Limassol, the Commandaria villages and the wine villages, parts of Pitsilia and the hilly areas of Morphou.
The remainder of Troodos (central Troodos, Marathasa, north west Pitsilia and Solea) estimates are for an increase in population of between 10.2% and 17.5%.
The mountain communities have been fighting to stem a depopulation trend which has since the number of residents halve in the period of 1980 to 2010. Today, 20% of communities have no young people under 24.
The government has brought in experts to draw up a plan and appointed a commissioner for the mountain communities. And in April cabinet approved a €5m special support scheme for permanent residents of 110 mountain communities.
A cottage industry area set up in Linos has attracted craftsmen and another is planned in Ayia Maria Xyliatos. Craftsmen areas are also planned in the Amiandos area using existing buildings.
Also under consideration is a 8km train link between Evrychou and Skouriotissa with its possible extension by another 7km to Galata. The proposed train link would cost €3.7m and be constructed in the period of 2020-2023, the newspaper said.
Feasibility studies are looking at telepheriques from communities to the Troodos summit, it added.
The population in the area currently numbers 27,695 residents. Of these 946 moved to the area after 2011 and 682 are under 40. Phileleftheros notes that 12.7% of the population are non Cypriots and are mostly settled in hilly Limassol.