Effects of land consolidation in Cyprus

The thesis is published in the Master Theses series and can be downloaded here

Introduction of the Thesis 
Land consolidation is an instrument contributing to the improvement of the various problems associated with agricultural holdings. These problems constitute an obstacle for the rational and effective utilisation of agricultural land. The main research question of this study is regarding the effects of land consolidation with Cyprus as the current site. Problems associated with agricultural holdings are a common feature all around the world. However, Cyprus is of special interest due to its location and land tenure structure characterized by small, irregularly shaped plots being highly dispersed as well as the lack of road access and multiple ownership, all problems imposing obstacles for efficient farming. Land consolidation is a measure used to promote rational, sustainable agricultural development and to create and protect areas of natural beauty and cultural significance. The aim of this study was to look at four different types of effects that may develop as a result of land consolidation measures, each research question representing one effect. The first out of four research questions was to look at social effects describing how land consolidation measures affects the relationship between the participants, and the relationship between the owners and their property. The second one is regarding the economic effects in order to find out how land consolidation contributes to changes in productivity, wealth and incomes. My two last research questions are associated with visual effects including the design of plots, infrastructure and effects on the cultural landscape. Land consolidation implementation in Cyprus is based on cooperation between the owners and the Land Consolidation Service with a main focus on the owners and their relationship to property. Social effects have more focus in Cypriot land consolidation compared to many other countries. Participants show signs of being satisfied due to the possibilities for participation, the abolishment of multiple ownership, bigger parcels and ownership areas. Today there are conditions facilitated for every single owner to be a full-time farmer. It turns out that owners are less attached to their land due to incomes being achievable on other markets as well. Land consolidation in Cyprus is a cost- and time-consuming process. Completing one project takes often up to 6-10 years. Systems and technology is not in place to adequately support the planner, no standard methodology for measuring land fragmentation is developed. Land consolidation has a distance-reducing effect on farming operation, resulting in a decrease in traveling-time and transportation costs. Increased specialization, use of mechanisation and a diversity of crops, do all contribute to improvements in the already existing conditions, a higher income and welfare. Efficient farming and an interest for full-time farming are achieved by the possibilities for increased incomes and productivity. Structural changes are done to the Cypriot land tenure structure. As a result of land consolidation measures, are irregularly, small, inefficient parcels with more or less no road access replaced by bigger parcels with a design more practical for efficient farming. In 2013 the enlargement of plot size more than doubled, amounted to be an increase of 103,13 %. An increase of 198,18 % of additional road network was stated the same year where every single plot had a road connected to their property. Pollution is still identified as a negative effect of the increased road network. Parcels under Turkish ownerships were earlier excluded from land consolidation measures but are today included in all projects resulting in more complete results. Mechanisation, specialisation and an increase in labour inputs have resulted in significant visual changes in the cultivation of the Cypriot landscape. Crop diversity and crop scheduling are identified as positive effects due to land consolidation implementation. Implementations of new irrigation systems are probably the most significant reason for these positive changes evolving. In 2010, olive trees contributed with 49,2 % of the total area for permanent crops with citrus fruits following with 15,9%. Landscape renovation plans and plans for protection of the environment are developed in order to protect flora and fauna, biotopes, cultural and physical features of the rural landscape. Land consolidation measures have contributed to a significant development within the agricultural sector in Cyprus. To find answers to my research questions a study trip to Cyprus was conducted in order to do observations and get access to documents, a visit resulting in exciting findings. These will be presented in the following chapters.

Published 25. January 2023 - 13:10 - Updated 25. January 2023 - 13:15