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Title: Notes on Agriculture in Cyprus and Its Products
Author: Bevan, William
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Director of Agriculture, Cyprus


All Rights Reserved



  I. GENERAL      3

  Geographical Features, 3; Climate and Rainfall, 4;
  Administration, 5; Weights, Measures and Currency,


  General, 6; Land Tenure and Labour, 6; Tithes and
  Taxation, 7; Credit and Agricultural Societies, 8;
  Irrigation, 8; Agricultural Implements, 10; The
  Agricultural Department, 12; Fungoid Diseases and
  Insect Pests, 14

  III. LIVE STOCK      16

  Cattle, 16; Sheep, 17; Goats, 18; Pigs, 19; Camels,
  20; Horses, 20; Donkeys, 20; Jennets and Mules,
  21; Poultry, 22; Preserved Meats, etc., 23


  Milk, 23; Cheese, 24; Butter, 27; Xynogala or
  Yaourti, 27; Trachanas, 28; Kaimaki or Tsippa, 28


  CEREALS      28

  Wheat, 31; Barley, 32; Oats, 34; Rye, 35; Maize
  (Indian Corn), 35; Dari or Millet (Sorghum
  vulgare), 35

  FRUITS      35

  Vines and Wines, 36; Citrus fruits, 43; Fig (_Ficus
  Carica_), 44; Cherries, 45; Banana, 46; Azarol
  Hawthorn, 46; Melons, 47; Date Palm, 47

  NUTS      48

  Hazelnuts and Cobnuts or Filberts, 48; Walnuts,
  49; Almonds, 49; Spanish Chestnut, 50; Pistacia
  spp., 50

  VEGETABLES      52

  Beans and Peas, 53; Potatoes, 55; Kolakas (_Colocasia
  antiquorum_), 56; Onions, 56


  Carob Tree, 57; Lucerne (_Medicago sativa_), 61;
  Vetch (_Vicia Ervilia_), 62; Chickling Vetch
  (_Lathyrus sativus_), 62; Vetch (_Vicia sativa_), 62;
  Tares (_Vicia tenuifolia var. stenophylla_), 63; Milk
  Vetch (_Astragalus_), 63; Moha, Sulla (_Hedysarum_),
  63; Teosinte (_Reana luxurians_), 64; Sudan-grass,
  64; Teff-grass (_Eragrostis abyssinica_), 64; Mangold
  Wurzel, 64; Prickly Pear (_Opuntia_), 65

  SPICES      65

  Coriander Seed, 65; Aniseed, 66; White Cumin
  Seed, 66; Black Cumin Seed, 67


  Origanum Oil, 67; Marjoram Oil, 69; Laurel Oil, 69;
  Otto of Roses, 69; _Acacia Farnesiana_, 70


  Olives, 71; Sesame Seed, 74; Ground Nut, Peanut
  or Monkey Nut (_Arachis hypogæa_), 75,; Castor-oil
  Seed, 76

  FIBRES      77

  Cotton, 77; Flax and Linseed, 82; Wool, 83; Hemp,
  84; Silk, 85; Mulberry, 91; Agaves and Aloes, 91;
  Broom Corn, 92

  TOBACCO      92


  Sumach, 97; Valonea, 98; Acacia Barks, 98;
  Madder, 99


  Liquorice Root, 99; Pyrethrum, 100; Squill, 101;
  Colocynth, 101; Asphodel, 102


  Bee-keeping, 102; Basket-making, 104; Fruit and
  Vegetable Preserving, 104







  II. AGRICULTURAL IMPLEMENTS                                         12

  III. FIG. 1. NATIVE BULL                                            16

  III.  "   2. NATIVE RAM                                             16

  IV.   "   1. CYPRUS PONY                                            20

  IV.   "   2. CYPRUS DONKEYS                                         20

  V.    "   1. CARTING CORN                                           29


  VI. PRUNED OLIVE-TREES AT METOCHI OF KYKOS                          72

  VII. FIG. 1. CYPRIOT EARTHENWARE BEEHIVES                          103

  VII.  "   2. SHIPPING FRUIT AT LARNACA                             103



_Director of Agriculture, Cyprus_

The intention of these notes is to make available to those interested in
the agriculture of Cyprus some of the information scattered in various
reports, leaflets and correspondence not readily accessible to the
general public.

It has long been a matter of regret to the writer that the valuable
stores of information collected with so much care and ability by the
late Mr. Panayiotis Gennadius, formerly Director of Agriculture in
Cyprus, through having been published in Greek only, have remained
beyond the reach of many who might otherwise have derived benefit from a
study of his works. His writings on the general agriculture of the "Near
East" are voluminous and comprehensive, and show an intimate knowledge
of the subject as well as of the practices and customs of agriculturists
in these regions. The results of his labours are mainly embodied in his
_Helleniki Georgia_ and his _Phytologikon Lexicon_, both of which are
works of recognised authority. During his eight years (1896-1903) spent
in Cyprus Mr. Gennadius devoted himself specially to a study of the
agricultural conditions and needs of the Island, and the notes and
reports made by him have been, to a large extent, taken as the basis of
the present Notes.

During the sixteen years since he left the Island many changes have
taken place, and the more receptive and enlightened attitude of the
rising generation of farmers has helped to bring about various
improvements, and a greater readiness has been shown to adopt modern
methods. In compiling the present Notes I have drawn freely from the
articles which have appeared for many years in the _Cyprus Agricultural
Journal_ (formerly _Cyprus Journal_), the official publication of the
Agricultural Department, and which I have edited; I have also taken
advantage of the very admirable and reliable information contained in
the _Handbook of Cyprus_, edited by Messrs. Lukach and Jardine.


I am greatly indebted to the willing assistance of Mr. Procopios
Symeonides, Inspector of Agriculture, whose thorough acquaintance with
local conditions and usages has enabled him to contribute much useful
and informative material. I have also to offer my acknowledgments to
Messrs. M. G. Dervishian, C. Pelaghias, Z. Solomides, G. Frangos, A.
Klokaris, A. Panaretos and others who have kindly supplied me with data
of various kinds.

It will scarcely be necessary to add that little more than a summary of
the agricultural practice and resources of the Island has here been
attempted, and in no sense does it pretend to be anything more. The aim
has been to give the reader a general idea of what Cypriot agriculture
is and, to some extent, what it is capable of doing.


[Footnote 1: Reprinted from the BULLETIN OF THE IMPERIAL INSTITUTE,


_Geographical Features_

The Island of Cyprus is situated in the innermost basin of the
Mediterranean Sea; about 40 miles distant from the Asia Minor coast on
the north, and about 60 miles from Syria on the east, and 238 miles from
Port Said to the south. It is the third largest island in the
Mediterranean, ranking next to Sicily and Sardinia. The larger part of
the Island is in the form of an irregular parallelogram, 100 miles long
and from 30 to 60 miles broad; while on the north the eastern extremity
runs out beyond this into a peninsula 40 miles long by 5 to 6 miles
broad. The total area is 3,584 sq. miles. The main topographical
features are the northern and southern mountain ranges running east and
west and enclosing the great plain of the Messaoria. The mountains of
the northern range are of an altitude ranging from 2,000 ft. to over
3,000 ft., the highest point being Buffavento, 3,135 ft.; those of the
southern range are more lofty and culminate in Mt. Olympus, 6,406 ft.
above sea-level. The rivers are nearly all mountain torrents, and are
dry from about July to November or December.

The area of cultivated land is approximately 1,200,000 acres, and that
of the uncultivated land 1,093,760 acres, of which about 450,000 are
forest land and 320,000 are susceptible of cultivation. The Messaoria
plain is the great corn-growing area.

_Climate and Rainfall_

There are considerable extremes of temperature in the plains. In summer
it is very hot and dry with temperature ranging during June to September
from 80° to 110° Fahr., while in winter slight frosts not infrequently
occur. The climate is more equable, but also more humid, along the
coasts. In the plains there is, during the greater part of the year, a
marked variation between the day and night temperatures.

Official records show that for a period of thirty-two years up to 1915
the average rainfall for hill and plain for the whole Island
approximated to 20 inches. Up to 1902 records were kept only in the six
district towns, but since then there have been some fifty recording
stations. The mean rainfall during the winter months for the twelve
years ended 1914 was 18.55 inches. That for the whole year during the
latter period was 21.18 inches.

The incidence of rainfall, apart from its volume, is of importance. It
is on the rainfall of the six winter months, October to March, that the
prosperity of the Island depends, and any shortage during this period
cannot be balanced by heavier summer rains, which are more liable to
cause harm than good, by damaging the corn lying on the threshing-floors
and by causing sudden floods.

Much importance attaches to the rains in March, without which the grain
crop, however ample the earlier rains may have been, will not be
satisfactory, as described in a maxim which I have attempted to render
in English.

  If twice in March it chance to rain,
    In April once, a shower in May,
  In weight in gold of man and wain,
    The farmer's crops are sure to pay.
  If roads are dry at Christmas time,
    But Epiphany finds both mud and slime,
  And at Carnival they still hold many a pool,
    The farmer finds his barns quite full.


The Island is administered by a High Commissioner. There is an Executive
Council and a Legislative Council consisting of six official members and
twelve elected members, of whom three are elected by the Moslem and nine
by the non-Moslem inhabitants. The Island is divided into six districts,
in each of which the Executive Government is represented by a

_Weights, Measures and Currency_

Nearly everything except corn, wine, oil, carobs, cotton and wool is
sold by the oke.

An oke, dry measure, equals 400 drams, or 2-4/5 lb.

The liquid oke is reckoned as equivalent to a quart.

Grain is measured by the kilé, regarded as equal to a bushel.

Wool, cotton and oil are sold by the litre of 2-4/5 okes, but commonly
reckoned as 2-1/2 okes.

Carobs are sold by the Aleppo cantar of 180 okes. This cantar is further
divided into 100 litres of 1 oke and 320 drams each.

Wine is sold by the kartos = 4 okes, the kouza = 8 okes, and the gomari
= 128 okes.

1 kilé of wheat weighs 20 to 22 okes.

1 kilé of barley weighs 14 to 18 okes.

1 kilé of oats weighs 13 to 14 okes.

1 kilé of vetches weighs 23 to 24 okes.

1 sack of straw weighs about 40 okes.

1 camel-load of straw weighs about 200 okes, consisting of 2 sacks, each
weighing about 100 okes.

_Measures of Length_

Metron or metre.

Yarda or yard.

Pic = 2 ft. or two-thirds of a yard.

Inch = English measure.

The land measure is the donum (called by the villagers "scala"), but it
is very uncertain, and varies in different parts of the Island. As
recognised by law, 1 donum, called "tappoo donum," equals 60 pics = 40
yards square = 1,600 square yards, or 14,400 sq. ft.; 3.025 of these
donums go to the acre. There is also a farmer's, or "reshper" donum,
which is commonly used by agriculturists and is equal to about 1-1/2
Government donums. For general purposes a legal donum is about one-third
and a Cypriot farmer's donum about one-half of an acre. "Stremma" is
also a synonym for the farmer's donum, or scala, although its actual
measure is very much less.


£1 = 20 shillings or 180 copper piastres.

1 shilling = 9 copper piastres.

1 cp. (copper piastre) = 40 paras.



Agriculture is the main industry of the Island, which is favourably
situated for the markets of Egypt, Syria and Asia Minor, although the
former is practically the only buyer of its perishable produce. During
recent years the Cypriot agriculturist has come to realise more and more
the value of the Egyptian market and a considerable trade with that
country has grown up.

_Land Tenure and Labour_

The small farmer mostly cultivates his own land, whereas the large
landowner rarely does. The metayer, or metairie, system is fairly
common, and has much to recommend it when honourably carried out by both
parties, but it is open to very serious abuse.

Under this system the one party, or contractor, gives the seed and often
lends the cattle. A valuation of the latter is made at the time of
entering into the agreement, and a re-valuation is made on termination,
any depreciation being made good by the other party, or metayer. The
latter finds the necessary labour and feeds the animals and pays an
agreed rate for their hire. The crops, after deduction of Government
tithe, are usually divided equally between both parties, but the
conditions vary according to circumstances and the nature of the crops

If cultivated land be given to the partner, such land must be returned
to the contractor in the same state of cultivation as received, or the
contractor, at his option, may claim the return of the seed his partner
received with it.

There are also a considerable number of leaseholders paying a fixed
rent. The monasteries are the largest landowners, and both cultivate
their own land and let out portions to the monks or to private farmers.
Much land is also held by the Church, and this is frequently let out on
a yearly lease, with the result that it is badly farmed and speedily
worked out.

The country is rather sparsely populated by about 275,000 inhabitants,
and although the cultivators are laborious when working for themselves
and when free from the hands of the usurers, they are still very
backward in their methods and appliances. A less conservative attitude
has of late been observed, and a greater readiness has been manifested
in seeking and following the advice of the Agricultural Department.
There is a great amount of indebtedness among the peasantry and usurious
practices abound. This undoubtedly checks progress, as few of the
smaller farmers are free agents. The matter has lately been the subject
of a special Commission appointed by Government. Laws have this year
(1919) been passed by the Legislative Council dealing with usury and

_Tithes and Taxation_

The tithe, which forms the principal source of Government revenue, is
one-tenth of the produce of the land on wheat, barley, oats, vetches,
rye and favetta, measured on the threshing-floors and delivered in kind
at the Government Grain Stores. Certain allowances are made to the
tithe-payers for transport. In the case of carobs, which are also
subject to this tax, the tithe is taken in money from exporters at the
Custom House at the rate of 9 cp. (1s.) per cantar from the districts of
Nicosia, Larnaca and Limassol, and 8 cp. per cantar from the other three

There are certain export dues, in lieu of tithe, payable on the
following commodities: Aniseed 33 cp., cotton 55 cp., linseed 18 cp.,
mavrokokko (black cummin) 7 cp., and raisins 10 cp. per 100 okes; silk
cocoons 6-3/4 cp., wound silk 18 cp., silk manufactured by other than
hand looms 18 cp. per oke.

An annual tax is levied of 3-3/4 cp. per head on every sheep and of 5
cp. per head on every goat one year old and upwards, and of 4-1/2 cp.
per head on every pig over three months old.

_Credit and Agricultural Societies_

The spirit of co-operation has hitherto been singularly lacking, but
there are signs that a change is in progress and that, with proper
guidance, the cultivators will ere long come to realise the advantages
of combined effort in the production and distribution of their crops.

The establishment of village co-operative Credit Societies has long been
advocated, but although a law was passed in 1913 for this purpose, there
has so far been little practical outcome. Co-operation in its full
modern significance is not yet understood; but one or two little village
co-operative banks have nevertheless been started and show encouraging

There are also a few small village agricultural societies springing up,
which, if properly conducted, may prove the pioneers of a general
movement in this direction. The existence of such societies would
greatly facilitate the work of the Agricultural Department, which would
be able to influence and assist farmers through their societies, whereas
now it is often not possible to reach them individually.


The most common method of raising water is by means of primitive
water-wheels or "alakatia," often described as "Persian wheels" and
resembling the "sakia" of Egypt. By these the water is carried in
earthenware cups attached to the rim of a large vertical wooden wheel
fixed in the mouth of a well and made to revolve by a mule or donkey by
means of a horizontal wheel and beam, or by modern air-motor. Myrtle
branches are mostly employed for attaching the cups to the wheels, as
these are pliable and resist the action of water.

These "alakatia" were formerly made entirely of wood, but in the
nineties, iron ones ("noria") were introduced from Greece, and these
have become fairly general, and are gradually supplanting the older
types. They have the advantage of being more durable and lighter to
work. Good iron wheel wells are now locally made. Water-wheels of this
description cannot be used for raising water from a depth of more than
ten fathoms below the surface of the ground.

Of late years a large number of air-motors of Canadian pattern have been
introduced and are found satisfactory.

There is abundant evidence in the remains of old disused Venetian wells
and cisterns that in pre-Turkish times, when the country was far more
densely populated than at present, a larger quantity of underground
water was utilised than now. Abundant subterranean water for
agricultural and gardening purposes is to be found in almost all the
coast lands as well as in many parts of the interior. Such waters are
either brought to the surface along subterranean channels or by means of
wells, and, for the most part, have their origin in the mountain ranges,
specially in the southern range, which is the rainy region of the

Artesian well-boring experiments have been made in recent years in
different parts of the Island, but without substantial results. In the
Famagusta district large reservoirs were constructed several years ago
for impounding the surplus water of the rivers of Pedias and Ialias, but
these have only been very partially successful as the water is mostly
lost before it reaches them.

A satisfactory solution of the water problem is of supreme importance to
the Island. There are large fertile areas which every year remain
fallow, but which, if capable of irrigation, would grow excellent cotton
and other summer crops, thus providing a better system of rotation.
Vegetable growing and fruit culture could then also be very greatly

_Agricultural Implements_

_Ploughs._--The old wooden plough of the East is still the common plough
of the country (see Plate I, fig. 1). Efforts were made from 10 to 15
years ago to introduce iron ploughs by selling them through the
Agricultural Department at half the cost price and even less.
High-water mark was reached in 1908 when 102 of these ploughs were so
sold. These were much approved of, and the further sale was then left in
the hands of merchants. The demand at once fell off and since then only
a few have been introduced. For a year or two a certain number of iron
ploughs of Russian make were imported and sold through the Jewish
settlement at Margo.

There is now a considerable demand which it may be possible to satisfy
when normal conditions are resumed. There is some prejudice against
English-made ploughs on the score of weight, as they are mostly heavier
than those of French, Russian, Greek and American make.

_Harrow._--The native harrow, "saraclo," is a wooden beam about 10 ft.
long by 12 to 18 in. broad and 3 in. thick, on which the labourer stands
as it is drawn over the newly sown land. It is ineffective inasmuch as
it does not break the clods, but merely presses them into the ground.
Iron-toothed harrows and spring-toothed harrows have been lent by the
Department for demonstration purposes to different persons, and these,
particularly the second kind, have found favour and are likely to be in
demand for covering the sown seed. The usual method is to cover the seed
with the native plough, but the European harrow is seen to do the work
more effectively and with a great economy of time.

Among the more common agricultural tools of native pattern are the
following (see Plate II):

_Tsappa_ (hoe).--The wider tool, 5 in. to 6 in., is mostly for garden
use; the narrow tsappa, about 3 in. wide, is for field work.

_Skalistiri._--A kind of small tsappa, 2 in. wide, having two prongs 4
in. to 5 in. long at the opposite end. It is mostly used for hoeing

[Illustration: PLATE I.

Fig. 1.--Ploughing on a Mountain-side with Native Plough.

Fig. 2.--Newly-prepared Beds in Experimental Gardens.]

_Xinari_ (axe or hatchet).--One end of the implement is a sort of
hoe, and the other end is shaped like a mattock. Used for cleaning off
weeds, shrubs, etc., from the fields; also for cutting or splitting

_Kouspos._--These are of two kinds. The larger is used like a tsappa,
but in stony or rocky places; the smaller is the tool used by
well-sinkers. It can be conveniently handled in a confined space.

_Karetta_ or _Cart_.--This has almost entirely superseded the old
Cypriot type of cart, but the latter may yet be seen very occasionally
in the Karpas and possibly in the Paphos district. It is still in use in
some parts of Anatolia. In its construction no iron nails are needed.

_Doukani._--The common threshing-board (see under "Cereals," p. 29).
This is the primitive implement handed down from classic times and
generally seen throughout the East (see Plate V, fig. 2).

_Thernatchin._--A wooden shovel used for winnowing grain. It is deeply
serrated, or divided, into 5 or 6 triangular-shaped teeth.

_Arvalin._--A corn sieve. A goat's or sheep's skin, perforated with
holes, is stretched across a round wooden frame, 12 in. to 18 in. in
diameter. Instead of a skin, leather thongs or gut are stretched,
crosswise on the frame. Perforated tin is now sometimes employed. These
sieves are used for cleaning grain after winnowing.

_Arkon._--Another kind of sieve, similar to the above, but with smaller
holes for sifting fine seeds, dust, etc. Mostly made of skin, but now
tin is being used.

_Patourin._--A similar sieve, used for still finer work.

_Skala._--An iron dibber, fitted with two wooden handles, used for
planting vine cuttings.

Some advance has been made of late in cleaning the land, but foul land
is pretty general. Squills, thistles, thorny bushes, and so forth
abound; these are mostly deeply rooted, drought-resistant plants, and
the labour required for uprooting them is not forthcoming.

There are a fair number of reaping machines now in use, but little care
is bestowed on them, and when slightly out of order they are often put
aside as useless. More enlightened ideas are now prevailing, and the
abundant crops of the last few years have created a strong desire for
more reapers and also for threshing machines, of which there are at
present barely half a dozen in the Island.

_The Agricultural Department_

The Agricultural Department was established on a small scale in 1896,
under the direction of Mr. P. Gennadius. It continued much on its
original lines until 1912, when its establishment was enlarged, and the
Government Farm and the Veterinary Branch were attached to the
Department, and again in 1914 it underwent a further slight extension
which was necessarily checked by the war. There is now a staff of
inspectors, district overseers and agricultural demonstrators who are
occupied in continually travelling in the country, advising and giving
practical assistance to cultivators, lecturing on village wine-making,
poultry-keeping, bee-keeping, on the action to be taken against various
pests and so forth.

There are some eight Government Nursery Gardens in the districts from
which large numbers of trees, plants and seeds are issued. A system of
Model Orchards and Vineyards, newly started, is giving satisfactory
results. These are intended to assist those engaged in the production of
fruit and vegetables, for which an unlimited market is close at hand in

Seventy School Gardens are in existence throughout the Island under the
guidance and control of the Department. By their means many young fruit
trees and other plants and seeds are annually distributed at low rates,
better methods of cultivation and new kinds of vegetable and fodder
plants are being made known, and the village boys are being taught
something about the work on which they will later depend for their

[Illustration: PLATE II.

_Agricultural Implements._

1, Arvalin for barley and oats. 2, Arvalin for wheat and vetches. 3,
Shovel for winnowing. 4, Thernatchin. 5, Arkon. 6, Patourin. 7, Tsappa,
narrow, for field use. 8, Tsappa, wide, for garden use. 9, Xinari. 10,
Kouspos. 11, Skalistiri.]

An Agricultural School for the sons of farmers was opened at Nicosia in
1913 under the direction of the Agricultural Department. Some twenty to
twenty-five lads between sixteen and twenty years of age, both Greeks
and Moslems, receive a two-year course of instruction with a view to
fitting them to cultivate their own properties later. A few of the more
promising students have been retained as student-labourers in the
Department, after the termination of their school course, and of
these again a few have been given minor appointments in the Department.
A scheme for training young Cypriots abroad, which was in abeyance
during the war, makes it possible to give the more capable of these some
further training in Europe in the higher branches of agriculture. It is
hoped, by this means, to form a group of native experts from among whom
the technical staff of the Department can be recruited.

The Government Farm, Athalassa, though somewhat ill-placed for purposes
of education and demonstration, has done good work in improving the live
stock of the country, as evidenced at the Animal Shows held every year.
Periodical auction sales of Athalassa stock take place in the different

During the three years 1915-18, there were reared at the Farm and
distributed 41 cattle, 264 sheep, 8 donkeys, 332 pigs and 2 mules,
besides a considerable head of poultry.

The total value of the live and dead stock was estimated on March 31,
1918, at £3,128.

For breeding purposes there were 6 stallion horses, 8 jack donkeys, 8
bulls and 7 boars in 1917-18 stationed either at Athalassa or at the
stud stables which have been established in the districts. Some 30 cast
army mares have been obtained free of cost from the Remount Department,
Egypt, and have been lent out on contract to farmers for mule breeding.

During 1917-18 the Farm produced 169 cheeses and 1,036-1/2 lb. of
butter. In the winter of 1917-18 some 314 donums of land were under
cultivation, the chief crops being barley, oats, wheat and gavetta
(_Lathyrus sativus_).

The Veterinary Establishment provides for 1 Veterinary Surgeon, 2 Stock
Inspectors and 1 Veterinary Compounder. There is a good deal of endemic
contagious disease among the flocks and herds of the Island, mainly
anthrax and goat- and sheep-pox, and the Veterinary staff is kept busy.
Cattle plague is unknown in the Island.

Cattle breeding should become a paying industry when once the lesson of
proper feeding and management has been learnt (hitherto sadly neglected
by the Cypriot farmer), since Egypt provides a ready and remunerative

Perhaps no work is of more importance than that of combating the
numerous insect and other pests which every year cause heavy loss to the
agricultural community. The addition of an Entomological Laboratory and
the appointment of an Entomologist have enabled the Department to afford
relief to many cultivators, and a small but active entomological staff
are constantly engaged on various pest campaigns.

The Department possesses a small but well-equipped Chemical Laboratory
under the charge of an Agricultural Chemist. In the absence of any law,
the Department has, in the interests of importers and agriculturists
alike, offered its services for analysing and reporting upon samples,
sealing bags and giving advice as to the use of the different types, and
this action has been readily availed of. This in itself, however, is not
enough to check malpractices or safeguard the cultivators.

For the last four years the Department has had trial plots in which new
varieties of cereals and fodder plants have been experimentally grown
(see Plate I, fig. 2). The seed has been obtained from England, South
Africa, India and Australia, but so far none of the varieties have been
found in any marked degree superior to the native kinds. One or two
varieties introduced two years ago are promising, and when fully
acclimatised may be worth the attention of farmers. Experimental sowings
are often made in the villages when it is desired to bring any
particular crop to the notice of the agricultural classes.

The _Cyprus Agricultural Journal_, published quarterly in English, Greek
and Turkish, is the official organ of the Agricultural Department.

_Fungoid Diseases and Insect Pests_

The Cypriot agriculturist has to contend against the attacks of many
species of insects and a number of fungoid pests. Little could be done
to bring these under control until, in 1914, an Entomological Branch of
the Agricultural Department was established. Much valuable research and
descriptive work had been carried out by Mr. Gennadius, but no organised
field work could be undertaken until the last three or four years.

A detailed description of the numerous pests cannot here be given, but
the more important ones are enumerated below. Happily Cyprus is one of
the few Mediterranean countries which has not been invaded by

_Cereals._--_Æcophora temperatella_ (Limassol district only), smut and
rust, hessian fly (occasionally), grain weevils (_Calandra granaria_),
grain moth (_Sitotroga cerealella_).

_Carobs._--_Cecidomyia ceratoniæ_, scale (_Aspidiotus ceratoniæ_)
_Myelois ceratoniæ,_ borer (_Cossus liniperda_), _Oidium ceratoniæ_.

_Olives._--_Capnodium_, scale (_Lecanium oleæ_ and _Aspidiotus oleæ_),
aphis (_Psylla oleæ_), olive fly (_Dacus_ sp.), _Tinea oleela_ and
various borers.

_Citrus and other Fruit Trees._--Gummosis (Citrus and all stone fruits);
scale (all); ermin moth (apples, pears and plums); downy plant louse,
_Schizoneura lanigera_ (apples); aphides (almond, peach, plum and
apricot); _Tingis pyri_ (pears and apples); codlin moth, _Carpocapsa
pomonella_ (apples, pears, quinces and walnuts); peach leaf curl,
_Exoascus deformans_ (peaches); black aphis (peaches); Mediterranean
fruit fly, _Ceratitis capitata_ (all); mites, _Acarus_ sp. (all);
various borers, thrips, and barkbeetle (_Scolytids_).

_Vines._--_Oidium Tuckeri_, _Peronospora_, anthracnose, _Cladosporium,_
root rot, _Zygæna ampelophaga_, thrips, _Cochylis_, _Lita solanella_.

_Vegetables.--Peronospora infestans_ (potatoes), _Cladosporium_,
_Altica_, aphides, mole crickets.

Much damage is done to carobs by the large rat, _Mus Alexandrinus_.

The large fruit-eating bat is a great pest. Hornets attack all kinds of
fruits and cause much loss.

The chief cotton enemies are the cotton boll worm (_Earias insulana_),
aphides and _Capnodium_.

Locusts are no longer the formidable plague they were in the eighties.
They are limited almost to the Famagusta district, where they annually
breed and do a certain amount of damage to early cotton and to vegetable
crops. If not vigilantly kept under control they would quickly multiply
and become a serious danger.



The cattle of the country have been bred, until the last two or three
years, exclusively for draught purposes. Cattle breeding as a business
is unknown. Farmers, as a rule, aim only at raising a calf or two every
year in order to maintain one or more yokes of oxen. Some of the draught
animals are very fine (see Plate III, fig. 1, and Plate V, fig. 1).
These belong mostly to the monasteries; one animal exhibited at a recent
show measured over 17 hands. The race is presumably the result of many
crossings with imported breeds, but has acquired a definite type. The
cows are in colour and conformation not unlike Jerseys, but larger and
without the udder development of that breed. The oxen have mostly a more
or less pronounced hump, possibly acquired through many generations of
progenitors used exclusively for draught purposes. In some of the best
bulls this hump is particularly marked.

In 1912 some Devon bulls and cows were imported and a herd of this breed
was started at the Government Farm, Athalassa. An impetus was thus given
to breeding dairy cows, and a number of half- and three-quarter-bred
cows are now to be found, which command high prices for milking
purposes. The Devon bulls, however, have never come into favour among
farmers for raising draught cattle.

There was a fair export of cattle to Egypt before the war, a good
proportion of the animals being consigned to the Serum Institute, Cairo,
as Cyprus cattle, alone among the cattle in this part of the Levant,
have so far been free from plague.

The number of horned cattle in 1917 is officially given as 48,761.

The exports for the five years preceding the war were:

  Year.  Number.  Value.
  1909  2,357    11,314
  1910  4,240    20,218
  1911  9,664    44,871
  1912  5,751    34,303
  1913  3,017    20,110

[Illustration: PLATE III.

Fig. 1.--Native Bull.

Fig. 2.--Native Ram.]

There can be no question that if more attention were paid to growing
fodder crops, cattle breeding could be greatly increased, and a good
trade with Egypt might be done.

The establishment of the Athalassa Stock Farm has had a most useful
influence on the improvement of the live stock of the Island.

Beef has only lately become an article of food for the country people,
and is still so only on a small scale. The townspeople, having become
Europeanised to a greater degree than formerly, are now becoming beef
consumers, and the high price of beef has had a stimulating effect upon
breeding for the butchers. Before the British occupation the killing of
an ox for eating purposes was considered by many villagers an act of


Sheep rearing is an important industry in Cyprus. The sheep are of the
fat-tailed species and are allied, though superior to, the Afrikander
sheep. The total number of sheep in the Island in 1917 was 255,150.

They feed almost entirely by grazing, and wander, under the charge of
shepherds, over considerable areas in search of food, frequently in
company with goats. They are valued chiefly for their milk and meat;
their wool, though of moderate quality, is small in quantity. (See also
under "Dairy Produce," p. 23.)

Large numbers of sheep are killed annually for local consumption, and
there is a regular export to Egypt, as shown by the following pre-war

  Year.      Number.   Value.
  1904       13,923   10,544
  1905        8,816    7,572
  1906        5,427    5,470
  1907        2,859    2,699
  1908          849      835
  1909          976      716
  1910        3,905    3,064
  1911       18,143   12,311
  1912       17,611   13,731
  1913        7,920    6,724

Sheep-folding is practically unknown, and no crops are specially grown
as food for sheep. Occasionally they may get a little rovi (vetch), rovi
straw, lentil straw, favetta, pea-haulm or (in the hills) mavrachero
(tares). They suffer in years of drought, but on the whole thrive
wonderfully well on very scanty pasturage.

Good work has been done of late years in the improvement of Cyprus sheep
at the Government Athalassa Farm, and ewes and rams from the farm flock
are much sought after by sheep-owners, many of whom are making efforts
to ameliorate the breed. The question of providing suitable forage also
is not being lost sight of.


The goat has been a cause of much controversy for many years and a
source of discord between farmer and shepherd. Owing to the absence of
farm boundaries the herds of goats (and sheep) continually trespass on
the cultivated areas, and the shepherds are at little pains to restrain
them when there is a chance of the animals getting a good meal. Large
sums in the aggregate are paid by way of fines and damages, but the
shepherds evidently find that even so it is profitable to continue such

In consequence of the serious harm done every year in the State forests
by these animals, a law "For the gradual exclusion of goats from the
Island" was passed in 1913 and came into operation on August 1 that

As the subjoined table shows, the number of goats has decreased, but it
is doubtful how far this is due to the law, and how far to the losses
from goat-pox, which is very prevalent, and to the shipments for
military purposes during the war:

  Year.                            Head.
  1880                             210,736
  1890                             237,475
  1900                             243,397
  1910                             276,794
  1913 (when the law was passed)   242,524
  1918                             191,017

The goat is in many respects well suited to the Island, and provides the
villager with milk, cheese, meat, boots and manure. The animals cost
very little to keep--even apart from their depredations--and thrive,
especially in the hills, under conditions unsuited to sheep and cattle.
They are, however, great enemies to agriculture and forestry, and if
they are to be preserved in the Island, it is essential that both they
and the shepherds be brought under strict control.

In Cyprus most of the goats have very short hair, which cannot be shorn.
From this fact, and from the external shape of the animal, one may infer
that it is either a variety of the Anatolian breed modified by local
influences, or a hybrid of the Numidic and Anatolian breeds (see Plate
III, fig. 2). The Anatolian goat has long and more or less thick hair,
especially on the shoulders, sides and thighs, which, clipped in the
spring, yields a not insignificant income for the goat-breeder

The Cyprus goat gives on an average 150 drams of milk per day during a
period of say 150 days, or say, 50 to 60 okes per annum.

A good proportion have kids twice a year, and many give birth to twins.

The price of a goat varies considerably in different districts, and
before the war was from about 8_s._ to 20_s._ or 25_s._


The Paphos district and the Karpas end of the Famagusta district are
specially given to pig raising; but this animal is to be found fairly
well distributed all over the Island. The native pig is of inferior
quality, but a noticeable improvement, not only in pig breeding but in
pig rearing, has resulted from the introduction by Government of the
Large Black breed from England in 1907. This breed has become well
established at the Government Farm, Athalassa, and the progeny is now
well spread over the Island. The improvement resulting from crossing
with Government stock has been so unmistakable that there is now great
competition for them at all auction sales and high prices are given.
This increase in outlay on the part of farmers has led to greater care
in the feeding and management. They find that well-bred pigs come more
quickly to maturity, and that it pays to feed them well and not leave
them to forage for themselves as formerly. Excellent pork and bacon are
now procurable during the winter, and it may be hoped that pig breeding
in Cyprus has a good future before it.

The number of pigs counted in the spring of 1914 was 38,850, the third
highest number on record. Since then, owing to the prohibition of
export, breeding has been checked and the number declined, but now it
appears to be again on the upward grade.

Before the war there was an average annual export of about 2,000
animals; but there is now a better local market than formerly.


Camels are still used to a fair extent, and the breed is good, but owing
to the improvement in the roads and increased facilities for more rapid
transport, these animals are less in demand than formerly.


The native breed of horse is best seen in the Paphos pony, which though
small, about 13 hands, is remarkably strong and hardy (see Plate IV,
fig. 1). It is said that some eighty years or so ago the breed was
improved by the introduction of two Arab stallions from Turkey. A useful
stamp of pony mare is also to be found in the Karpas. A marked
improvement in the quality of the local horses took place from the
importation, some years ago, of English pony stallions; and more
recently a further advance has resulted from the addition to the
Government stud of the two famous English thoroughbred stallions
"Téméraire," by Greyleg out of Tereska by Isonomy out of Violetta by
Hermit, and "Huckle-my-buff," by Isinglass out of Snip by Donovan out of
Isabel (dam of St. Frusquin).


The Cyprian donkey at its best is a fine animal (see Plate IV, fig. 2).
It is the common beast of burden of the villager, and is capable of
carrying a load of from 160 to 224 lb.

A large number of donkey stallions have been exported to India,
Uganda, South Africa, Syria and Egypt from time to time, and the local
breed has no doubt suffered owing to the best jacks having left the
country. Although the villagers depend so much upon these animals, very
little care is taken by them, either in the matter of breeding, feeding
or proper management. The animals are mostly worked far too early, and
underfed, and the majority are consequently undersized and of poor
quality. Where good jacks are used, the progeny is generally
satisfactory, and at shows and fairs some fine specimens are usually
brought in. Owing to the increasing demand for jennets, the village
breeder is inclined to put his she-donkey to a pony stallion rather than
to a jack-donkey. The donkey mares range from 13 to 13.2 hands, with
girth measurement of 58 in. to 60 in. and shank 6-1/2 in. They have
great room, and are well shaped with a straight back and good quarters.

[Illustration: PLATE IV.

Fig. 1.--Cyprus Pony.

Fig. 2.--Cyprus Donkeys.]

It has been recommended that every encouragement should be given to the
production of good donkeys, from which the best mares could be selected
for mating with suitable pony stallions, such as the Exmoor and Welsh
cob, for the breeding of jennets; and at the same time an improvement in
the jacks would naturally follow.

_Jennets and Mules_

"Owing to the excellence of the Cyprus donkeys and the poor class of
Cyprus horses, the superiority of the 'jennet' (the result of mating the
pony stallion with the donkey mare) is very patent over the 'mule' (the
product of the donkey jack and the pony mare). The jennet of from 13.1
hands to 14.1 is doubtless the most paying animal that the Cyprus
villager or landowner can produce, and its excellence for army or
general pack purposes cannot be surpassed in any country in the world.
Therefore, in my opinion, it is to this class of animal that the most
encouragement in breeding should be given. To maintain the excellence of
the Cyprus jennet every help should be given to the breeding of big
donkeys, so that the plentiful supply of donkey mares of from 12.3 to
13.3 hands is available for mating with suitable imported pony
stallions, which should be placed by the Government at the breeders'

Both jennets and mules, indiscriminately called "mularia," are largely
used for transport purposes throughout the Island, and perform
practically all the carting work of the country, but, as explained, the
jennet is regarded as greatly the superior animal.


The ordinary barn-door fowl is met with in Cyprus, as everywhere else.
The local breed is a mixture of all the various races which have been
imported by private persons for many years past. The most general types
met with resemble the Leghorn and Ancona breeds.

The Island, owing to its climate and its corn production, is admirably
suited to the poultry industry, and a sure and profitable market in
Egypt can always be relied on. Something has been done of late years by
the introduction of Wyandottes, Langshans and Orpingtons which have been
bred by the Agricultural Department.

Proper poultry management among the villagers is practically unknown,
and until regulations can be made enforceable by law for the control of
poultry diseases and for the disposal of diseased carcases, poultry
keepers will continue to suffer heavy losses and the industry will not
prosper.[3] Lectures on poultry-keeping have been instituted in the
districts by the Agricultural Department, and it is hoped that these may
arouse some interest and lead to improvement.

Given the necessary guidance and control, the industry should have a
good future before it.

Turkeys are very plentiful and, except in the hills, are seen in nearly
every village. There are three varieties--the bronze, by far the most
general, the white, and a dark brown kind which is not common.

Ducks and geese do well at Kythrea, but elsewhere are little seen. At
this village, however, they are largely bred.

Pigeons also are fairly abundant, and as they mostly feed on a
neighbour's corn, they are considered profitable birds to keep.

_Preserved Meats, etc._

A good deal of meat and fat is pickled, dried and smoked for consumption
by the native population.

Hams and sausages are much eaten, the latter especially in the Karpas.
Among the various kinds of preserved meats may be specially mentioned
that known as "apokti." This is the salted and dried flesh of the
he-goat, which, when cooked, is much appreciated by the villagers. The
meat is sometimes minced, and after the addition of ground origanum
leaves and spearmint, is placed in jars and slowly cooked. It is said
that from 3,000 to 5,000 he-goats are annually slaughtered for making


[Footnote 2: Report by Captain Goodchild, Remount Department, E.E.F.,
when visiting Cyprus in 1916 and 1917 to purchase mules and donkeys for
army purposes.]

[Footnote 3: Legislation in this direction has been effected during the
session of the Legislative Council just ended. (Law No. VII of 1919.)]



Sheep and goats' milk is principally used for cheese and butter making.
Fresh milk of any kind is not much consumed by the native population,
although within the last few years the more well-to-do townspeople have
taken to drinking cows' milk, when obtainable, and it is in growing
demand in some country parts for invalids when prescribed by the local

The flavour of sheep and goats' milk is a good deal affected by the
herbage or shrubs on which they feed, and thus varies according to
locality. A characteristic odour is imparted, for instance, by the
alnifolia oak (_Quercus alnifolia_) and the cistus, which are common in
many parts of the Island, and the cheese and butter produced from such
milk are in better demand in the local markets. The places in which this
quality of milk is chiefly produced are the Paphos District, the
neighbourhood of Kykko and Troöditissa in the Troödos mountains, and
Akanthou to the north-east of the Island.

A considerable impetus has been given to the production and consumption
of fresh cows' milk by the establishment of a herd of Devon dairy cows
at the Government Farm, Athalassa. Cows of Athalassa strain fetch high
prices, as much as £80 having been given recently for a cow and several
others have changed hands at £50 to £60.


The Cypriot is a great cheese eater. The most popular and commonly made
cheese in Cyprus is that known as Halloumi; the next in order being the
Paphos and Akanthou cheeses, and then, in imitation of the Greek
cheeses, the Agrafa, Kefalotyri and Kaskaval, all of which are of a hard
kind, while there is a small production of the Greek soft cheeses Fetta
and Telemés.

There are no statistics as to production; the export figures in recent
years as given in the official trade returns are as follows:

  Year.       Quantity.   Value.
               _Cwts._       £

  1904       5,606       8,040
  1905       4,705       7,245
  1906       2,511       4,238
  1907       2,200       4,559
  1908       2,786       5,824
  1909       2,367       4,927
  1910       3,345       6,564
  1911       3,647       6,624
  1912       3,335       7,203
  1913       3,699       9,268
  1914       4,582      10,132

_Halloumi._--This cheese, though rather insipid, is very popular, and
forms a large part of the dietary of every household. It is easy to
make, needs no special appliances, and is almost entirely made by the
shepherds themselves. It is made either from sheep's milk only, or, in
the hills where goats are numerous, from sheep and goats' milk mixed, or
in some places from goats' milk only; especially is this so in the
mountains where sheep are not found. The two kinds of cheese, _i.e._
that made from sheep's milk and that from goats' milk, are easily
distinguished, as the former is rather soft and crumbly, while the other
is hard and separates out into flakes.

This cheese as it comes from the mould is in the form of a slab called
"kefali." This is then divided into four or more pieces.

There are two kinds of halloumi: one called "mona" (single), the other
"dipla" (double). The latter is most in demand. It differs from the
first in being finished off by being well hand-pressed, and then doubled
or folded over, salt and spearmint being sprinkled between the fold.

"Myzithra," or, as it is more commonly called, "anari," is a soft cheese
produced by boiling the whey, whereby all albuminoid substances not
previously coagulated are now coagulated and rise to the surface
together with any pieces of curd still remaining in the whey. A good
quantity of fat is also enclosed in the coagulated mass, which is placed
in rush moulds or in cloths and pressed so as to squeeze out the whey.
"Anari" thus made is specially known as "bastard," and is an excellent
soft cheese, very popular among the European residents as well as among
the native inhabitants.

A rather finer "anari" with slightly different flavour is made by adding
5 to 10 per cent. of pure milk. This added milk is known as "prosgalo."

Both kinds are dried in the sun.

From "anari" is made a kind of fat used as cooking butter, by crushing
and rubbing it between the hands in warm water. A thin paste is thus
formed from which a fat separates, which rises to the surface, and is
then collected.

_Paphos and Akanthou Cheeses._--These are prepared in much the same way
as "halloumi," but are made in smaller, barrel-shaped moulds, and are
steeped longer in the whey, which produces a rind and renders them
tougher and less liable to crack. They are well rubbed with salt. Their
characteristic flavour is doubtless due to some extent to the milk of
those districts, as explained above. Owing to their small size they
become very hard.

_Kefalotyri._--The best cheeses of this type are made with sheep's milk,
which is coagulated at its natural temperature immediately after
milking. Rennet is added so as to produce coagulation within an hour.
The cheeses are placed in moulds, pressed and salted. They are turned
and salted every day for a week; and this continues for two or three
weeks, until the cheeses cannot absorb more salt.

_Fetta._--The process for making this cheese is much the same as for
Paphos cheeses, but differs in regard to temperature. It is placed in
bags and hung up, or left in cheese cloths on the table to drain. It is
made up in 100 or 200 dram pieces, and turned and lightly salted for
three days; then placed in barrels filled with brine. This cheese ripens
in a few days. It is soft, and has a sharp, pungent flavour. It is the
first to come on the market. It is not consumed in Cyprus, but made
entirely for the Egyptian market, where it is much liked. Being soft, it
does not keep well, and should always be kept covered in brine. For
these reasons it is exported in small barrels of a gross weight of 40 to
50 okes. If care is taken in this respect, if all leaky barrels are kept
refilled and cool storage provided, it may be preserved for a year; but
these conditions are rarely fulfilled in Cyprus.

_Telemés._--This is another soft cheese, prepared in a similar manner to
"fetta," but it is cut into square blocks and placed not in barrels or
vats, but in tins which, when completely filled with cheese and brine,
are soldered down. This cheese is also made entirely for the Egyptian

_Kaskaval or Kaskavalli._--This is mostly made by cheese-makers who come
over from Greece or Turkey during the cheese-making season.

The curd, after the whey is drained off, is called "phlongos," and it is
almost always bought from the shepherds, each shepherd preparing it in
his own way. It is transported in baskets, sometimes a good distance, to
the cheese factory, or "kassaria," and these drawbacks, added to lack of
cleanliness, are the cause of much cheese of inferior quality being
produced which has no keeping properties and must be quickly consumed.

Having reached a pasty condition, the cheese is placed in reed or willow
baskets and immersed in either boiling whey or clean water and stirred
until the whole mass is transformed into "kossimari"; it is then cut
into pieces weighing one or two okes, and moulded by hand into a
globular form, leaving one slight depression called the "omphalos" or
navel. If not properly stored, this cheese soon dries and becomes rancid
or tasteless.

_Agrafa Cheese._--This is made entirely from sheep's milk. Coagulation
should be completed in 25 to 30 minutes. The cheese remains 20 hours in
the press. Salting lasts from 40 to 60 days, and the cheeses ripen in
four months. If well stored, the cheese may keep for two years.


Butter making is carried on to only a limited extent in Cyprus, and with
two or three exceptions is in the hands of shepherds, who use a
primitive conical-shaped churn, something after the Danish pattern.
Churning consists in beating up the contents of the churn with a stick,
to the end of which is fixed a round wooden disc 6 to 10 in. in
diameter, not unlike a piston in its action. Sheep's milk is mostly used
and, with a modern churn, this will yield 9 to 12 per cent. of fresh
butter. Goats' milk gives about 5 to 6 per cent. About half the above
quantities may be obtained with the older, native churn.

In the Near East (Greece, Turkey, etc.) fresh butter is not used in
cooking, as almost all cooked food is fried and butter containing the
least water and casein cannot serve the purpose. The pure fat must
therefore be extracted. Two methods are applied. The best is that of
plunging the tins containing the fresh butter into hot water which heats
the butter and sends the fat to the surface. It is then collected and
slightly salted. This has a good flavour and keeps well.

The second method is to place the fresh butter, or the residue from the
former process, into tin pans and boil until the water is evaporated,
when the albuminoids solidify at the bottom of the pans. The fat which
is then on the surface is ladled out. This is inferior in quality, and
has a disagreeable smell imparted by the albuminoids which come in
contact with the hot pan.

_Xynogala or Yaourti_

The former is the Greek, the latter the Turkish name for this
preparation of sour milk. Unlike fresh butter, it forms, in season,
part of the diet of almost every Cypriot household. It is now made in
England and sold as "Bulgarian milk" or "yaourti." It is in the form of
clotted cream, but if placed in a bag of fine cloth and if the whey is
left to drain off, it forms a thick paste, and has an excellent creamy
flavour, and is eaten in both cases either alone or, like Devonshire
cream, with stewed fruits, etc.


This is another favourite milk preparation, being a mixture of "yaourti"
and ground wheat made into a thick paste. This is sun-dried and makes an
excellent soup.

_Kaimaki or Tsippa_

This much resembles Devonshire clotted cream. It is the natural cream
formed after boiling the milk overnight and setting it in shallow pans
to cool. If the boiled milk is poured into the pans from a height, so as
to make a foam, a better result is obtained.



The Messaoria plain is the principal corn-producing area of the island.
Wheat, barley and oats are the chief cereals grown, and they are sown
more or less throughout the whole of Cyprus, nearly up to the summit of
Troödos, to an altitude of about 4,500 ft. Indian corn has been
cultivated for ten years or so, and is becoming more general both for
green food and for seed, and rye has begun to make its appearance during
the last few years. Dari is becoming more known.

The preparation of the land for cereals is as follows: About the middle
of January, when the land is soaked with rain, the fallow field ([Greek:
neasma] or [Greek: neatos]) is broken up, and in some cases sown with a
green fallow, and in March or April it is cross ploughed ([Greek:
dibolo]). If the autumn rains are early, the field is ploughed for a
third time ([Greek: anakomma]), after which the crop is sown; but if the
rains are late, the sowing is done on fields which have been cross
ploughed only. As a rule sowing begins after the autumn rains, and may
go on until January. But if rain does not come before the end of
October, many sow before the rain; and in many places farmers sow
regularly before, _i.e._ without waiting for the autumn rains. This
sowing is called [Greek: xerobola]. Lands flooded by a river or other
running water are called [Greek: potima] (_Handbook of Cyprus_, p. 154).
The sowing is done broadcast; the drill is not used.

[Illustration: PLATE V.

Fig. 1.--Carting Corn.

Fig. 2.--Threshing Corn with Native Threshing Board.]

Often, owing to want of sufficient hands and shortness of time or other
reasons, land which has been fallowed is sown without being first
ploughed up. This is called [Greek: eis to prosôpon], _i.e._ on the
surface, or face of the field. Again, a field which has had a corn crop
is sown the next autumn without ploughing; and this is locally called
"on the stubble."

It is not uncommon for the same land to be sown year after year with a
corn crop, with no rotation. This is especially the case with the deep
soils in the plains, known as "kambos," as contrasted with the shallow,
rocky soils called "trachonas."

At the time of harvest numbers of labourers, men and women, usually
arrive from Anatolia and Syria and find employment in the fields.

The threshing-floors are practically identical with those of Biblical
times. They are frequently paved with flag-stones, but as often as not
are merely levelled pieces of ground. On these the sheaves are opened
and spread out for the threshing. The threshing-board ([Greek: doukani]
or [Greek: doukanais]) is that referred to by Virgil as _tribulum_
(Georg. Bk. 1) and is merely a stout board, studded on the underside
with sharp flint stones (see Plate V, fig. 2). This is drawn round and
round over the spread-out sheaves by mules, donkeys or oxen, and affords
a pastime to old and young during the summer months. During the process
the grain is separated from the straw, and the latter is bruised and
partly shredded, and it is the rooted belief of the Cypriot farmer that
only in that condition will it be relished by and benefit the animals
which feed on it. The straw is then gradually cleared away and the grain
is winnowed by being thrown up in the wind with wooden shovels. The
grain is then heaped up and left until measured by the tithe official.
With the grain is also collected the sweepings of the threshing-floor,
and the percentage of the foreign substances mixed with the grain varies
from 5 to 15 per cent. There are a few winnowing machines and it is
hoped that they will come into more general use as soon as they can be

At Athalassa all cereal crops are reaped and threshed by machinery.

A good many reaping machines were imported by the Agricultural
Department some years ago for resale to the farmers, and there is a very
fair demand. This procedure has not been permitted for some years, and
the work fell into the hands of an English merchant who has succeeded in
placing a few machines every year. The country is ready to employ these
and other agricultural machines, but the farmers need guidance in the
choice of a machine and are reluctant to place orders through native
merchants, who may not know the best types to supply and whose profits
they fear to be exorbitant. If they could procure these through the
medium of the Agricultural Department they would be encouraged to make
considerable purchases. The loss of grain on the "aloni" alone may be
gauged by the current opinion that each pair of oxen consumes, while
threshing, one kilé of grain per day. Much damage is often caused by hot
westerly winds at the time when the grain is just forming.

In the absence of any law to prevent the adulteration of cereals,
dishonest practices are very frequent. A common method of adulteration
is to mix with the grain the joints of the straw which are cut during
the process of threshing and separated when winnowing. These are often
sprayed with water in order to increase both bulk and weight. The
moisture is absorbed by the grain, which thereby swells and is made to
look bigger.

Under the Seed Corn Law of 1898 the Government make advances of seed
wheat, barley, oats and vetches to cultivators under an agreement to
repay in kind after harvest a quantity of grain equivalent to the amount
of seed so advanced, together with an addition of one-fourth of the
quantity so advanced, by way of interest.

This benefit is very generally availed of by smaller cultivators. It has
not, however, been found possible for Government to keep separately the
various kinds and qualities of tithe corn, from which these advances are
made, and farmers frequently complain that the seed, so issued
promiscuously, is unsuitable to the land, aspect, or special conditions
on individual farms. Weevilled grain also is a source of trouble, and
farmers obtaining such seed advances must be prepared to run risk of
failure from this cause.

It is a well-known fact that cultivators often sell their seed corn so
advanced them, in order to buy some other corn known to them as more
suited to their land, and they are often justified, perhaps, in so

The issues are made by District Commissioners to selected applicants who
are believed to be unable to buy seed for cash. The average annual
issues, for the last five years, have been: wheat, 38,013 kilés; barley,
31,479 kilés.


In ancient times, when the population numbered about 1,100,000, the
Island was said to be self-supporting in the matter of wheat. Taking the
annual consumption of wheat per head of population at 8 bushels
(Gennadius's _Report on the Agriculture of Cyprus_, Part I, p. 8) and
after making an allowance for seed, the annual production would then
have been about 10,000,000 bushels. From British Consular Reports it
appears that in 1863 the average produce was reckoned at 640,000
bushels. The average annual production of wheat for the ten years ended
1913, as shown in Blue Book Returns, was 2,292,827 kilés. For later
years the figures are:

  Year.              Kilés.

  1914             1,924,336
  1915             1,761,501
  1916             1,524,484
  1917             1,782,800
  1918             2,424,570

Wheat is sown at the rate of 1 kilé per donum. The average yield per
donum is 6 to 10 kilés, and varies between 3 to 4 kilés on dry land in a
poor year, to 16 to 20 on the best lands in a good year. When rains are
very late and spring weather is unfavourable, a farmer often fails to
recover even the seed.

Much might be done to increase the yield by better methods of husbandry,
by the use of improved implements for cultivating and reaping, and by
the use of threshing machines. An immense quantity of grain is consumed
by birds (larks, sparrows, doves, etc.), which at times literally strip
the fields and continue their depredations on the threshing-floors.

Wheat is sown from October to December; a field which has had a winter
crop is pastured after the harvest until January; in January and
February it is broken up and cross ploughed and sown immediately after
with a spring or summer crop.

The crop is cut about May-June. It is cut with a sickle ([Greek:
drepani]), tied into sheaves, and carried on donkeys or small carts to
the threshing-floors. The sickle is larger than the European one, and is
often provided with bells ("koudounia" or "sousounaria") to frighten the
snakes, and the handles are ornamented with leather tassels.

Several varieties of wheat are grown in the Island, mostly of the hard
kinds, these being preferred by millers.

The following English varieties have been imported and tried during the
last four years: Improved Treasure, White Stand Up, and Improved Red
Fife. The two former failed, being too late in maturing; the latter is
still under trial, but it is not very attractive, being a late variety,
and it gives a smaller yield than the native kinds. The same remarks
apply to several wheats obtained from India and South Africa and which
are still under trial.


This crop is sown about the same time as wheat, if anything slightly
earlier; and it is ready for the sickle three or four weeks before
wheat. When the straw is short the plant is uprooted, not cut.

It is sown at the rate of 1 to 1-1/2 kilés to the donum, and may be
expected to yield from 10 to 15 kilés; but 30 kilés is not uncommon in
the plains, and even much larger yields have been recorded from time to

There are three native varieties, viz. the common 4-row, the ordinary
6-row and the Paphos 6-row barley, also grown around Davlos in the
north-east of the Island. The last-named is heavier than the two former
kinds. Little success has attended the introduction by the Agricultural
Department of "Prize Prolific," "Gold Thorpe" and "Chevalier," which
have been experimentally grown for the last three years. They mature
late and have not resisted severe drought. Their yield is small compared
with native barleys, although this may improve when they are fully

Barley is the staple food for all kinds of animals, pigs and poultry in
Cyprus, and it is often used for bread-making in years of wheat

The tithe is mainly exported to England, where it has a good name for
malting purposes, especially that produced in the Paphos district. It
has failed to attain the place it deserves on the English market owing
to the high percentage of dirt, etc., it mostly contains.

A sample of Cyprus barley examined at the Imperial Institute in 1914
proved to be of good malting quality, and similar material if marketed
in commercial quantities would be readily saleable in the United Kingdom
(see BULLETIN OF THE IMPERIAL INSTITUTE, vol. xii. 1914, p. 552).

A sample of naked or skinless barley from Cyprus has also been reported
on by the Imperial Institute. This type of barley cannot be employed for
malting for ordinary brewing purposes, but it was considered that the
Cyprus material might be used by distillers (who only require a
partially malted barley), and in any case the sample would rank as a
good class feeding barley (_ibid._ vol. xiv, 1916, p. 159).

The average annual production of barley, as shown by the Blue Book
returns, for the ten years ended 1913 was 2,449,285 kilés. For later
years the figures are:

  Year.  Kilés.

  1914      1,957,944
  1915      1,912,316
  1916      1,953,628
  1917      2,508,880
  1918      3,080,710

These figures should be contrasted with British consular estimated
average in the sixties of 960,000 bushels.


In Cyprus, oats are used on a far smaller scale than barley as food for
cattle, and they are unknown, except to a few townsfolk, as a food for
human beings.

The cultivation of this crop is restricted, partly because it ripens
late and needs late rains, and partly because it sheds its ripe grain
too quickly for the ordinary easy-going farmer, who frequently finds his
next year's crop smothered with self-sown oats. It is also commonly held
that the crop exhausts the soil.

There are two native varieties, both white. The one is grown much more
than the other, called "anoyira," which, although incomparably superior,
is little cultivated outside the Limassol district.

The seed is sown at the rate of 2 to 2-1/2 kilés to the donum, and a
yield of from 20 to 30 kilés is obtained. The average annual production
for the ten years ended 1913, as shown by Blue Book returns, was 394,695
kilés. For later years the figures are:

  Year.      Kilés.
  1914      404,917
  1915      378,724
  1916      446,469
  1917      306,010
  1918      313,260

Besides "Black Tartar," which has been regularly grown at Athalassa for
several years, the Agricultural Department has introduced of late years
"Black Cluster," "White Cluster" and "Supreme." All these ripen late and
need late rains, and they have not given any promise of success. A black
variety imported from Greece some years ago has proved much superior to
the two native varieties, but its cultivation is still limited.

Reports on oats from Cyprus and on oat, straw and kyko oat plant (_Avena
sativa_ var. _obtusata_) are given in the BULLETIN OF THE IMPERIAL
INSTITUTE (vol. xv. 1917, pp. 308-10).


Rye has only lately been introduced by the Agricultural Department, but
already its cultivation, though very small, is extending. The dark
colour of the rye loaf creates some prejudice against it, but its value
in cases of diabetes, a common complaint in Cyprus, is greatly in its

The seed is sown and cultivated here in the same manner as wheat, but at
the same time or even earlier than barley. It is harvested by being cut
and is threshed on the threshing-floor. The straw is fed to animals, but
when threshing machines become more general the long straw will become
available for other purposes than cattle food, _e.g._ in the manufacture
of the native saddles ("stratura"), native straw trays and native straw

Rye is also grown for green food, in the same way as barley grass.

_Maize_ (_Indian Corn_)

This crop was first introduced by the Agricultural Department in 1902.
Its cultivation is governed by the water-supply. It is grown mostly for
green food, and is met with very generally throughout the Island, being
sown among the growing crops, _e.g._ louvi, sesame, cotton, etc., as a
wind-break or to afford shade. There was a good demand for the grain for
grinding during the war and the meal is found to be a useful ingredient
in the ordinary loaf. The stems and leaves provide a welcome change of
food for cattle when exhausted from threshing and during the dry season
of the year. At the Government Farm at Athalassa the stems and leaves
are made into ensilage.

_Dari or Millet_ (_Sorghum vulgare_)

This crop is little grown, and is mostly found in the Messaria and also
at Paleochori, almost exclusively in places irrigated by river floods.
The grain is used for making flour and the fresh stalks are fed to


Cyprus produces a considerable variety of fruits, the chief ones
exported being raisins, pomegranates, oranges and lemons, and grapes.
There is a considerable and expanding export trade in the fruits
enumerated, as shown by Blue Book returns as under:

  Year.    £.

  1904  29,706
  1905  29,265
  1906  41,716
  1907  36,009
  1908  35,027
  1909  29,890
  1910  52,267
  1911  57,393
  1912  59,887
  1913  69,097

The pomegranate of Famagusta is famous, and the annual export of this
fruit alone during the five years ended 1913 averaged £14,682.

Among the mountain villages apples, pears, and plums are extensively
grown; the latter specially being in good demand in Egypt.

Apricots and kaisha trees are grown generally throughout the Island, and
their fruits are particularly good and plentiful. The last-named is a
delicious variety with a delicate flavour and externally somewhat
resembles the nectarine. Peaches are mostly grafted on almond stocks, as
these are hardy and good drought-resisters, but there are a fair number
of European varieties. Almond trees abound in all parts and do extremely
well if properly cultivated. Other fairly common fruit trees are the
quince and loquat, or Japanese medlar.

For several years choice kinds of fruit trees have been imported from
England, and many thousands of trees of different kinds throughout the
Island have been grafted and are now beginning to produce fruit of
excellent quality. Good work has been done by the Perapedhi Wine
Association, whose garden has been a centre for the dissemination of
choice grafts.

Unhappily the village growers have been very reluctant to apply proper
cultivation or to carry out advice in treating their trees, which have
become the hosts of all kinds of diseases and insect pests. A better
spirit is now being shown in this direction.

_Vines and Wines_

Writing in 1896, Gennadius described the industry and perseverance of
the peasants, who with most imperfect implements, by breaking up the
hard rock and building up the scanty soil, formed vineyards on the steep
mountain sides, and often up to their very summits. These vineyards, he
says, having been mostly planted in haste in the happy days of the
demand for wines (when French vineyards were destroyed by phylloxera),
were formed by the personal labour of the peasant eked out by the help
of loans. Since then the wine trade has passed through critical times
and prices have often been greatly depreciated. The small vine-growers,
who are also for the most part wine-producers, fell on evil times and
became heavily indebted. They have remained so until the last year or
two, when, owing to the large demand and the high prices of wines in
Egypt, they have been able to free themselves.

Gennadius regarded the cultivation of the vine in Cyprus as indisputably
unprofitable, and was in favour of checking its extension, and even
advocated the imposition of a special tax on new plantations. At the
time he wrote there was an overproduction, and the value of wine had
greatly fallen, and the revenue which Cypriot wine-makers could gain
therefrom would hardly suffice to cover the expenses of its transport to
the market, the annual interest on their debts, and the taxes they had
to meet.

The village-made wine is usually clarified by means of gypsum. It is
carried down from the mountain villages in goat-skins (askos or ashia)
on pack animals, and then sold to the Limassol merchants, who ship the
greater part to Egypt.

The production of wine as carried out in Cyprus leaves much to be
desired. M. Mouillefert, who visited Cyprus in 1892 to report on the
wine industry, says: "The vintage is often gathered too late.
Insufficient care is given to the picking of the grapes and diseased,
rotten, mildewy or unripe grapes are often used which detract from the
quality of the wine.

"The grapes are trodden and the fermentation takes place in jars and
chatties of porous earth, of a capacity of 2 or 3 hectolitres, which are
tarred inside to counteract their porosity. The houses in which the
fermentation takes place are of almost the same temperature as the
surrounding air, with the result that in the warmer parts of the Island
fermentation at first is generally rapid or disturbed, and the
temperature of the must becomes excessive. In the colder parts, on the
contrary, the opposite takes place and the resulting wine is rough and
sharp. The use of gypsum as a preservative is unfortunately very common.
The tarring of the goat-skins and jars imparts a flavour which is very
unsuited to the European taste."

M. Mouillefert made the following recommendations: "Tarred jars for
fermentation should be replaced by wooden vats, or, in the warmer parts
of the Island, by tuns similar to those used throughout the South of
France and in Algeria. Presses less primitive than those in use should
be employed since these leave in the lees a very large quantity of wine.
The wine when drawn off from the lees should be kept in tuns or in small
wooden casks." "In short," he says, "to speak quite plainly, no good
wine destined for ordinary consumption can be obtained with jars."

Some twenty years ago an English Wine Company was established at
Perapedhi and, until the war, carried on a successful trade and produced
some good wines manufactured on modern lines. The factory was well
equipped with up-to-date plant, and its wine of port type was especially
popular. It was throughout the greater part of this time owned by the
firm of W. H. Chaplin & Co., London, but since the war it has been
closed down. The excellent brandy of Messrs. Hadji Pavlo & Co. has found
for some time a steady market in England, and there are other
well-equipped wine and spirit factories at Limassol, notably those of
the Limassol Wine & Spirit Co., Ltd., of Mr. M. Michaelides and of Mr.
N. Joannides.

The firm of Messrs. Hadji Pavlo & Co. has carried out since 1872 the
manufacture of spirits, and for twenty-five years they have been engaged
in producing their "Zanatzin" brand of wines. Their V.O. cognac and
three-star brandy are both excellent.

Various liqueurs, made from local products, aniseed, kernels of apricots
and other stone fruit, etc., are made by this and other firms, and sold
under the name "Zucki."

The principal wines, spirits, liqueurs and other alcoholic liquors
produced are:

The ordinary black wine of the country, or "krasi."

The ordinary white wine of the country, or "asprokrasi."


Brandy. First and second quality sold in barrels; one-star, two-star,
three-star and V.O. sold in bottles.

Mastic, sold in four qualities; Zucki, sold in two qualities.

Rum and Amer Pigon.

Alcohol. 95 C. and 36 C.

Various spirits, liqueurs and syrups: whisky, vermuth, amathus, banana,
mentha, mandarini, triantaphyllo, kitro, pergamotto, vanilla, violetta,
anana, benedictine.

Eau de Cologne.

Commandaria is one of the oldest and most famous sweet dessert wines. It
is held indeed to have been the "nectar of the gods." In the time of the
Knights Templar it acquired great fame. Existing stocks are annually
added to, the original vintage having in some cases a great age, so much
so that, through evaporation, the wine becomes a syrup or pulp, which
imparts a bouquet to the fresh commandaria which is added to it. In
making commandaria the grapes are left on the vines until overripe and,
after picking, are spread out in the sun for further evaporation, when
they undergo the usual process of wine-making. In this way a sweet wine,
rich in sugar and alcohol, and having a characteristic flavour, is
produced. A limited quantity only is made every year, and of this a
certain quantity is exported and fetches a high price, as a speciality,
in England and on the Continent.

A red mastic is made at the Kykko Monastery which has acquired local

The situation at the present time is generally improved, and although
Cyprus wines can never form more than an insignificant proportion of the
world's supply, and could not create any special market without
considerable change of system and large expenditure in advertising, they
may yet, by simple improved methods, by means of co-operative storage
and the application of sound elementary principles, be able to secure a
more recognised position and a remunerative, though perhaps limited,
demand, at any rate for some of the special brands.

For the benefit of village producers practical lectures, with the help
of special apparatus, are now being given in the wine villages during
the vintage season, by officials of the Agricultural Department.

The export of wines (including commandaria) and spirits during the ten
years ended 1913 were of a total value of £313,920 and £55,364
respectively. The lowest and highest figures were £20,274 in 1909 and
£52,351 in 1911 for wines and £3,991 in 1906 and £8,187 in 1913 for
spirits. For the last four years the exports have been:

  Year.             Wines (including        Spirits.
                         £                     £
  1914                 29,405                4,396
  1915                 38,158                5,431
  1916                 80,165                6,865
  1917                 78,451               22,173

There is an export duty on wine at the rate of 8 paras per gallon, on
all spirit of 20 paras per gallon and on all vinegar of 5 paras per

Some seventeen varieties of _Vitis vinifera_ have for a long time been
grown in Cyprus; the most largely cultivated being the following:

Mavro (black). The commonest variety, medium-sized bunch, with dark,
large, oval-shaped grapes.

Xinisteri (white). Common variety, with medium-sized bunch, white
roundish grapes, thin skin. These are suited to a rich moist soil.

Voophthalmo (ox-eye). Equally common variety. Rather small bunch, with
black, round and rather small grapes. Suited to a dry, calcareous soil.

The Muscat comes next, being mostly grown at Omodhos. It is the common
early muscatel of the East.

The remaining kinds are locally known as Bastardico (bastard),
Maratheftico or Kraseti, Morokanali or Spourta (flabby-berried), Promari
or Glycopromo (early or early-sweet), Xantho, Axanthi or Phinikoto,
Kouphorrhovo or Katin-parmak, Verico, Sultana, Razaki, Corinthiaki
(currant), Malaga (Alexandria Muscatel), Rhodities. Of these, several
are only to be found here and there in private gardens.

Five years ago several thousand Sultana vines were imported by the
Agricultural Department from Crete, and these have now become fairly
well distributed over the Island and the produce is beginning to appear
in the market. These dried sultanas in 1918 sold for as much as 4_s._
per oke.

Three years ago the following varieties of table vines were imported
from England by the Agricultural Department:

  Black Hamburg
  Alicante or Black Tokay
  Canon Hall Muscat
  Lady Hastings
  Royal Muscadine
  Muscat of Alexandria

These are now being acclimatised, and it is hoped gradually to
distribute a large number of grafts.

Vine cultivation covers an area of about 140,000 donums and is in the
hands of some 15,700 vine growers.

Owing to defects of planting the vines of Cyprus do not in most cases
begin to bear fruit before the third or fourth year, while, if modern
methods were adopted, they would bear fruit in their second year and
attain their full growth in their fourth year.

What is known as the "willow-head" system of pruning has been very
general, with consequently poor results. Better methods have long been
inculcated and are now being more and more adopted. Manuring is but
rarely practised and ploughing is confined to lightly turning the
surface soil with a wooden plough, and this not every year. On the
higher slopes of the mountains terracing is common and necessary.

Grape mildew (_Oidium Tuckeri_) is prevalent in nearly all the vine
areas. Other diseases and pests of the vine met with are anthracnose,
pourridié, _Septosporium Fuckelii_, cuscute, _Cochylis_, _Zygæna
ampelophaga_ and _Pyralis_. Happily the stringent regulations which for
many years have been in force prohibiting the importation of any kind of
living plant have resulted in keeping the Cypriot vineyards free from
the scourge of phylloxera.

Sulphuring has become more general of late years. The Government has
done much to bring this about, and for fifteen years or more has
imported sufficient sulphur from Sicily, which has been placed in the
hands of village store-keepers and sold at a fixed price by the
Agricultural Department. This has never more than exceeded the bare cost
and more often has been issued at half cost and in times of distress
even gratis.

The vine-owners have been stimulated by the recent high prices for wines
to expend more time and money on this operation. The ignorant prejudice
against the effectiveness of sulphur as a cure for grape mildew has to a
great extent died out. False ideas of economy alone prevent its general

Fresh grapes are largely consumed locally, and considerable quantities
are exported to Egypt, as shown by the following table:

  Year.     Quantity.    Value.

          _Cwts._     £

  1904     12,025       1,854
  1905     8,607        1,208
  1906     9,563        1,487
  1907     7,399        1,161
  1908     6,807        1,331
  1909     7,078        1,094
  1910     7,588        1,216
  1911    11,597        1,865
  1912    12,565        2,028
  1913    10,303        1,487

The average annual export of raisins for the ten years ended 1913 was
54,007 cwts. valued at £24,190. The lowest price was 5_s._ 4_cp._ per
cwt. in 1909 and the highest 11_s._ 4-1/2_cp._ in 1911. During the war
the exports have been: 1914, 16,395 cwts., £7,419; 1915, 54,189 cwts.,
£34,467; 1916, 34,361 cwts., £38,188; and 1917, 70,624 cwts., £90,040.
The annual prices in these years were respectively 9_s._, 12_s._
6-1/2_cp._, 22_s._ 2_cp._ and 25_s._ 4-1/2_cp._ per cwt.

Up to 1905, inclusive, by far the greatest quantity of raisins had been
shipped every year to Austria; Rumania, Turkey and Egypt coming next in
order. Since that date Rumania has easily taken the first place, being
followed at a distance by Austria, Turkey and Egypt. Since the war the
bulk has been shipped for military requirements and to France, Egypt,
Malta and England for eating and for use in confectionery, and the
industry has grown.

A marked improvement has taken place in the preparation of the raisins;
and specially qualified officials of the Agricultural Department every
year give practical instruction on this subject in the vine villages.

_Citrus Fruits_

Oranges and lemons are very extensively grown in Cyprus, whilst
mandarines, citrons ("kitria") and sweet limes ("glykolemonia") are also
found in every part of the Island. In addition, the shaddock ("phrappa")
and the bergamot orange are cultivated in the Island.

The best and most common variety of the sweet orange is the oval
(sometimes round) Jaffa, grown everywhere, but specially at Famagusta,
where there are numerous orange groves. Another variety of good quality
is grown at Lefka. The trees of both varieties produce large, firm,
thick-fleshed fruit.

Bitter oranges are largely grown from seed for stock on which the better
kinds are grafted. Many thousands of these, and also of the grafted
plants, are annually issued from the Government Nurseries. Much loss has
been sustained from time to time through disease, and in 1899 whole
orange groves at Famagusta, Lefka and Kythrea were uprooted or cut right
back. With the expansion of the Agricultural Department and a small
qualified staff it has become possible to bring these diseases somewhat
under control, and the orange and lemon production has much increased,
though gummosis and scale disease still play much havoc.

In the Varosha orange groves the trees are grown in light, sandy soil,
which is banked up round the trunk. They are irrigated by means of the
native alakati, or noria, or more often by air-motors, which in this
locality are much in vogue.

The two most common causes of failure are the persistent planting of
trees too close together and over-watering. Growers turn a deaf ear to
all advice aimed at changing these two bad habits. The native
agriculturist is convinced, beyond the reach of argument, that the
greater the number of trees on a given area the greater will be the
profit. In a land where water is so precious the deep-rooted opinion is
held that the more water a plant receives the better it will thrive, and
too frequent irrigation accounts to a large extent for the widespread
damage caused by gummosis. Until lately pruning was scarcely practised
at all. Thanks to a system of model orchards lately instituted by the
Agricultural Department, better methods are at last being introduced,
and fruit-growers are able to model their practice upon the work carried
out on the specimen trees, alongside their own, reserved by the
Department for such demonstrations.

Lemons are largely consumed by natives with their food. The produce is
of large size, thick-skinned and juicy. Until some twelve years or so
ago the fruit was largely sold on the trees for shipment to Russia and
Rumania, but those markets failed, owing to the prevalence in Cyprus of
scale disease and partly to loss through rotting in transport. The
export of oranges and lemons has of late years been confined almost
entirely to Egypt.

_Fig_ (_Ficus Carica_)

This tree thrives everywhere, and is particularly cultivated at Livadhia
and Lefkara (Larnaca district), in Paphos and at the Tylliria, where the
small, sweet, white variety, locally called "antelounika," is grown.
There are but few true Smyrna figs, but this variety is being multiplied
by cuttings and also by grafting. Other good kinds are the "sarilop" and
"bardajik," of which there are a few private specimens only, and the
"vardika" which is more or less common, particularly at Morphou. The
Lefkara figs somewhat resemble those of Tylliria and, like the latter,
mature naturally; they are considered very good and are divided into two
varieties, the "malantzana" and the "kourtziatika." The figs of Ktema in
Paphos are the common violet-coloured variety, but are larger, and are
mostly ripened artificially.

Cyprus figs are only of moderate quality, though doubtless susceptible
of improvement. They resist drought and generally yield good crops every

The native dried fig is much eaten, and is also used as an adulterant
of, if not a substitute for, coffee, and makes a good beverage, like the
well-known Austrian "feigen café." Dried figs are also made into a paste
and mixed with flour to make fig pies ("sykopitæ").

The method of oiling, that is, smearing with oil the orifice on the top
of the fig while still unripe, is applied to those varieties which ripen
slowly. It is these varieties which are especially grown in Cyprus. The
fruit so treated is rather tasteless and insipid, but as it comes early
to market it fetches a good price. The reason for hastening the ripening
process by oiling is that the fruit may become ready for picking before
sparrows and hornets get it, as they would otherwise do at that season.
The later crop is more or less immune from their attacks, as ripe corn
is then abundant in the field or on the threshing-floor.

Figs first appear on the market in May. This early fruit is called
"magiles" (possibly from Maios-gilia = May production). The fruit is
produced on the wood of the preceding year, from a bud which has
remained dormant. The next crop appears about mid-July, and then the
fruit is called by its proper name "syka."


The principal and almost the only cherry-growing village in the Island
is Pedoulas, in the Marathassa valley. This village is about 3,600 ft.
above the sea-level. The trees at that village do remarkably well, and
they bring in a good revenue. They are mostly wild trees which have been
grafted; but there are also a small number which have been raised from
imported Malaheb seed. From time to time good kinds of young grafted
cherry trees have been imported from England by the Agricultural
Department and grafts from these have been freely supplied to the

There are two native varieties, one ("kerasi") which is almost
exclusively grown at Pedoulas, the other ("vysino") which is found
fairly well distributed over the Island. The former is pale yellow and
pink, the latter is slightly smaller and less sweet and of a darkish-red
colour, and is used mostly in making jam and preserves, while the
"kerasi" is more for table purposes.

More grafted trees are now coming into bearing and "White-hearts" are
now sold in the bazaar at about 12 cps. per oke. "Black-hearts" are also
beginning to make an appearance.

Efforts are being made to introduce the cherry tree to other hill
villages, and there seems no reason why its cultivation should not
become general in the higher parts of the Island. This fruit travels
well and a fine market awaits it in Egypt.

Owing to the prohibition of fruit exports during the war, a small
industry has grown up for drying the "kerasi."


The local name of the banana is Sykiton Adam (Adam's fig), from the
belief that Adam made an apron of the leaves.

There is some hope that the cultivation of this delicious fruit may
become more taken up in Cyprus than has hitherto been thought possible.
Paphos has for several years had the reputation of possessing
fruit-yielding trees of good quality. Offshoots from some of these have
been transplanted to Larnaca, and there are now several gardens in which
a fair quantity of fruit ripens each year. At Kyrenia and Lapithos there
are also a good number of trees. The fruit is of a different variety
from that of Paphos and Larnaca, the shape being longitudinally angular,
whereas the latter kind is longitudinally round and larger.

Five years ago the Agricultural Department obtained some special
varieties from Zanzibar. These are now beginning to yield fruit, and
offshoots are being distributed in the Island.

_Azarol Hawthorn_

This hawthorn (_Cratægus Azarolus_), known locally as "mosphilia," grows
wild scattered about over the country. The fruit makes an excellent
jelly. The tree is an excellent stock on which to graft the pear tree.

In the higher regions another species, _C. monogyna_, is found.


The western end of the Messaoria plain is noted for its water-melons and
sweet-melons. These are grown in "postania," a corruption of the Persian
word "bustan," a garden. They are cultivated only on irrigable land. At
Asha, where, perhaps, the best fruits are grown, the land is flooded by
the river and no later watering, as a rule, takes place. Through a
well-grounded fear of theft, the grower and his family live in their
"postania" during the season of marketing. Reed shelters are erected,
and the rolled-up beds and bedding with their white coverlets present a
strange appearance. There is always a big local demand and a good yield
is generally obtained from these "postania." High prices are paid for
suitable melonland.

The local names for the water-melons are "karpousia" or "paticha," and
for the sweet-melons "piponia" or "tamboures."

The cultivation of this fruit is general throughout the Island.

_Date Palm_

This tree grows promiscuously throughout the plains, produced mostly by
accidental seeding. Very little actual sowing takes place. The best
groves are round about Nicosia.

The trunk-wood, being very hard and fibrous, is used in the construction
of the old type of waterwheel ("alakati") and for beams in houses. It is
also utilised as fuel in Turkish baths as it burns slowly and gives out
great heat. Palm leaves are in demand for making various native baskets,
specially the "zimpilia" for holding seed when sowing broadcast. Hats
are made from them in a few villages.

The native varieties of date palm are not of high quality. They are:
"Baltchik," the fruit of which ripens on the tree; "Phountouk"
(hazelnut); "Kourmouzou" (red); and "Saraih" (yellow). The last three
are artificially ripened when picked, by spraying them with a mixture of
syrup and vinegar. The "Baltchik" produces fruits suitable for fresh
consumption. The "Phountouk" is somewhat inferior. The other two have
large fruits which are specially suited for preserving.

Two years ago the Agricultural Department imported from Sudan the
following varieties: "Condeila," "Bertamouta" and "Barakawi." They
suffered much on the journey and it is doubtful if more than two or
three specimens will survive.

As a rule dates ripen well in Cyprus; gathering takes place from October
to December. The clusters must generally be covered with sacking to
protect them from birds.


_Hazelnuts and Cobnuts or Filberts_

These nuts are collectively known in commerce as "small nuts." They are
all, however, the produce of a species of _Corylus_, the different kinds
being distinguished by trade names according to their country of origin
(see an article on "Sources of Supply of Hazelnuts" in BULLETIN OF THE
IMPERIAL INSTITUTE, vol. xiv. 1916, pp. 261-7).

In Cyprus these are grown almost exclusively around a well-defined group
of villages of the Pitsillia, notably Alona, Palæchori, Askas,
Platanistassa, Phterikoudi, Livadhia, Agros, Alithinou, Saranti,
Polystipos. In this locality the plantations are thickly grown and good
yields are obtained. It is doubtful whether there are other parts of the
Island equally well suited to this tree.

Hazelnuts, besides their use for dessert purposes and in the preparation
of various nut foods, are employed largely as a cheap substitute for
almonds, and in years when the latter are scarce, hazelnuts are in
especially good demand.

The Cyprus nuts are outwardly of good size and appearance and are very
attractive in the English market, but unfortunately they are usually
picked before reaching full maturity, and consequently the kernels are
frequently small and soon become rancid. Being gathered when unripe they
lose greatly in weight, which means loss of money to the exporters. The
flavour is also impaired by premature picking and on this account Cyprus
nuts compare unfavourably in this respect with those from Spain, and
Trebizond and other parts on the Black Sea, with which they have to
compete. If growers would pay more attention to this point, Cyprus
hazelnuts would, owing to their size, hold a much better place than they
do in the English market.

The export of hazelnuts is not separately recorded, but the annual
average production is stated to be approximately 120,000 okes.


Some fine specimens of walnut trees are to be seen in the Marathassa
valley and in the neighbourhood of Palæochori, and near mountain streams
in several places among the slopes of the hills. These yield excellent
fruit and are profitable to their owners, but unfortunately many trees
have succumbed to the attacks of the Codlin moth. Special action has
been taken during the last two years to deal with this pest. There has
been a marked increase of late in the planting of young walnut trees.


The cultivation of this tree has greatly extended of late. Its
drought-resisting properties enable it to withstand the climate of the
plains and on the level slopes of both ranges it grows well. There are
several large plantations, notably at Psevdhas, Larnaca district, where
the famous Jordan variety is found, and as the tree seems indifferent to
soil, and thrives particularly well on the limestone which is so general
throughout the Island, it may be hoped that it will be greatly
multiplied. Both the soft- and the hard-shelled varieties are grown.
Much good work has lately been done in School Gardens, under expert
advice, in germinating the seed in damp sand. The villagers, finding the
seedlings already to hand for planting, have been induced to plant them

Almonds are used as stocks on which to graft peaches, kaishas, apricots
and plums ("mirabelles").

_Spanish Chestnut_

Some years ago good numbers of the edible chestnut were raised at
Pedoulas by the Agricultural Department and distributed to villagers for
growing in the hills. It is feared that the greater part of these trees,
through want of attention, unsuitability of soil or climate, lack of
moisture, and especially damage by goats, have been lost, but some
remain and well-grown young trees may be found in certain localities and
in moderate numbers among the mountains. As soon as adequate protection
from goats can be given, this tree might be well worth more extensive
cultivation. It prospers well when properly cared for, but will not
thrive in soils containing more than about 3 per cent. of lime or at an
elevation below about 1,000 ft.

The tree has been propagated almost entirely from seed, which must be as
fresh as possible. No doubt one reason for the lack of interest hitherto
shown in this tree by villagers is that it does not begin to fruit, as a
rule, until about its twentieth year.


Several species of _Pistacia_ occur in Cyprus, and although they yield
products of different kinds, it will be convenient to deal with them
together in the present section.

The pistachio nut (_Pistacia vera_), locally called "Aleppo pistachio,"
is a native of Persia and Arabia and it was thought, until a few years
ago, that it would not thrive in Cyprus. That is, however, a fallacy,
which is rather confirmed by the fact that the _P. Terebinthus_ and the
_P. Lentiscus_ are indigenous to the Island. It is considered that the
best method of cultivation is to bud _P. vera_ on _P. Terebinthus_.
Though they grow more slowly, these budded trees are more robust and
better resist drought, cold and moisture. The trees should yield fruit
in five years from the time of grafting. A fair number of these trees
have now been distributed from the Government Nursery Gardens.

This tree provides the pistachio nuts which are now imported from Syria
and Chios.

Male trees do not usually flower at the same time as female;
consequently there has been difficulty in getting fruit with seeds, and
recourse must in that case be had to artificial fertilisation.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Palestine or turpentine tree (_P. palæstina_), local name
"trémithos," grows in certain parts of the Island, but is seen at its
best in the Paphos district, especially in and around the town of Ktima.
The fruit is eaten fresh or salted and dried. It yields 10 to 15 per
cent. of edible oil which has a certain local demand. A medium-sized
tree may produce up to 60 to 80 okes of fruit. After crushing and
expression, the residue together with the seed is found to be a good
food for pigs. A small consignment of both the dried and salted fruit
and of the residue was sold in Egypt in 1916 and realised 5 to 6 cp. per
oke for the former, and 3_s._ to 4_s._ per kilé for the latter.

By making incisions in the trunks of both the male and the female trees
a gum or turpentine known as "Paphos tar" is obtained, which fetches as
much as 8_s._ to 10_s._ per oke. It is used locally for chewing.

This is one of the largest trees in the Island and is of handsome shape.
It is deciduous and some fine specimens are met with.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Pistacia Lentiscus_, locally known as shinia, or shinia bush, abounds
all along the coasts of the Island. From the seeds of this shrub an oil
is expressed which is used for culinary purposes, particularly for
frying fish. The oil is also in good local demand for soap making, and a
very fair soap is produced, especially at Akanthou, in which the oil is
the chief ingredient.

The leaves of this shrub are largely used for tanning purposes and were
at one time regularly exported to England, though in small quantities.
The principal market for shinia leaves is Palermo. They are employed to
no small extent for the adulteration of sumach, for which Palermo is
also the leading market. Shinia leaves were also in demand at Lyons as a
dyeing material for silk stuffs.

There are also a few specimens of a variety of _P. Lentiscus_ (mastic
tree) from which in the Island of Chios the famous Chios mastic is
obtained by incisions made in the trunks of the male stocks.

       *       *       *       *       *

The terebinth tree (_P. Terebinthus_), locally called "tremithia," is a
bush very widely grown throughout the higher regions. It is used as a
stock on which to graft _P. vera_. The berries are used for extraction
of oil which has a value for culinary purposes. They are also made into
a cake called "tremithopites." The berries are much smaller than those
of the _P. palæstina_.


The cultivation of vegetables has considerably extended of late. Good
market gardens have existed in and around the principal towns for many
years, but more attention is now being paid to this industry in the
villages, wherever water is available, and a considerable amount of
skill is shown in production.

Among the best and most generally grown vegetables are spinach,
cauliflowers, cabbages, egg-plants, lady's fingers, leeks, artichokes,
broad beans (also grown as a field crop), radishes, celery, beet-root,
pumpkins, marrows, cucumbers, lettuces, tomatoes, lentils, kohl-rabi
("kouloumbra"), kidney beans ("phasoulia"), peas, kolokas, onions and

There is a considerable demand in Egypt for fresh vegetables, and to
meet this the land around the "ports" of Famagusta, Larnaca and Limassol
has been for some years specially devoted to their cultivation. In the
mountain valleys a continuous series of small vegetable gardens may be
seen flanking the sides of the river-banks. The exports of vegetables to
Egypt in recent years are given in the following table:

                              Beans and      Other
  Year.            Onions.      Peas.      Vegetables.
                    _Cwts._       _Cwts._        _Cwts._
  1909              6,664       1,729          49
  1910              3,807         858          60
  1911              5,512       2,346         122
  1912              3,659       2,583         135
  1913              2,854       1,670          32

_Beans and Peas_

Beans are grown for market mainly at Marathassa and Pitsillia and
generally in the higher regions, but only to a small extent in the

Before the war there was a comparatively large importation of beans from
Anatolia. This having stopped, local prices rose and stimulated
production in the Island.

The Cypriot is a lover of dried vegetables, and there might well be an
extension in the cultivation of beans, similar to that which has lately
taken place in the case of green peas. Except in one or two places,
these were not sown by the villagers until about four years ago, but so
valuable have they been found, especially in recent years of scarcity
and high cost of other foodstuffs, that now whole districts are being
devoted to their cultivation.

The French or kidney bean (_Phaseolus vulgaris_) is locally known under
the general term "louvia." This name is applied both to _Phaseolus
vulgaris_ and to _Dolichos melanophthalmus_ (_Vigna Catjang_ var.
_sinensis_). To distinguish the two kinds the Cypriot describes the _P.
vulgaris_ as "louvia gliastra" (_i.e._ lustrous, owing to its shiny
appearance), or "louvia peratica" (_i.e._ foreign), as _D.
melanophthalmus_ was introduced and had become acclimatised some time
before. Gennadius, however, describes the "louvia peratica" as _Dolichos
Lablab_ or lablab bean.

Both the dwarf ("koutsoulia") and the climbing ("makrya" or
"anarichomena") varieties of _P. vulgaris_ are grown. There are two
white kinds, the large ("adra") and the small ("psintra").

Beans of various colours are grown here and there, and one spotted
variety ("patsaloudhia") merits greater attention than it receives at
present, both on account of its greater productiveness and for its
excellent flavour. Two of these are stringless, but a drawback to them
is that they discolour the water in which they are boiled.

There are several newly imported kinds which are privately grown, and
these are gradually coming into the local markets.

The lubia or cow-pea (_Dolichos melanophthalmus_ = _Vigna Catjang_ var.
_sinensis_), being a good drought-resister, is grown more or less
throughout the Island. It is frequently sown in mixed crop with cotton,
sesame, Indian corn, etc.

Two kinds are cultivated--the larger, "lubia melissomatia" (having the
eye like a bee), and the smaller, "lubia mavromatoudhia" (dark-eyed).

The dried pods of _Phaseolus_ and _Dolichos_ are fed to animals and are
also used for stuffing mattresses.

The broad bean (_Vicia Faba_) has been grown for some years on irrigated
land in the plains, where it takes a recognised place in the rotation.
Its cultivation is now spreading to the higher parts.

The soy bean was introduced a few years ago by the Agricultural
Department, but has failed hitherto to attract attention. Villagers find
it requires different cooking from what they are accustomed to, and
local dealers are not yet prepared to deal in it. It has been found
resistant to disease, and further efforts are being made to bring it
into popular favour.

The Ochrus vetch (_Lathyrus Ochrus_), locally known as "louvana," is a
fairly common spring crop, being grown for the sake of the seed which
provides a favourite Cypriot dish. The leaves are also used as a salad.
This crop is sown in the plains in January, but in the Karpas and some
other parts it is sown in the autumn.

Chick-peas (_Cicer arietinum_), locally called "revithia," grow well and
are cultivated to a moderate extent. Samples examined at the Imperial
Institute proved to be of normal composition. Two firms of produce
brokers in London stated that if quantities of about 5 tons at a time
could be delivered in England in as good a condition as the sample they
could be sold for human consumption and would be worth (1917) £20 to £24
per ton c.i.f., United Kingdom ports. If of inferior quality to the
sample they would be fit only for cattle food and fetch considerably
less (see BULLETIN OF THE IMPERIAL INSTITUTE, vol. xv. 1917, p. 307).

Chick-peas when roasted are locally called "koudames" and are eaten in
the same way as ground-nuts, which they much resemble in flavour. They
are little, if at all, used in Cyprus as a cattle food.


The potato-growing industry in Cyprus has developed considerably in
recent years, as will be seen from the subjoined table of exports:

  Year.        Quantity.   Value.
                _Cwts._         £
  1909         12,586      3,105
  1910         14,983      3,839
  1911         36,271      8,472
  1912         45,336     10,348
  1913         31,310      7,003
  1914         54,203     11,741
  1915         82,304     28,513
  1916        136,027     74,632
  1917        224,453    101,120

These figures, however, are a very inadequate indication of the actual
increase of production, inasmuch as the local consumption of this
vegetable before the war was confined almost entirely to the well-to-do
residents in the towns, whereas now it is rapidly becoming a staple food
of the people. This unascertainable but large local consumption must be
added to the latest export returns in order to arrive at an estimate of
present production.

The most favoured variety was at first, and with many growers still is,
what is known as the French potato, the original seed having been
brought from France. Irish potatoes (locally called "pittakoura") have
now largely displaced these, partly, no doubt, on account of the greater
facility of obtaining the latter seed during the war.

A native variety of potato, believed to have been imported by Syrian
Arabs in the sixteenth century, is still grown on a small scale in the
Marathassa valley. This potato has deep-set eyes and a luxuriant growth
above ground and possesses a characteristic sweet taste.

Great progress has been made within the last few years in the matter of
cultivation, and the old practice of planting broadcast on the flat has
given way to ridge planting at proper distances apart. The practice
formerly was to drop the potatoes into the plough furrow. These were
covered over by the return plough; every third furrow was sown.

The Egyptian demand and the purchases made for military purposes have
greatly stimulated production.

The good prices obtained have led, particularly in the Famagusta
district and in what are called the "red earth" villages, to much
activity and no small outlay in the matter of water-supply and
distribution, and in the use of chemical manures.

The custom has grown up for importers to send their seed potatoes for
planting in the higher parts of the Island. The produce therefrom is
exchanged with growers in the plains, who send up their plain-grown
tubers as seed to the cultivators in the hills. Merchants often
stipulate with the hill-growers that they shall have their crop at an
agreed, and generally a fairly high, figure. In this manner degeneration
of the seed has been retarded; but owing to the difficulty of obtaining
seed from outside during the war a certain amount of degeneration has
taken place.

Only one crop can be grown in the hills during the year, but in the
plains two crops are obtained. The one is planted in January and is dug
in May-June; the other is planted in July and dug in November. It is
found that the tubers lifted in the summer suffer greatly from the heat,
and heavy losses occur from rot, whether the tubers remain in the ground
or if they are dug and stored; and it is a question whether, when these
losses are taken into account, the summer crop is really profitable.

The average yield is sometimes put at 2,000 okes per donum, but 1,600
okes, or 2 tons, is probably a more accurate figure.

_Kolokas_ (_Colocasia antiquorum_)

This is a favourite food of the villager, but can only be grown where
there is an ample water-supply and on heavy land that holds the water.
It is an exhausting crop. The root only is eaten. It is sown in
March-April and dug about October-November.


These are generally grown, especially in the Paphos district; Famagusta
and Limassol following in the order named. The Paphos onions are
supposed to have particularly good keeping qualities. Both round
("strongyla") and long varieties ("tolmalikia") are grown; the latter
have less fleshy scales than the former.

Onions are grown either in irrigated gardens or in "livadhia," or
low-lying lands which retain their moisture, no irrigation being needed.
They are propagated by means of "konari" or bulblets. Lapithos in the
Kyrenia district makes a speciality of producing these from seed and
supplying them to the whole Island, although onions are grown for market
only on a limited scale in that area. The method is to plant out the
full-grown onions (locally called "mammes") and leave them to ripen
their seed. The seed is sown in February-March, at the rate of 20-25
okes per donum, from which some 3,000 okes of "konari" are raised. These
are then sold for planting out in October-November-December at the rate
of 40-50 okes per donum.

Onions are grown either in rows or broadcast. The native variety has the
outer scales of a reddish colour, but these have largely given way to
superior imported kinds.


_Carob Tree_

The carob (_Ceratonia siliqua_) is indigenous in Syria, and probably
also in the northern countries of Africa, whence it presumably spread to
certain parts of Asia Minor, to Greece, the Greek Islands and Southern

At the time of Christ, and for some centuries later, this tree was known
to the Greeks by the name of keronia or keratea, being the Greek for
horns, and is given to the locust or carob bean from its supposed
resemblance to goats' horns. It is also known in different parts of
Cyprus under the following names; teratsia (a corruption of keratea),
xylokeratea, kountouroudia, koutsoupia and charoupia. The last named is
of Arabic origin (kharroub) and the same root of the word is common all
over Europe. Moreover, the fruit varies slightly according to locality,
and develops local characteristics which have acquired for it
distinctive local names; thus in Kyrenia District we have templiotiké
and kyrionitiké, in the Karpas there is the sarakine (introduced by
Saracens?) and elsewhere the vaklitiké and komboté. This bean or pod,
which when ripe is of a chocolate colour, contains from 6 to 10 hard
seeds, embedded in a sweet, pithy, honey-like substance which imparts
the flavour so much appreciated by animals.

The carob tree belongs to the natural order Leguminosæ, sub-order
Caesalpinæ, and is the only species of the genus _Ceratonia_. It is an
evergreen, long-lived tree, growing to a height of 30 ft. and sometimes
even to 50 and 60 ft. It thrives in most kinds of soil, especially in
porous, marly and even volcanic soils, but not in marshy lands. Owing to
its long tap root it resists drought well, and is to be found growing
well in rocky land such as is common in many of the carob areas of
Cyprus. It is very generally found intermixed with the olive tree and up
to about the same altitude.

A succession of flowers is produced from July to September or October,
and in favourable years up to December and even later, and in
July-August the tree bears both flowers and ripe fruit. The collection
of the latter commences about mid-August, the exact date being annually
fixed separately in each district by the Commissioner. This is done in
order to prevent the fruit from being stolen.

Recent investigations made by the Agricultural Department go to prove
that the fruit-producing carob tree of Cyprus is really hermaphrodite,
though there yet remains much room for investigation and the point is
not finally settled. The others are true male trees. The hermaphrodite
carob trees which form practically the whole of the fruit-producing
trees of the Island are cleistogamous (_i.e._ self-fertilised before the
calyx opens) and short-stamened.

There are also certain trees self-produced from seed which are superior
to the ordinary so-called wild tree. These bear fruit which is straight
and short but more or less marketable, and these are known as
"kountoura" (short) or "apostoliki," as though sent by chance or by
Providence. The word "apostoliki" is applied in Cyprus to other kinds of
trees or fruit showing similar phenomena.

There are several millions of these trees in the State forests, and yet
more privately owned. It frequently happens that, owing to the wide
powers of testamentary disposition, a single tree passes by inheritance
to several heirs.

Many thousands of carob plants are annually raised in the Government
gardens and issued at a trifling charge. The common method of
propagation has been to sow the seeds in pots, and when the plant is
from 18 in. to 2 ft. high it is ready for transplanting. The seed, which
is very hard, is softened by placing it in a cauldron or saucepan of
cold water. The water is then brought to the boil. On arriving at
boiling-point the water is cooled and should then be changed and the
seed left to steep for twenty-four hours. Owing to the long tap root,
sowing in ordinary nursery beds has not been satisfactory, as the
plants, which certainly make better growth than in pots, do not
transplant well.

The foregoing methods have to a great extent been superseded by that of
germinating the seed in damp sand and sowing direct in the field in
properly prepared holes. Little watering is needed if the holes are deep
and the soil kept friable. A top mulch is useful to conserve the

Transplanting from pots or beds is best done when the plants are twelve
months old and about 12 in. high, after that it is precarious. Grafting
may be done as soon as the stem is thick enough to take a graft, either
before or after transplanting.

The tree is liable to attack by insects and other pests. Scale
(_Aspidiotus ceratoniæ_) is very common; but the greatest damage of late
years has been caused by the fly _Cecidomyia ceratoniæ_, which lays its
eggs on the flowers or newly-set fruit, and the grub feeds on the bean,
causing it to become stunted and of no commercial value. This stunted
condition is locally known as "brachycarpia" and has been the subject of
careful scientific study and practical treatment by the Agricultural
Department during the last few years. Very satisfactory results have
been recorded from the campaigns, which have so far been limited to the
Kyrenia District, and these have justified the extension of compulsory
treatment to other infected areas. This and other pests, such as
_Myelois ceratoniæ_, _Cossus liniperda_ (a lepidopterous boring insect),
a species of _Mycetiasis_, and a small hymenopterous fly which has
lately appeared and is now under investigation, have, no doubt, checked
production. The attacks of _Cecidomyia_, when serious, reduce the yield
by 80 per cent. or over, and normally may lessen it by 40 to 50 per

Much damage is also caused by rats (_Mus alexandrinus_), which gnaw the
bark of the branches, causing them to dry up. Their destruction is
encouraged by Government by the payment of 1 cp. per tail.

Carob gathering commences about mid-August and lasts for about a month.
The beans are knocked down with long sticks, put into sacks and brought
into store, or heaped up in the open air, where they often remain for
several weeks. This is a safe procedure, as there is little rainfall at
that season, and what might fall would not harm the beans, which would
quickly dry again.

It is not easy to estimate the yield per donum of carob trees, but
assuming that the trees were planted 30 ft. apart, and there were 16
medium-sized trees to the donum, the yield would average somewhere about
1,260 okes to the donum. The yield varies from year to year, a good year
generally being followed by a moderate year. The fruit may be destroyed
by frost in January and February, knocked off by hail-stones in March
and April or scorched by hot winds in May or June. A full-sized,
well-cultivated tree can give up to 720 okes. Taking good and bad years,
the value of the annual produce of a medium-sized tree is 5_s_.

Carobs are sold by the Aleppo cantar of 180 okes, and the normal price
may be put at from 13_s._ to 17_s._ per cantar delivered into store.

Carobs are weighed on export and the tithe is taken in money from
exporters at the Customs House.

The following table shows the export of carobs during the ten years
ending 1913-14:

  Year.          Quantity.     Value.
                    _Tons._       £
  1904-05           31,887    104,301
  1905-06           26,187     85,105
  1906-07           44,965    157,452
  1907-08           42,381    151,610
  1908-09           57,010    188,841
  1909-10           44,059    157,972
  1910-11           37,485    145,590
  1911-12           51,359    182,883
  1912-13           63,658    251,750
  1913-14           44,989    179,027

The falling-off in 1913-14 was mainly due to the losses caused by the
fly _Cecidomyia ceratoniæ_.

The fruit of the carob is exported mostly to England, but also to France
and Egypt, and more recently, before the war, to Germany. Gaudry
mentions that about the middle of last century it was exported to
Russia, Sardinia and Austria. Some is used, in Egypt and the Levant
especially, as food for the poorer classes and for making sweets and
sherbets. Its chief use in Western Europe is as food for animals, bovine
and equine, for which purpose it is ground up and made into either meal
or cattle cakes. It is also said to be employed in the manufacture of
chocolate and spirit, and there is a demand for the seed for use in the
manufacture of certain gums.

The juice of the bean, "carob honey," locally called "mavromelos,"
"teratsomelo" or "betmezi," is consumed as a substitute for bee-honey or
jam and also as a flavouring for culinary purposes. From the carob honey
is also made the sweetmeat "pastelli."

At one time carobs were used in Cyprus for fattening mules and other
animals, but, unfortunately, this practice died out. Efforts are now
being made to revive it, and the advantages of this local product are
again becoming recognised.

The carob contains some 50 per cent. of saccharine matter and the
interesting question has been raised in recent years as to whether the
bean might not become a new source of sugar production.

_Lucerne_ (_Medicago sativa_)

This plant was introduced about eighteen years ago, but in spite of its
undoubted success when properly grown on suitable soil, the Cypriot
farmer was for many years very slow to make use of it. Every effort has
been made of late years to encourage its cultivation and during the last
three or four years there has been a steadily increased demand for seed.
Irrigation is necessary in order to obtain a satisfactory yield, but
there are many farms where it might be grown with great advantage. Its
value for cattle food is generally recognised, and now that greater
attention is being given to dairy cattle, lucerne would seem to have an
assured future.

_Vetch_ (_Vicia Ervilia_)

This plant, known locally as "rovi," is undoubtedly the most widely
grown of the fodder crops. Being a leguminous plant, it has a
restorative action on the soil, although the average Cypriot farmer
still considers it to be exhaustive.

In the plains sowing begins in January, whereas in the Pitsillia, and
even in the Morphou, Solea and Tylliria districts which are only at the
foothills, it is sown in October-November, _i.e._ before the cereals.

Rovi is almost the only food in the form of seed given to ploughing oxen
throughout the East. It is regarded as heat-giving and strengthening,
and is therefore fed specially in winter. It is sometimes given
unthreshed with the straw. It is harvested in May, when it is uprooted,
made into little bundles, which are stacked together in small heaps in
the field, until they turn yellow, when they are removed to the native
threshing-floor and threshed in the customary manner. The dry stems,
etc., are eagerly eaten by cattle and sheep. The average yield is very
little, from 2 to 4 or 5 kilés per donum. It is subject to tithe.

_Chickling Vetch_ (_Lathyrus sativus_)

The chickling vetch, known locally as "favetta" or "chavetta," has come
rather more into prominence of late years, displacing the vetch (_Vicia
Ervilia_) to some extent, as it gives a heavier yield. It is subject to

_Vetch_ (_Vicia sativa_)

This crop, called locally "vicos," was introduced from Crete in 1913 and
has been found excellently suited to this country. It is most useful in
any rotation, and has to some extent supplanted rovi (_Vicia Ervilia_)
as it gives a larger yield. It is a most nutritious cattle food, for
which purpose it is grown. When crushed and mixed with chopped straw it
is readily eaten by cattle and sheep. The plant seeds itself very
freely. It is sown about November-December and is ready for harvesting
in about April. Seed is sown at the rate of 5 to 6 okes per donum and
the yield is normally from 8 to 12 kilés per donum. It is a good
drought-resister and needs no irrigation, and being a leguminous plant
should be cut and not pulled up, as the roots left in the soil serve to
increase the amount of nitrogenous salts. Being a vetch it is subject to

_Tares_ (_Vicia tenuifolia_ var. _stenophylla_)

This plant, locally called "mavracheron" or "phakacheron," grows wild
in the Pitsillia district among the vineyards and other cultivated as
well as uncultivated lands. It is of value in those remote localities
where grain and straw are little grown and difficult to procure, as it
provides a wholesome fodder for cattle. The villagers have now taken to
cultivating the plant. It is cut before the seeds are fully matured to
prevent loss of seed through shedding. The seeds and chaff are mixed
together when fed to cattle.

_Milk Vetch_ (_Astragalus_)

This plant, locally called "arkokoutsia," grows wild in some abundance
among the hills. When it appears above ground it is readily eaten by
animals, especially sheep; but at this stage it is apt to cause hoven.
As the plant hardens the animals do not touch it, except when fully
ripe, and then it is greedily eaten.

As soon as it blossoms, but before the fruit is set, the plant is
gathered and tied into bundles or small sheaves and stored in a heap.
When, after a few months, it is quite dry, and at a time when other
foods are scarce, it forms an important part of an animal's ration.

The plants are sometimes allowed to mature their seeds, and these, after
being steeped in water for two or three days to remove acidity, are
given to pigs, and are considered a nourishing and palatable food.

_Moha, Sulla_ (_Hedysarum_)

These have been tried for some years with success and are gradually
becoming known and experimentally grown by farmers.

_Teosinte_ (_Reana luxurians_)

This grass is one of the most valuable fodder plants with which the New
World has enriched the Old. It is a native of Guatemala and is also
largely grown in Australia.

Seed was first imported into Cyprus by the Agricultural Department in
1897, and since then the plant has been continuously grown in the
Government gardens with marked success. It is sown in March-April in the
same manner as Indian corn, to which it is allied.

If irrigated, three or four cuttings may be obtained during the summer,
yielding 25 to 30 tons of green food per scala. It is greedily eaten by
cattle. Some plants grown by the Department attained a height of 11 ft.
3 in. and of others which were left to ripen their seed, one had 93
stems and weighed 26 okes, though the leaves had begun to shrivel and
had lost weight.

This plant is gradually becoming known and may be found growing on some
of the more progressive farms.


Seed of this fodder grass was imported in 1915 and very satisfactory
crops have been obtained each year since then from the experimental
plots. The grass seems well suited to Cyprus and gives a useful yield
even when unirrigated. Occasional irrigation produces a valuable crop.
Trial sowings are now being made on a few private farms.

_Teff-grass_ (_Eragrostis abyssinica_)

This has also been tried experimentally with good results and it is
hoped that its cultivation will extend as it becomes more known.

_Mangold Wurzel_

This crop has been grown for several years at the Government Farm,
Athalassa, where it has done well and forms an important part of the
cows' rations. It has been grown successfully on a small scale in some
of the Nursery Gardens.

As irrigation, deep ploughing, thorough cultivation of the soil and
special cultural operations are needed, this crop cannot be generally
recommended to farmers, but it is being grown by a few progressive stock
owners under Departmental advice.

The wild beet (_Beta vulgaris_) is a native of the seacoasts of
South-eastern Europe, and the garden beet-root is much grown in Cyprus
in certain localities, so, if carefully cultivated, mangold wurzel,
which is a variety of _B. vulgaris_, might also do well in many parts
and be of great advantage to stock owners.

_Prickly Pear_ (_Opuntia_)

The prickly pear grows wild as a hedge plant in Cyprus. The fruit is
eaten to some extent by villagers, but no attempt has yet been made to
use the stems as food for animals. In Sicily very large quantities are
so utilised, and now that milch cows are coming more into demand in
Cyprus the value of the plant for fodder may become recognised.
Successful experiments have been made by the Agricultural Department in
mixing the juice of the stems with lime for giving brilliance and
permanence to ordinary whitewash. There has been an occasional export of
the fruit to Egypt for consumption by Arabs.


_Coriander Seed_

Coriander seed is the product of _Coriandrum sativum_, Linn., an annual
herb belonging to the natural order Umbelliferæ. The "seed," or more
strictly fruit, of the plant is employed in confectionery in making
bonbons, in the preparation of certain liqueurs and as an ingredient for
disguising the taste of medicines. In Cyprus it is commonly used as a
flavouring in cooking.

A sample sent to the Imperial Institute in 1917 was examined as a source
of volatile oil, and the residue remaining after distillation was
analysed as a feeding-stuff. On steam distillation the ground seed
yielded 0.48 per cent. of an almost colourless volatile oil with the
characteristic and pleasant odour of coriander. This yield is below that
furnished by Russian and German coriander, but is about equal to that
obtained from Morocco seed. The results of the examination indicate
that the residue has a fairly high feeding-value, and it would be quite
suitable for the ordinary use of coriander residue, _i.e._ as a cattle

A sample of the seeds was submitted to brokers in London, who reported
that they were very stalky, but that their value would be from 50_s._ to
60_s._ per cwt. (January 1917) as compared with 10_s._ to 15_s._ per
cwt. before the war. (see BULLETIN OF THE IMPERIAL INSTITUTE, vol. xv.
1917, p. 301).


Aniseed, the fruit of an umbelliferous herb (_Pimpinella Anisum_,
Linn.), is grown on a comparatively small scale in Cyprus, the exports
in recent years varying from 1,000 to 2,000 cwts. per annum. In 1917,
1,015 cwts., valued at £3,164, were exported, all of which went to

Seed sent for examination to the Imperial Institute was reported to
consist of aniseed in good condition and practically free from
extraneous matter.

A sample of the seed was submitted to brokers in London, who stated that
at that time (January 1917) stocks of aniseed were quite exhausted, and
the prices therefore much inflated, small stocks of Spanish aniseed
having changed hands in London at 110_s._ per cwt. Such price could not
be secured if any quantity of aniseed were placed on the market. The
value of the Cyprus sample before the war would have been about 27_s._
6_d._ per cwt. (see BULLETIN OF THE IMPERIAL INSTITUTE, vol. xv. 1917,
p. 300).

White Cumin Seed

White cumin is also an umbelliferous herb (_Cuminum Cyminum_, Linn.); an
account of the cultivation and uses of this and other spices is given in
the BULLETIN OF THE IMPERIAL INSTITUTE, vol. xi. 1913, pp. 131-136.

A sample of the seed sent to the Imperial Institute was submitted to
brokers in London, who stated that it was rather small and stalky, but
that it would probably be worth between 70_s._ and 80_s._ per cwt.
(January 1917), although they were of opinion that its pre-war value
would not have been much over 20_s._ per cwt. (see BULLETIN OF THE
IMPERIAL INSTITUTE, vol. xv. 1917, p. 302).

_Black Cumin Seed_

These seeds, sometimes known as fennel-flower seeds, are the product of
_Nigella sativa_, Linn. (Nat. Ord. Ranunculaceæ). The plant is an
annual, native to the Mediterranean region, and the seeds, which are
used in the East for flavouring curries, etc., and in Egypt as comfits
on cakes, have an aromatic fennel-like odour when fresh and a slightly
acrid taste. There is a small export of black cumin seed from Cyprus.
There is, however, but little demand for this seed (see BULLETIN OF THE
IMPERIAL INSTITUTE, vol. xv. 1917, p. 304).


_Origanum Oil_

Different opinions have been held as to the botanical identification of
the plant from which the Cyprus origanum oil is produced. An interesting
series of articles on this subject by E. M. Holmes appears in the
_Perfumery and Essential Oil Record_, 1913, from which it would seem
that this oil is derived from _Origanum majoranoides_, Wild.; while Dr.
Stapf, of Kew, regards the plant as _O. dubium_, Boiss. (see BULLETIN OF
THE IMPERIAL INSTITUTE, vol. xi. 1913, p. 50). Other varieties growing
wild in Cyprus are _O. Onites_, _O. hirtum_, both of which are locally
called "rigani," _O. Bevani_ (see BULLETIN OF THE IMPERIAL INSTITUTE,
vol. xv. 1917, p. 305) and _O. majorana_.

In its wild state the plant from which origanum oil is distilled is a
small perennial shrub, but, if cultivated, its size may be doubled or
even trebled. The first crop, consisting of shoots and flowers, may give
from 300 to 500 okes per donum; in subsequent years up to 1,000-1,500
okes per donum. The latter quantity would produce 40 to 60 okes of
origanum oil, which is largely used in England for perfuming soap and
other purposes.

For twenty years the distillation of origanum oil has been made under
Government control. The industry was started in 1899 and, though not
large, has steadily grown. It has been found that the Cyprus origanum
oil is exceptionally rich in carvacrol (over 80 per cent.), a powerful
antiseptic, and to this substance the oil owes mainly its characteristic
thyme-like odour. Frequent analyses have shown that the Cyprus origanum
oil is remarkably constant in character.

This oil has the slight disadvantage of darkening considerably on
exposure to light and air, which renders it unsuitable for use in
light-coloured soaps, but a method has been worked out at the Imperial
Institute of refining the oil so as to yield a product which will remain
practically colourless for long periods.

A report furnished by the Imperial Institute (BULLETIN OF THE IMPERIAL
INSTITUTE, vol. iv. 1906, p. 299), after giving a detailed description
of the oil, states:

"The foregoing results show that this oil sells readily in this country
at prices which should be fairly remunerative to producers in Cyprus. It
should, however, be borne in mind that the demand for this oil is
somewhat limited, and that it competes with the thyme oil produced in
France and Spain, and with the 'origanum oil' produced in Smyrna, and
that consequently a sudden increase in production in Cyprus might lead
to a considerable fall in price. The Cyprus oil has, however, the
advantage that it is very rich in the odorous and antiseptic constituent
carvacrol, and it is probably due to its richness in this constituent,
as revealed by the analyses made at the Imperial Institute, that the
comparatively high prices realised for these consignments were obtained
at a time when 'red thyme oils' were selling at lower rates. It would be
advantageous if a refined white oil could be prepared by some simple
method from this material, as this probably would fetch an enhanced
price, and be applicable to other purposes for which the 'red oil' is

Until 1910 the distillation was made by the Department, but since then
it has been undertaken by private contract, permission being given to
collect the wild plant from the forest. The annual production is now
about 2,750 lb., and the price has steadily risen from about 3_s._ per
lb. to 8_s._ 6_d._ per lb. at the present time. But whereas the cost of
transport to London before the war was £8 per ton, it has risen to the
prohibitive rate of £200 per ton, and the 1917 oil still remains in
store at Alexandria.

The supply of the wild plant is limited and its cultivation is under

The following table shows the exports of origanum _oil_ in recent years:

  Year.    Quantity.

  1902    2,092
  1903    No distillation
  1904    2,410
  1905    1,463
  1906    2,200
  1907    1,745
  1908    2,051
  1909    1,530[4]
  1910    2,842
  1911    2,276
  1912    2,230
  1913    2,455
  1914    3,776
  1915    3,709
  1916    2,756
  1917    2,696
  1918    2,066

_Marjoram Oil_

This is not yet a regular product, but samples of locally produced oil
have been examined at the Imperial Institute and pronounced to be
superior to European marjoram oil and about equal in value to sweet
fennel oil (see BULLETIN OF THE IMPERIAL INSTITUTE, vol. xi. 1913, p.
50). It is distilled from a plant which is abundant in the forests of
Kyrenia and Paphos, and which has been referred by Dr. Stapf to _O.
majoranoides_, Wild., and by Mr. Holmes to _O. Maru_, Linn. The market
is, however, restricted.

_Laurel Oil_

Samples of oil distilled from the leaves of _Laurus nobilis_ which were
examined at the Imperial Institute were found to have an aroma inferior
to that of the oils usually met with in commerce (see BULLETIN OF THE
IMPERIAL INSTITUTE, vol. xi. 1913, p. 430). The demand for the oil is
said to be small.

_Otto of Roses_

This has been prepared since 1897 in a very small way with native stills
at the village of Milikouri, where the Damask rose is abundant. The
cultivation of this rose has now spread to other hill villages. The
closing of the market for Bulgarian otto of roses owing to the war has
given an impetus to the industry in Cyprus. The Agricultural Department
has for two years sent qualified officers to superintend the work at
Milikouri and to carry out an experimental distillation.

A report from the Director, Imperial Institute, upon samples of the 1917
distillation states that "the constants of the Cyprus oil agree closely
with those recorded for Bulgarian otto of roses." It was found that the
odour of the Cyprus oil was fairly good, but rather weak. The otto sold
at 70_s._ per ounce, less 2-1/2 per cent., which "in view of the very
small quantity must be considered satisfactory." At the time of sale
French otto was quoted at 78_s._ to 85_s._ per ounce.

_Acacia Farnesiana_

This tree is but sparsely represented in Cyprus, but wherever found it
is vigorous and healthy. It belongs to the Mimosa tribe of the order
Leguminosæ and, as other species are common in the Island and thrive
remarkably well, there would seem no reason why this species also should
not become more general.

It is known elsewhere under different names; that of "sweet briar" (in
Barbados) on account of its numerous thorns and the exquisite scent of
its flowers, and "stinking cossie" (in Antigua) owing to the highly
disagreeable smell of its wood. The word "cossie" may be a corruption of

Its flowers are largely used in perfumery, and the annual crop of the
flowers of this plant in France is stated to be worth thousands of
francs, and a particularly delicate fragrant perfume is extracted from
them. The pods are said to yield a fair amount of tannin, while from the
cracks in the bark of the trunk and branches there exudes a gum very
like the true gum arabic and is utilised for the same purpose. The wood
makes good charcoal.

It is locally known as "skouroupathos" or "skouroupathia," and is
closely allied to the extremely common weed of that name which is found
abundantly in nearly every field in the plains during summer, but which,
owing to its deep-rooted system, the natives do not trouble to
eradicate. It is also allied to _Prosopis juliflora_ or algaroba tree,
of which there are a few specimens in the Island.



The olive tree grows wild in Cyprus, but the wild fruit is small and
bitter and yields an inferior oil. The cultivated trees are those which
have been grafted. Owing to the stringent regulations which have
prohibited the introduction of living plants from abroad, it has not
been possible to obtain from elsewhere good grafts of new varieties.
These regulations have lately been modified to allow of importations by
the Agricultural Department under special restrictions, and now that the
war has ended it is hoped to obtain these much-needed olive grafts.

This tree thrives well, almost all over the Island, up to an altitude of
about 2,300 ft., and numbers of vigorous wild olive trees are to be met
with, which only need cleaning and grafting in order to bear fruit.

Cyprus olives are divided into two classes, locally known as (_a_)
"adrouppes" or "drouppes," which are eaten in the green or black stage,
and (_b_) "ladoelies," which are suitable both for eating and for oil

Of the former, or "adrouppes," one kind is rather large, with rough
skin, having a rough, big stone, the other is longer but of less
diameter, and has a very thin, smooth skin and the stone is smooth,
curved and smaller. The latter has a better taste and resembles the
well-known Greek olive of Calamata. Both these "adrouppes" are prepared
for the table while still green, and are known as "kolymbates," or
sometimes they are called "tsakkistes," owing to the stone being
slightly crushed in the process of preparation.

The "ladoelies" are of two distinct varieties, the larger of which is
mostly regarded as an edible olive, and contains a less percentage of
oil, while the other, or smaller kind, is richer in oil contents, and is
mainly used for oil production, though it is sometimes eaten.

A few imported varieties, including one or two specimens of Spanish and
Greek olive trees, are to be found here and there in private gardens.

If the land were manured and ploughed the trees would, especially on the
chalky soils, yield abundant fruit and oil of excellent quality.
Unfortunately this is not done, and it has been found very difficult to
induce the peasants to adopt any kind of cultivation. They plough the
land only when they intend to sow corn or other crops between the trees,
a procedure which tends to lessen the productiveness of the trees. The
system of irrigation applied is also very defective. Irrigation, while
improving the quality and quantity of edible olives, is not desirable in
the case of press olives.

As to pruning, Cypriots would have none of it until within the last five
years. By dint of patient and constant persuasion, some few of the
larger owners were induced to let their trees be pruned by a staff of
pruners under the direction of the Agricultural Department (see Plate
VI). Much ridicule--and at times threats--was hurled at both the pruners
and the tree owners, who were assured by the villagers that for their
folly they would undoubtedly lose their trees. The results belied all
these fears, and now within the space of some four to five years the
practice of pruning has become fairly general, and a good number of
villagers have qualified themselves as expert pruners and are kept
regularly employed by private persons. As a consequence of this a great
amelioration is noticeable in the olive trees in many parts and the
yield and quality of olives have been improved.

The method of gathering olives by beating, however, continues. The fruit
so knocked to the ground becomes dirty and bruised, and quickly
ferments, when stored, to the detriment of the oil. This mode of
gathering by beating damages the young twigs and branches, whose bearing
capacity the following year is thus impaired.

Little care is taken in selecting the olives for oil. Not only are they
dirty and bruised, but unripe or diseased fruit, as well as overripe
fruit that has fallen from the tree, is collected together

[Illustration: PLATE VI.

Pruned Olive-trees at Metochi of Kykos.]

The usual practice is to spread out the olives as received, and
unsalted, on the mud roofs of houses in order to give off a part of
their water before grinding.

The procedure is then as follows:

They are first of all taken to the crusher or grinding mill. This
consists not of two stones, as in Greece, but of one stone, drawn by
pony, mule or donkey.

For the first quality of oil the olive stones should not be broken, but
generally speaking, insufficient care is paid to this and the stones
are, for the most part, crushed. The crushed olives (zimari, paste) are
then removed to the press, which is worked by hand, with one exception
of an hydraulic press at Akanthou. At this village, where the best olive
oil is produced, the olives are brought direct from the trees to the
mill, whereas elsewhere the practice is to leave them in a heap to
ferment and they often become foul and covered with dust and dirt.

In pressing with wooden presses, the zimari or crushed olives are placed
in round bags made of plaited rushes. Seven to ten of these are placed
one on top of another in the press and the oil obtained is virgin oil
(huile vierge).

The bags are then removed and squeezed so as to change the position of
the contents. They are then replaced in the press and hot water is
poured into each bag. The oil obtained is of second quality. A third
pressing is sometimes given.

The yield is calculated at the rate of 1 oke of oil to 4 okes of olives.

In the Paphos district is produced a black oil with a very distinct
flavour. This is due to the custom of boiling the olives before
grinding. The demand for this inferior oil is confined to that district.

In former days it was usual for the mills and presses to be worked in
the open. This is now rarely the case, but may still be occasionally
seen in parts of the Paphos district and elsewhere.

Whether outdoors or indoors these mills and presses are soon allowed to
become very unclean, and the rancid flavour which clings to the wood is
quickly imparted to the oil, which possesses, for any but Cypriots, a
strong and unpleasant smell and flavour. There is a considerable
residue or waste, which, if it could be utilised, would go far to meet
the deficiency in the requirements for local consumption.

There are a few good iron presses now in use. Their superiority is
generally recognised and, no doubt, now that the war is over, they will
be imported in greater numbers.

Small inexpensive, cottage filters have been designed by the
Agricultural Department and these are being adopted, though very
gradually. The oil so filtered is greatly superior, but having acquired
a more delicate flavour, it is not so much appreciated by the native

Large numbers of young wild olive trees are issued on permit from the
State forests for private cultivation and many thousands of two- and
three-year-old plants raised in the Government Nurseries are also
distributed every year. With the gradual improvement in cultivation and
in the preparation of the oil, the production should increase

The local production of olive oil is insufficient for the requirements
of the Island, but there is no reason why, in the course of time, when
the large number of trees newly planted and annually on the increase,
come into bearing, a valuable export trade should not result. The
figures of production, given in the table below, are strikingly
fluctuating, and indicate the irregularity of the annual yield and the
marked variation in price:

  Year.    Quantity.   Value.
           _Cwts._         £
  1904     4,294       6,467
  1905     5,291       8,504
  1906     7,845      12,602
  1907     8,981      16,922
  1908       788       1,459
  1909     3,851       8,864
  1910     7,550      17,232
  1911       608       1,415
  1912        48          88
  1913       911       2,052
  1914     2,197       4,837
  1915     6,003      15,146
  1916     4,966      16,035
  1917       290       1,225

_Sesame Seed_

The annual production in Cyprus of sesame seed (_Sesamum indicum_) is
said to be about 195,000 okes. It is one of the recognised summer crops
in the plains, and is frequently sown together in the same field with
cotton, maize, etc., and in the vine villages it is sown in the newly
planted vineyards, where it does well. In such cases the preparation of
the soil is done on the same lines as for cotton, maize, vines, etc.

The seed is used mainly for the extraction of the oil, which is largely
employed in cooking, and it is also used in the preparation of
sweetmeats; it is added sometimes as a condiment in bread-making. There
is a small export, principally through Egypt.

The percentage of oil extracted varies according to the locality where
the seed has been produced. Of the local product, that from Paphos gives
the highest yield, viz. 30 to 35 per cent.; but this is inferior to the
Egyptian product, which is to some extent imported and yields 40 to 45
per cent. of oil, this being probably due to the thinner skin. The crop
is uncertain. The plant is readily affected by the hot west wind
([Greek: libas]) which not infrequently blows during its period of
growth. The development of the seed is thereby checked and it remains
thin and small ([Greek: psalios]), and naturally the oil yield is

_Ground Nut, Peanut or Monkey Nut_ (_Arachis hypogæa_)

This nut is fairly popular among all classes and is imported through
Egypt in moderate quantities. There is no reason why in certain
localities this plant should not be grown successfully, more especially
in the light sandy soils around Varosha and at Syrianochori. Efforts
have been made to induce cultivators to grow this crop, but so far it
has not commended itself. It calls for something a little out of the
ordinary in the way of cultivation, as the plants mature their fruits
under the soil; the profit to be derived from the crop is uncertain, and
is thought, though without sufficient proof, to compare unfavourably
with rival crops. Growers have been somewhat deterred by the ease with
which the fruit can be stolen. As this is hidden under the soil, a theft
is not at once detected. These drawbacks probably explain its restricted

Should oil-extracting machinery be introduced, these nuts might well be
grown for their oil, both for culinary purposes and for use in
soap-making. The residuum, after extraction of the oil, and the haulm
are nutritious cattle foods.

The importation of these nuts was recently prohibited except in a
roasted condition, owing to the risk of their introducing plant pests
when in the raw, earth-encrusted condition. This has tended to check
importation, and may perhaps give an impetus to local production. Ground
nuts can be grown, of course, only where irrigation is possible.

The quantity of ground nuts imported in 1917 was 1,532 cwts., valued at
_£_2,448. Previous to that year they were not separately enumerated.

_Castor-oil Seed_

The castor-oil plant (_Ricinus communis_) is only grown to a small
extent, but the tree usually thrives well and its cultivation might be
extended with advantage. According to Gennadius, Dioscorides claimed
that it used to be called Seseli of Cyprus, from which the inference may
be drawn that the plant has long been among the flora of the Island,
where it is now known as a perennial. It grows very freely from seed and
rapidly attains a height of 15 or 16 ft.; but it quickly dies back after
a slight frost, though it recovers again the following year. It appears
to do well in most soils, but thrives best in light loam with moderate

Owing to the demand for the oil, one or two plantations have lately been
made by the Agricultural Department.

The varieties locally grown include plants producing large, medium and
small-sized seed. Trial cultivations are being made to ascertain their
relative values. It is found that a heavier yield of better quality is
usually obtained where the plant is treated as an annual and not as a
perennial. Four samples of castor seed examined at the Imperial
Institute were found to contain normal amounts of oil, and similar seed
would be readily saleable in the United Kingdom if offered in commercial
quantities (see BULLETIN OF THE IMPERIAL INSTITUTE, vol. xvii. 1919, p.



During the time of the Venetian occupation (1489-1570) Cyprus exported
annually from seven to fifteen million pounds of raw cotton. In the
seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the English Levant Company sent
large quantities from Cyprus to England. When the scarcity of cotton
occasioned by the American Civil War gave a stimulus to its growth
Cyprus took part in meeting the demand, and in 1866 over 2,000,000 lb.
were exported. Since then the production has declined. In former times,
then, the production of Cyprus cotton must have been very large, as
cotton manufactures in the Island were, as in most cotton-producing
countries in the East at that period, both considerable and of choice
quality. Cyprus was always distinguished for its cotton spinning.
Gennadius suggests that the Karpas, which is one of the centres of the
Cyprus cotton manufacture, derived its name from the ancient "karpasos,"
a fine cotton cloth which came from India. There is an old Hebrew word
"karpas" found in the Old Testament, and derived from the Sanscrit
"karpasa," cotton, or "karpasum," cotton cloth.

During the Turkish Administration cotton cultivation declined, owing to
the destruction of aqueducts, Venetian wells, etc., and to the practice
of taxing the cotton crop in the field before it was picked--a cause of
considerable delay and detriment to the crop. Careless cultivation and
consequent deterioration of the fibre as well as the general fall in
value contributed to the decay of the industry. Taxing the crop in the
field was abandoned in 1890, and a tithe was levied on exported cotton
only (_Handbook of Cyprus_).

The species of cotton principally cultivated in the Island is _Gossypium
herbaceum_. American "New Orleans" seed was introduced some twenty years
or so ago, and this has now largely displaced the original native kind;
in fact the native kind has almost entirely disappeared, and what little
is grown is mostly used for stuffing the native bed-quilt or "paploma."

Cotton grown without irrigation is known as "dry" cotton. It is grown
chiefly in the Messaorian plain and in the Karpas; it is harsh to the
touch and short in staple, but of satisfactory colour. "Wet" cotton is
grown on irrigated land; it is usually of larger staple and of finer
quality than the "dry" cotton and commands a higher price. This is grown
mainly round about Kythrea, Nisou, Dali, Lapithos and in the Solea
valley. Native cotton is always grown "dry"; the ordinary American
variety is grown both "wet" and "dry."

The Karpas cotton, which is "dry" grown, is inferior not only on account
of its shorter staple, but on account of the method of picking. In some
places of Messaoria, at Dali, Nisou, etc., the "dry" and sometimes the
"wet" cotton is picked in the morning before the dew has quite
evaporated, and it is picked direct from the growing plant. But the most
general practice is for the villagers to cut the bolls early in the
morning before the dew is evaporated ([Greek: pornê]), transport them to
the houses and then remove the lint at their leisure. In this way the
bolls are more or less crushed and the lint when removed contains a
mixture of husk, leaves, etc.

In the case of native and other varieties the lint of which adheres to
the boll, the husks, leaves, etc., are removed from the bolls in the
following way: The bolls are spread out on mats to dry in the sun; when
sufficiently dry the bolls are put in a rotary sieve made of reeds and
sticks, similar in make to the ordinary reed baskets of the country.
Each end of the sieve is closed, but it has an opening in the middle,
about 1 by 1-1/2 to 2 ft., which is closed by a small reed mat. The
sieve is about 5 to 6 ft. long and 2 to 2-1/2 ft. in diameter. The bolls
are dropped into the sieve through the opening and it is then revolved
by hand by means of an axle which passes through it longitudinally. By
this means most of the crushed husks and leaves fall through the
interstices of the sieve.

The native seed is usually grown on dry lands as it withstands drought.
The "wet" cotton is mostly of the American variety.

Professor Wyndham Dunstan, F.R.S., in his _Report on the Agricultural
Resources of Cyprus_ (1905), referred to the successful trials made with
"Sea Island," "Peterkin," "Truitt's Big Boll," "Culpepper Big Boll,"
and "Allen's Long Staple." Since then other varieties have been tried by
the Agricultural Department, and while "Allen's" and "Truitt's" have
continued to do well, good results have been obtained from "Triumph" and
"Durango," both of which are early kinds and are therefore very suitable
to the Island. A report by the Imperial Institute on samples of "Allen's
Improved," "Mebane's Early Triumph" and "Sakellaridis" cottons grown
experimentally in Cyprus in 1915 will be found in the BULLETIN OF THE
IMPERIAL INSTITUTE (vol. xv. 1917, p. 298).

Owing to fear of locusts, late sowing (about May-June) became rather
general. This is a dangerous practice as the bolls ripen late and much
cotton is spoilt by the early autumn rains. It is mostly sown broadcast
or in trenches; on irrigated land it is mostly sown in the ridges, but
the older practice of sowing broadcast still, unfortunately, continues.

"Dry" cotton is usually sown either on land which can be irrigated by a
river when in flood, or in "livadhia" or low-lying lands which retain
their moisture a long time. In the former case the seed is sown about
March-April, while the soil is still damp from rain water or from river
overflow. It is generally expected that when the young plants are fairly
established a second irrigation from flood-water may occur. In the
"livadhia" the seed is sown later. "Wet" cotton is watered about every

The crop begins to be collected in mid-September and continues up till
the end of October. "Dry" cotton is rarely manured; "wet" cotton
occasionally. The use of chemical manures is coming into practice. There
are several ginning machines in the Island, but baling by hydraulic
presses is done almost exclusively at Larnaca.

In the Island the cotton seed is used for sowing and for feeding cattle.
The exports of cotton seed have been:

  Year.        Quantity.     Value.
                 _Cwts._         £

  1909          2,708        769
  1910          3,066        970
  1911          3,245        830
  1912         15,874      4,535
  1913         13,933      3,750

The exports represent about three-fourths of the total production.

There should be a good opening for machinery for extracting the oil.

The cotton is locally graded into (1) best, (2) medium, and (3) poor,
all being American varieties. The first quality is the "wet" or
irrigated cotton. The second quality is grown mostly in the Messaoria
plain and at Dali, Nisou, Potamia, Kythrea, where it is partly irrigated
by river floods. The third quality is "dry" and comes principally from
the Karpas. On the Marseilles market the second quality has a value 3 to
4 per cent., and the third quality 8 to 10 per cent. less than the first
quality. The first quality ranks in price at Marseilles on about a level
with American cotton.

For some ten years Greece has taken the leading place as an importer.
Before the war, Cyprus cotton went chiefly to Marseilles and Greece,
some also to Trieste. Only a very insignificant quantity goes to
England. The freight to Marseilles was about 25_s._ per ton, to Trieste
about 15_s._ per ton, while to England it averaged 50_s._ per ton. The
market prices at Marseilles and Trieste were approximately the same, but
at Marseilles they were subject to a discount of 1-1/2 per cent.,
whereas at Trieste a discount of 3 to 4 per cent. was made. The Trieste
market, being small, was subject to sudden fluctuations and was
therefore risky and less favoured by Cypriot exporters.

For several reasons the Liverpool market has not been so attractive as
that of Marseilles. At Liverpool and Manchester quantities of not less
than, say, 100 bales are preferred, whereas Marseilles would take
smaller consignments of 20 or 40 bales. Uniformity of type is required
by Manchester spinners, whereas the French factories are more ready to
handle different types, including the shorter staples. Cyprus merchants
make no distinction as regards the varieties of cotton, whether
"Orleans," "Sea Island" or other kinds, and indeed they are scarcely
competent to do so, as this requires special knowledge and experience.
They buy in small quantities from many peasant growers and mix the
produce in order to make up a fair consignment.

In normal times there was always the further difficulty of obtaining
direct transport to England, whereas to Marseilles, Trieste and also to
Greece the opportunities were more frequent.

Since the war Greece has become much the largest buyer. Owing to
shortage of cotton on the Greek market this commodity was purchased from
Cyprus rather than from Liverpool, as the freight was lower and war
risks much less; apart from the almost impossibility of obtaining
tonnage. It was the practice before the war for Cypriot merchants to
sell c.i.f. Piræus, but they could not continue this under recent
conditions and now sell f.o.b. Cyprus, and this practice is likely to
continue. This f.o.b. Cyprus price has lately been about the same as
would ordinarily be obtained for c.i.f. Liverpool. Greece has many small
filatures willing to take consignments of even 10 bales, and the
shipment direct or via Alexandria is easier.

A Cyprus bale weighs about 150 okes.

The following figures, showing average annual exports of raw cotton at
various pre-war periods, indicate the course of the cultivation:

  Period.        Average Quantity.  Average Value.
                    _Cwts._         £

  1880-89  .  .  .    68,410         147,683
  1890-99  .  .  .    57,291          91,812
  1900-09  .  .  .    41,121          92,939
  1910-17  .  .  .    68,384         213,275

Prices have varied, as is shown by the values of the following record

                                  Quantity.   Value.    Average price.
                                    _Cwts._        £            £

  1885 (highest export on record) 14,276      29,567       2  1  5
  1886 (2nd ditto)  .  .  .       13,887      26,535       1 16 11
  1912 (3rd ditto)  .  .  .       13,808      40,085       2 18  0
  1913 (4th ditto)  .  .  .       13,444      40,693       3  0  6
  1884 (5th ditto)  .  .  .       12,227      26,874       2  3  1

In 1917 there were 13,685 donums under cotton cultivation.

It is usual in some parts of the Island, especially in the Kyrenia
district, to leave the crop in the ground for two or three years. This
method of cropping is locally known as "palia" or old. It is found
profitable to leave the cotton plants two or three years on irrigated
land. The second-year crop usually gives the heaviest yield.

The average yield of unginned cotton on irrigated land is about 120 okes
(3 cwts.) per scala; but as much as 250 okes can be obtained. "Wet"
cotton, best quality, yields 1 oke of lint from 3 okes of unginned
cotton, and "dry" cotton yields about 1 oke of lint from 3-1/3 okes of
unginned cotton.

There is much land well suited to cotton which for lack of water cannot
be utilised. If artesian water could be found, there would be a very
considerable extension of this cultivation.

There is a well-equipped little cotton factory at Famagusta, and
excellent cotton fabrics are made, especially in Nicosia neighbourhood,
Lapithos and Karavas, Lefkonico and Gypsos and in the Karpas. These are
known under the names of "alaja" and "dimita." They are mostly of good
patterns, the material is strong and wears well, and is being largely
used, not only by the peasantry, but also for making men's suits and
ladies' skirts and cloths.

An interesting article on the Cyprus Cotton Industry is to be found in
the BULLETIN OF THE IMPERIAL INSTITUTE, vol. iii. 1905, pp. 327-334.

_Flax and Linseed_

The cultivation of flax (_Linum usitatissimum_), which began to develop
some twenty years ago, has declined during the last ten years or so. The
reasons for this are that it is considered to exhaust the soil, the
later handling of the crop for fibre is troublesome and the market is
liable to rather violent fluctuations. It grows well in the Messaoria
plain, and when chemical manures are more generally used it may come
more into favour. Attempts have been made to improve the quality by the
introduction of Riga flax seed, but so far without success. There is a
small export of linseed, but owing to the primitive methods of winnowing
and cleaning it does not fetch the best price. The quality of the
cleaned seed is excellent. Knowledge and care are needed in picking the
crop at exactly the right time. The imperfect methods of general
cultivation prevent the uniform ripening of the seed, and this means an
uneven and unsatisfactory sample. Defective screening accounts for the
presence in excess of foreign substances, weed seeds, etc. These
difficulties are capable of remedy, and it may reasonably be hoped that
when once overcome the cultivation will be extended.

In Cyprus the cultivation is the same whether intended for seed or
fibre, and consequently the latter is of an inferior quality, as is
indicated in a report on Cyprus flax published in the BULLETIN OF THE
IMPERIAL INSTITUTE (vol. vi. 1908, p. 4). Seed is sown in
November-December at the rate of 17 to 22 okes per donum. Retting is
done by steeping in the large stone irrigation tanks which are a feature
on most farms. In the Messaoria, about Ano and Kato Zodia, where flax is
commonly grown, the plant is retted in the river Ovgos, which retains
sufficient water usually until August. The yield per donum varies from
100 to 300 okes of seed, 80 to 100 okes of fibre and 50 to 70 okes of


The exports of wool for the three last pre-war years were as follows:

  Year.        Quantity.    Value.
                 _Cwts._        £
  1911  . . . .  5,535      13,452
  1912  . . . .  4,627      11,362
  1913  . . . .  4,707      12,181

This went chiefly to France, and next, though in much smaller
quantities, to Italy.

The wool is of moderate quality; this is partly due to the breed of
sheep and partly to the conditions under which they are kept. Attempts
have been made by the Agricultural Department to impress on the native
breeders the necessity of keeping the sheep well fed, and experiments
have been carried out at the Athalassa Experimental Farm for the purpose
of demonstrating the advantages of careful rearing.

Two fleeces from the Athalassa Farm were sent to the Imperial Institute
in May 1912, for examination and commercial valuation. One was the
fleece of a yearling ram. This was clean, fairly soft and almost white.
The other was the fleece of a yearling ewe. This was clean, slightly
harsh and almost white, but was slightly coarser than that of the ram.

These fleeces were considered by a firm of London brokers as an
excellent class of carpet wool and likely to meet always with a ready
sale in the London market (see BULLETIN OF THE IMPERIAL INSTITUTE, vol.
x. 1912, p. 537). A similar opinion was expressed immediately before the
war (July 1914) by a London firm to whom two bales of Cyprus wool had
been sent, of which a part had been purchased in the bazaar and washed
and trimmed by the Department and part came from the Athalassa
(Government) flock. It was considered as "an ideal wool for carpet
making or for blankets, but deficient in lustre for braids."

The actual yield per sheep, viz. 3 to 3-1/2 lb., compares unfavourably
with that of Lincolns, which they most closely resemble. This is due
partly to breed, but largely also to the conditions under which the
sheep are kept (see p. 17).


The cultivation of hemp (_Cannabis sativa_) is practically confined to
the southern part of the Paphos district, and there only in places where
the water-supply is ample. The plant is grown only for fibre, which is
exclusively used for rope-making, which is carried out by hand by the
villagers round about Ktima. It would be of advantage to have a
rope-making machine at work at a spot centrally situated in the area of
production. A simple hand-worked machine is now being experimentally
used and will, it is believed, turn out a better class of rope.

The plant grows well on fertile and irrigated lands. Farmyard manure,
and specially sheep manure, are generally applied, and chemical
fertilisers are now also coming into use.

Harvesting takes place when the plants begin to turn pale. The plants
are uprooted, not cut, and are made up into sheaves tied together at the
butt end only. The bundles are not more than 2-1/2 spans round, and of
equal size. When first uprooted the sheaves are placed flat on the field
in rows to dry and in such zig-zag fashion that the top end of one sheaf
is always made to rest on the butt end of another, and thus does not
come into contact with the ground: this ensures the circulation of air
and hastens the drying process. The sheaves are taken later to the
threshing-floors, where they are stood upright until they are dry. The
seed is separated by beating. The sheaves are exposed to the sun until
the leaves are shed, and when the stems are entirely dry the bundles are
tied up at both ends and are taken to the retting-place, which is
usually the common stone tank or cistern of the country. There they are
steeped in water for six to nine days. The bundles are generally covered
by about one foot of water. On the sixth day the fibre is tested. If it
separates easily the bundles are removed, if not they remain for another
two or three days. This requires much care and experience, as the
quality depends largely upon effective retting. Then they are taken out
of the water and sun-dried, being piled up into pointed shooks, left
hollow in the centre.

The fibre is separated by means of a wooden implement locally called
"melidjia." This consists of a wooden trough placed on two legs which
are fixed in the ground. A wedge-shaped piece of wood which is hinged to
the trough at one end is used as the beater. The hemp stalks, after the
butts are cut off, are placed in the trough and the beater worked up and
down so as to split the stalks and lay bare the fibre.

The average production of fibre per scala is 60 to 80 okes, but where
conditions are all favourable it may reach 160 to 200 okes and the seed
yield may be anything from 80 to 200 okes per scala.


The silkworm (_Bombyx mori_) finds in Cyprus a climate exceptionally
favourable to its development, and Cyprus silks have been famous for
their quality throughout the middle ages and as far back as the sixth
century A.D., when Greek monks first introduced silkworms from China.

In the fateful year 1845, when the disease pebrine nearly destroyed the
silk industry of Europe, the anxious search for healthy silkworm eggs
that then ensued led Arabs from Syria to visit Cyprus and buy large
quantities of silk cocoons from which they raised and exported the eggs.
At that time, therefore, it is evident that Cypriot moths were well
thought of. Pebrine soon reached Cyprus and almost brought the Island
breed to an end. Thanks, however, to the Pasteur system, whereby pebrine
and other silkworm diseases have been brought under complete control,
the industry both here and elsewhere was not only saved but has been
considerably developed.

Writing in 1896 Mr. P. Gennadius, late Director of Agriculture, Cyprus,
stated that the local production of silkworm eggs was so small that it
could not be taken into consideration, and from the figures then given
the total average annual production at that time is estimated to have
been 35,000 okes of dry cocoons. This represented an average yield of
only 3-1/2 okes of dry cocoons, equal to 15-1/2 kilograms of fresh
cocoons, per ounce of silkworm eggs. This compared very unfavourably
with the average annual production of fresh cocoons in France and Italy
at that time, which was 35 kilograms and 30 kilograms respectively per
ounce of silkworm eggs. Moreover, this ratio had been, up to that
period, on a descending scale.

In a report published in 1897 Mr. Gennadius attributed this
unsatisfactory state of things to the following causes:

1. The importation of cheap silkworm eggs of inferior quality; the
average price paid by merchants was 2 to 2-1/2 francs per ounce, while
the price in France ranged from 9 to 12 francs.

2. The action of merchants who imported larger quantities of eggs than
they could properly dispose of.

3. The ignorance and folly of rearers who undertook to rear far more
worms than they could properly "educate," having regard to space, leaves
and labour.

In 1908 the Department of Agriculture set to work, with some success,
to improve the methods of rearing up to that time in vogue, and during
the six years ending 1913 (inclusive) the average annual quantity of
eggs hatched out was 12,319 oz., the average annual export of "dry"
cocoons was 45,551 okes, and the average annual estimated local
consumption 4,449 okes, making a total annual production of 50,000 okes,
as against 35,000 okes in 1896. The former total represents an average
yield of about 4 okes of "dry" cocoons, equal to about 18 kilograms of
fresh cocoons per ounce of seed, and marks a slight improvement upon the
ratio of eighteen years previously.

Since 1914 this branch of work has received a larger share of attention
from the Department. Five sericultural stations have been established,
regulations have been issued, inspections by qualified persons have been
systematically made, practical advice has been given to rearers in the
matter of cleanliness, disinfection and so forth, the granting of
licences to egg-raisers has been put on a better footing and the whole
industry has been brought more under observation and control.

Numerous suggestions have been made from time to time for insuring that
only a good quality of egg shall be imported. As an effective--perhaps
the most effective--means to this end, the Department of Agriculture has
set itself to improve the production of local eggs and thus indirectly
discourage their importation: holders of licences to raise eggs are
required to pass periodical examinations; several have in consequence
had their licences cancelled, new licensees have been added, and many
unlicensed persons have been prosecuted and convicted for illegally
raising eggs.

The common method of hatching practised by villagers, by placing the
eggs tied in cloth with a little cotton-wool in their beds or by
carrying them on their persons, still prevails, but it is gradually
yielding to a better system of incubation. The Department has designed a
simple, inexpensive hatching-box, and these are now being used with good

Until about three years ago probably 25 per cent. of the local rearers
were producing their own seed without any microscopical examination at
all. Bad feeding, bad ventilation, ill-adapted premises were general.
As a consequence pebrine and flacherie played such havoc that many
people were beginning to abandon silkworm rearing and uproot their
mulberry trees. The expansion and increased resources of the
Agricultural Department happily came just in time to check this backward

Silk reeling is unfortunately done in the most primitive manner with
wooden appliances and hot water by village hand labour. The locally
reeled silk is used only for Island consumption and the great bulk of
cocoons is exported in the raw state, mostly to Lyons and Milan. The
burden of freight on this bulky cargo is naturally a heavy handicap and
the local silkworm rearers have consequently to be content with very low
and inadequate prices for their cocoons. During the reeling process 20
to 25 per cent. of the silk is lost, and a further loss is incurred
during weaving owing to the numerous knots having to be cut away and the
silk threads rejoined.

A considerable loss is said to take place in selling cocoons in the
European markets. The cocoons on arrival at Marseilles are subjected to
official tests and sold according to the reports made by the official
testers. It is of advantage to the buyers that the report should be made
as unfavourable as possible as the price is lowered proportionately, and
it is felt that the cocoons exported are thus placed too much at the
mercy of the testing officials.

These Cyprus cocoons are reeled in France and Italy and the silk is
largely sold to England. It would be to the mutual benefit of England
and Cyprus if a direct demand for Cyprus reeled silk could be created
and modern reeling plant introduced into the Island. A large sum of
money, now annually paid for freight, would thus be saved to the Cypriot
producers, which would stimulate the local industry and tend to increase
greatly the annual production and improve the local weaving of silk
stuffs, an industry which has already gained considerable fame and at
which the Cypriot women are adepts.

As the following table shows, the amount of raw silk exported is a
negligible quantity, but a fairly large quantity is locally reeled and
is used in making the silk stuffs which are so much sought after in the
local bazaars:

        Export of cocoons.   |    Export of     |  Export of raw silk
                             |  cocoons waste.  |

    1909  |41,013 |France    | 2,120 |France    |    6  |Turkey
    1910  |44,550 |  "       | 1,105 |  "       |  259  |  "
          |       |          |       |          |  157  |Egypt
    1911  |57,422 |  "       | 2,704 |  "       |  246  |Turkey
          |       |          |       |          |   70  |Egypt
    1912  |43,196 |  "       | 2,571 |  "       |   90  |Turkey
          |       |          |    70 |Turkey    |    3  |Greece
    1913  |48,884 |  "       | 2,502 |France    |  118  |Turkey

Efforts have been made by the Agricultural Department to improve the
Cypriot race of silkworms. Two races of white colour, the Japanese and
the Baghdad, have been separately crossed with the yellow race of
Baghdad. These crossings began in 1912-13 and have been continued up to
the present. The objects aimed at are to establish a new Cypriot race
(_a_) giving good cocoons of a fine structure and larger in size than
the French variety and yielding a maximum quantity of silk; (_b_)
producing cocoons of a uniform colour and in demand in the European
market and (_c_) with these characteristics constant.

The results obtained so far are promising, but uniformity of colour has
not yet been attained, though it is hoped that, by careful selection,
this will become more fixed every year. It may here be mentioned that
the famous French cream-coloured race took seventy-five years to become
fully established owing to the widespread damage caused by pebrine and,
to a lesser extent, by flacherie.

It has been observed that silkworm eggs locally produced by qualified
licensees are decidedly more immune to disease and less affected by
adverse atmospheric conditions than imported seed.

The local conditions of sericulture in Cyprus have undergone a change of
late years. Formerly Nicosia and Famagusta were the districts where this
industry was chiefly carried on; but latterly whole mulberry groves have
been uprooted and replaced by fruit trees which are considered to be
more profitable. This was the inevitable result of the ignorant methods
under which the silkworm-rearing industry was conducted and the use of
bad seed permitted, whereby disease was spread and annual loss
incurred. It is hoped that the industry is now again on the upward
grade. One indication of this is that whereas a few years ago 1,000 to
1,800 cocoons went to an oke, now the figure may be put at 500 to 1,000.
Again, the waste due to excess of floss is much less than formerly, and
if only reeling by machinery can be introduced a very much better return
will result to the cocoon producer.

In the Karpas and in and around Nicosia a bi-voltine race is reared. The
results are poor, but the two rearings are made because in these
localities there is an ample supply of leaves. From this race are
produced small cocoons locally called "Confetti." They are only used for
local silk manufacture.

An inferior silk called "Koukoularika" is made from the cocoons of the
ordinary or univoltine race, both those which have been stoved and those
which have been badly stained when the moths emerged.

These cocoons, which, during the process of boiling in lye, have been
bleached, are turned inside-out and the excrement of the larva removed.
The silk is then spun by hand with the "atrachtos." These cocoons are
mostly from laggard worms and of inferior quality.

The silk industry has suffered greatly from unscrupulous dealing on the
part of the dealers in eggs. It is a common custom for these persons to
sell imported seed at 2_s._ and even less per ounce, although the law
requires all such seed to be accompanied by a Consular certificate and
affidavit showing that the price paid was not less than 4_s._ per ounce,
exclusive of freight, carriage or insurance. Secret discounts,
presumably, render this practice possible. The dealer does not ask for
payment in cash, but requires it in kind at the rate of 1 oke in every 4
okes of cocoons raised. If 28 okes of cocoons are obtained from 1 ounce
of seed the dealer would get 7 okes, valued at say 2_s._ 6_d._ per oke =
17_s._ 6_d._ for each ounce of seed. The dealer mostly gives a cash
advance of 10_s._ or £1 with the seed, stipulating that the crop is to
be sold exclusively to him, the price being left open. The unfortunate
producer is therefore in his toils.

The establishment of small Sericultural Societies would do much, both
to encourage and cheapen the cost of growing mulberry trees and assist
the industry. A few such societies have lately been formed.


This tree (_Morus alba_) is grown extensively for silkworm feeding and
is mostly found in those parts of the Island in which the silk industry
is centred, viz. in the Marathassa valley and in the Karpas, fairly
generally in and around Nicosia, Kyrenia and in the southern parts of
the Paphos district.

Little care is given to its cultivation. For the most part, in all the
older plantations, the trees are set too close together. This is less
noticeable in the newer plantations. Pruning, where given, is defective
and so is the method of gathering the leaves.

The usual method is to cut off, every year, the shoots with the leaves
on them, from about one foot above the main branches. Two reasons are
given for this by villagers. (1) It is quicker and easier to cut off
these shoots than to pick off the leaves while still on the tree. The
shoots are brought into the "magnanerie" and there placed upright in
water and the leaves can then be removed more conveniently and at
leisure. In this way the leaves remain fresh two days. (2) By cutting
these shoots in the spring, _i.e._ during the silkworm-rearing season,
which begins in early April, fresh shoots are formed which bear leaves
in late summer and autumn. The latter afford very welcome green food for
cattle and sheep. These leaves are stripped direct from the growing
tree. The effect of this second gathering is prejudicial to the tree,
which is thereby exhausted. The leaves produced the following spring are
fleshy and watery and in the uncertain weather of spring are apt to
induce flacherie.

_Agaves and Aloes_

_Agave americana_, _A. rigida_ var. _sisalana_, _Furcræa gigantea_,
_Aloe ciliata_ and _A. frutescens_ all grow well and, if properly
cultivated and handled, might be worth more attention than they at
present receive.

In 1913 a Cypriot from German East Africa who had been engaged in the
production of Sisal hemp there was struck by the few excellent plants he
found growing in Cyprus, and, had sufficient suitable land been then
obtainable, with transport facilities, was desirous of undertaking
cultivation on a commercial basis.

Samples of fibre prepared from the leaves of the abovementioned plants
were reported on by the Imperial Institute in 1912, but as the leaves
had been retted, and not scraped or scutched, their value was
depreciated, and this was estimated at from £14 to £18 per ton with best
Mexican Sisal hemp at £25 per ton.

The outlay for fencing against wandering flocks of goats and for
decorticating machinery and other expenses would deter the ordinary
cultivator from planting, and this could only be profitably undertaken
if ample capital were forthcoming.

_Broom Corn_

Until the end of last century all brooms of European type were imported.
Seed of broom corn (_Sorghum vulgare_), known locally as "tchihri" or
"skoupa," was then introduced, and gradually the cultivation has
extended and a good number of brooms of very fair quality are now
locally made. The process of broom-making is very simple and the high
price of the imported article during the war has led to a marked
extension of the industry. The plant grows well, especially on irrigated
land. The seed provides a good food for chickens and the stalks and
leaves can be used as fodder. It is a profitable crop, especially when
the cultivator makes and sells the brooms himself, and is principally
grown in the Karpas and at Athienou.


In Turkish times tobacco was grown in several parts of the Island,
though not to any large extent.

"For centuries it was produced in many districts of the Island, and
particularly in the Karpas, near Kilani, Omodhos and Paphos, but from
the time it became an article of monopoly its production was subjected
to rigorous restrictions, and its cultivation has been entirely
abandoned." (Reports, pt. ii. (1896), P. Gennadius).

The quantity grown before the occupation appears to have been very
fluctuating and to have averaged about 56,000 lb. annually, and the
Government revenue, according to British Consular reports, would not
have been more than £300 to £400 per annum. The Régie was introduced in
1874, but owing to the hampering restrictions the industry had been
pretty well crushed out by the time of British occupation in 1878.
Meanwhile the revenue from tobacco, imported mainly from Volo and
Salonica, increased greatly.

The monopoly ceased at the British occupation, but the regulations and
imposts remained. Those responsible for controlling the industry,
collecting dues, and checking illicit consumption had a troublesome
task, while on the other hand the cultivator became averse to engaging
in a cultivation which was hedged round with so many restrictions and

These exist at the present time and may here be quoted:

The grower has to notify the Customs authorities of his intention to
sow, giving the locality and area. Before picking he must again notify
the Customs, so that a Customs officer may be present at the picking and
weigh the freshly picked leaves. After storing, but before delivering
the tobacco to the factory, the Customs officer must again weigh the now
dry leaves.

The excise duties leviable are: Tobacco leaf, 4-1/2_cp._ per oke,
payable on transfer of leaf from grower to wholesale dealer. Tobacco
manufactured in Cyprus, whether made into cigarettes or otherwise, in
addition to the import duty or transport duty, pays a banderolle duty of
3_s._ 6-1/2_cp._ per oke.

These regulations are a relic of the Turkish times, as in those days the
State received a definite due called "City Toll" by charging the tobacco
cutters and tobacco sellers with a trade tax. They appear to have been
administered with more laxity in Turkish than in post-occupation times,
and it is said that the abandonment of tobacco cultivation was mainly
due to the severity with which these rather vexatious and irritating
regulations were enforced.

For many years the tobacco imported by local cigarette manufacturers
came almost entirely from Macedonia. This tobacco was of very superior
quality and cheap, and locally grown tobacco could not compete with it.
Of late years the price of Macedonian tobacco has risen considerably and
the manufacturers have therefore been induced to import Thessalian
tobacco instead, which is not of so fine a flavour and approximates more
closely to Cyprus produce. Cypriot smokers have thus had their palates
prepared for the flavour of the locally grown tobacco.

About the year 1912, when Houry's Cyprus Tobacco Association, Ltd., was
formed, a revival in the industry set in. This has since received
considerable impetus from the war, which, temporarily, has thrust
Macedonian tobacco out of the market. The primary object of the
Association was to manufacture tobacco and cigarettes from Cyprus-grown
tobacco, although foreign tobacco could also be used. Tobacco then began
to be regularly grown by the Association at a Chiftlik near Limassol and
elsewhere, and cigarettes made therefrom have had a fair local sale. The
arrival of well-to-do refugees from Latakia and other parts of Syria,
skilled in tobacco cultivation, led to great extension of this crop. A
large part of the produce was at first converted into Latakia tobacco.
Owing possibly to the lack of care and skill on the part of native
labour, partly perhaps to the unsuitability of the herbs and brushwood
used in the fuming, the market was not found sufficiently encouraging
and the Latakia, for which at best there is a very restricted market,
has almost ceased to be produced. Tobacco for cigarettes, however,
continues to be grown on a fairly large scale, but in order that land
suitable for corn and other foodstuffs should not be sacrificed to
tobacco, the cultivation of the latter is permitted only by special
licence. In 1916 and 1917 the industry fell almost entirely into the
hands of the richer refugees, who were expert growers, and they
contracted with the small farmers and peasants. A number of speculative
growers, professional men, merchants, etc., were tempted by the
prevailing high prices to embark in the industry, but the licensing
system has tended to throw it more into the hands of the _bona-fide_
farmers, who are allowed only to cultivate small areas which can be
looked after mainly by their own families. In 1916 the total production
was 89,065 okes, and the estimated yield for 1917 is 487,674 okes.

The Agricultural Department has for some five years carried out
experimental growings in various districts, and samples of tobacco so
grown have been submitted to the Imperial Institute (see BULLETIN OF THE
IMPERIAL INSTITUTE, vol. xiii. 1915, pp. 547-550). The two best samples
reported on were grown in the Nicosia plain. They were said to conform
with the Turkish tobacco as regards size of leaf, but contained too much
moisture for the English market. The tobacco was found to smoke rather
hot and was only mildly aromatic, but it was believed that these defects
would probably disappear with more experience in the curing. The samples
referred to were incompletely cured, having been submitted quickly in
order to roughly ascertain their quality. The report on the whole was
moderately encouraging, and it is hoped that later samples which have
been better cured will be found superior.

The tobacco grown in Cyprus is mostly of the Samsoun, Trebizond, Kavalla
and Hassan Keff varieties.

The normal importation of tobacco into Cyprus is about 180,000 okes,
which produces an import duty of £4,500 a year, at the rate of
4-1/2_cp._ per oke.

The average amount paid for banderolles on tobacco when issued from
factories for consumption is about £30,000 a year, which at the rate of
3_s._ 6-1/2_cp._ per oke equals a banderolle duty on 161,000 okes; the
difference of about 20,000 okes would be cigarettes exported on which no
banderolle duty is paid.

If, then, no tobacco were grown and none imported the Government would
lose £35,000 revenue annually. It would appear to be immaterial from a
revenue point of view whether tobacco were imported or grown in the
Island, since the imposts are the same, viz. on imports 4-1/2_cp._ per
oke import duty and 3_s._ 6-1/2_cp._ per oke banderolle duty; on
locally grown tobacco 4-1/2_cp._ per oke transport duty and 3_s._
6-1/2_cp._ per oke banderolle duty. There is, however, this difference,
that the money leaves the Island when the tobacco is imported and
remains and fructifies when it is locally grown.

Tobacco cultivation is in many ways well suited to this Island, as a
great part of its cultivation as well as the gathering may be done by
women and children. It need not therefore make any serious demand upon
man labour, which is already insufficient, and much of the work can be
performed by those who are unfit for heavy field work. It is a summer
crop, which is greatly in its favour, the quality when grown "dry" being
much finer than when irrigated. Its introduction broadens the basis of
cultivation, provides a revenue from land that would otherwise lie
fallow and is a useful element in any system of rotation. As it calls
for careful preparation and thorough cultivation of the soil it has a
great educative influence on a people prone to slovenly, primitive
husbandry, and corn crops following tobacco have frequently given a
larger, more uniform yield.

At the same time it is an open question whether the crop can be grown
and the leaf cured by the Cypriot farmer to produce a tobacco which,
under normal conditions, will successfully compete in quality and price
with the Macedonian tobacco.


Tanneries are fairly numerous and large quantities of skins are tanned
and sold to native boot-makers. Before the war, goat- and sheep-skins
and ox-hides were practically the only kinds handled, the two former
being mainly used for the uppers of boots. The top-boots worn by
villagers are nearly all made from goat-skin, locally called "totmaria."
Since the war pig-skins and dog-skins have been also used. Camel-skins
are often employed for making soles.

Pine bark and sumach are the native tanning substances chiefly used in
the local tanneries. The pine is one of the commonest forest trees of
the Island. Shinia leaves (_Pistacia Lentiscus_) are also used (see p.


The Sicilian, elm-leaved or tanner's sumach (_Rhus Coriaria_) is a shrub
which grows wild throughout a large part of the Island, being
principally found among the vineyards on the slopes of the southern
range of hills. The leaves are largely used in the leather tanning
industry, and a considerable export might have been established to the
United Kingdom had it not been for dissatisfaction caused by the
excessive presence of impurities, such as lentisc leaves and dust, which
were usually found in the consignments sent.

One sample was sent by the Agricultural Department to the Imperial
Institute in 1909. This was found to consist wholly of sumach and no
lentisc or other leaves, and gave on examination the following results:
Moisture, 10.1; ash, 9.8; tannin (by hide-power method), 26.9;
extractive matter (non-tannin), 16.7 per cent. The report showed that
the leaves produced a good leather, similar in texture and colour to
that obtained with Sicilian sumach, and was considered likely to fetch
about the same price as a medium quality of Sicilian sumach, which
contains from 25 to 30 per cent. of tannin (see BULLETIN OF THE IMPERIAL
INSTITUTE, vol. x. 1912, p. 45).

Two further samples were sent in 1916. The first sample "consisted of a
finely-ground yellowish-green powder, containing a quantity of sand,
small stones and iron dust." The second sample consisted of a
"coarsely-ground, yellowish-green powder, containing a quantity of
pinkish unground twigs, sand and small stones, together with some iron

The results of examination were as follows:

                                    NO. 1.    NO. 2.
                                    _Per cent._   _Per cent._
  Moisture                             9.3              9.2
  Insoluble matters                   53.6             57.8
  Extractive matters (non-tannin)     14.6             13.0
  Tannin                              22.5             20.0
  Ash                                  8.5             12.3
  Tintometer readings--Red             0.7              1.2
                       Yellow          2.1              2.5

Both samples were low in tannin, compared with the Sicilian percentage
of 25 to 30.

Sample No. 1 was valued at £13, and No. 2 at £12, per ton, with Sicilian
sumach at £15 per ton; the lower value being due to the lower tannin
contents, owing to the presence of sand, dirt, etc. It may be assumed
that if more care in preparing clean samples were taken, Cyprus sumach
would greatly improve its market value.


There are a few well-grown specimens of valonea oak (_Quercus Ægilops_)
to be seen, but being a slow grower and as it takes many years to reach
the stage when it yields a profit, it does not commend itself to the
Cypriot tree planter. It prefers deep soil and requires artificial
irrigation or a greater rainfall than we have in Cyprus.

It has been tried at Salamis and failed, and also at Machaera with the
same result. It has been grown also on Troödos, but after six years'
growth attained a height of only 1 foot.

Only an insignificant quantity of Valonea cups are locally produced.
These come from the Paphos district and are said to be rather poor in
tannin. The bulk comes from Anatolia. The pre-war price for the latter
was 5_s._ per cantar of 44 okes, that for the locally grown was 20 paras
per oke on the spot, transport charges bringing up the price to about 1
copper piastre per oke delivered.

_Acacia Barks_

_Acacia pycnantha_ has been grown in Cyprus, but does not acclimatise
well, and neither the soil nor climate seems favourable. _A. mollissima_
also has not shown any very successful growth. _A. cyanophylla_ and _A.
longifolia_, on the other hand, thrive excellently. They are great
drought-resisters and grow on almost any soil. They have been very
extensively grown by the Forest Department in every district for fuel
and along the coast upon sand dunes. They have not been utilised so far
for the extraction of tanning, except experimentally. Samples of the
barks of the two last-named species were found on examination at the
Imperial Institute to be too poor in tannin to be worth exporting, but
they should be quite suitable for use in Cyprus (see BULLETIN OF THE
IMPERIAL INSTITUTE, vol. xi. 1913, pp. 412-414).


In former years, and within the period of the British occupation, the
cultivation of madder (_Rubia tinctorum_) was fairly flourishing in
Cyprus. The old madder grounds can still be distinguished, and are
mostly to be seen near Morphou, Ayia Irini, Sotira, Ayios Serghios,
Famagusta and Larnaca. These madder grounds were excavations made in
order to expose the soil lying beneath 10 to 30 ft. of drift-sand; and
they form, as it were, a series of tanks along the shore. The red dye
obtained from the dried and ground madder roots constituted at one time
one of the most valued of dye-stuffs, and was in special demand for
military uniforms; but this has been entirely superseded by artificial
coal-tar derivatives and, as Gennadius says: "The happy days of the
cultivation of this plant are past, never to return."

It is propagated mostly by root cuttings. The leaf begins to dry at
about the sixth month. There is no further growth above ground, but the
roots continue to increase and shoot downwards till moisture affects
them. "When they get too wet, they become black or rot. In Cyprus this
rotting would often begin after about eighteen months, while in superior
soils the roots would continue to improve during thirty-six months, and
they would be known in the trade as eighteen months and thirty-six
months roots. In Famagusta district they remain mostly eighteen months,
while at Morphou they would continue fully thirty-six months, during the
whole of which time the surface ground should be kept free of weeds."

After the root is lifted it is generally dried; if packed before quite
dry, it ferments and deteriorates.

Two and a half tons of dried roots would be produced from an acre of
good ground, and the madder grounds used to fetch a very high price.


_Liquorice Root_

The liquorice plant (_Glycyrrhiza glabra_, Linn.) grows mainly in the
Famagusta and Kyrenia districts, and the roots are collected and
exported from time to time. Two samples were reported upon in 1917 by
the Imperial Institute (see BULLETIN OF THE IMPERIAL INSTITUTE, vol. xv.
1917, p. 312) and the following opinions of two London firms of brokers
were elicited.

(_a_) One firm described the Lapithos (Kyrenia district) roots as medium
to bold unpeeled roots of good flavour, fairly well cleaned and very
well dried; and valued them at from 50_s._ to 55_s._ per cwt. ex wharf,
London (February 1917). The firm described the Famagusta roots as
thinner than the Lapithos sample and not so well freed from smooth
valueless pieces, but mentioned that they had apparently been washed.
They valued these roots at 50_s._ per cwt. ex wharf, London (February
1917). The firm added that both samples were exceptionally dry, and that
it seemed doubtful if the material in the bulk would be as dry.

(_b_) A second firm considered the roots to be rather mixed, inferior
quality, and worth at that time about 45_s._ per cwt. in London
(February 1917).


_Pyrethrum (Chrysanthemum) cinerariæfolium_ grows well from seed and is
an attractive garden plant with pretty, marguerite-like flowers. These
yield the pyrethrum of commerce so largely used as an insecticide, and
which is said to form the chief ingredients in various flea powders.
These flowers, when dried and ground to dust, are employed for this
purpose by the natives. The original pyrethrum powder came from plants
growing in Dalmatia.

The plant was introduced into the Cyprus Government Gardens some twenty
years ago and has since spread more or less throughout the Island. It is
perennial and drought-resistant, and will also stand several degrees of
frost and seems indifferent to soil, provided it is not too damp. The
seed is sown in September and the seedlings are transplanted in April or
May, but it multiplies itself readily by suckers. The flowers, which are
about three times the size of the Chamomile (_Matricaria Chamomilla_),
which they closely resemble, are gathered as soon as they are fully
open, and are then dried in a well-ventilated room. They are usually
sold in bales of 50 to 100 kilogrammes. One donum may produce about 100
okes of flowers annually.


Bulbs of the local squill were submitted in 1917 to Kew and
provisionally identified as _Urginea Scilla._ Like the asphodel, this
root is found everywhere. If sliced and placed about the house they are
said to drive away mice. It was intended by the Agricultural Department
to make an attempt to find a market for these roots, in the hope that if
they could obtain a small payment for them farmers might be induced to
collect them off their lands, but the project had to be abandoned for
the time owing to the war. There is a small demand for these roots, if
sliced and dried, in Europe for medicinal purposes.

Squill bulbs from Cyprus were examined at the Imperial Institute in 1916
(see BULLETIN OF THE IMPERIAL INSTITUTE, vol. xv. 1917, p. 311). The
samples, which were submitted to a firm of drug manufacturers, were
objected to on account of their dark colour, and were valued at about
6_d._ per lb. as against a pre-war value of 3_d._ per lb.

According to the report by the Imperial Institute there are two
varieties of _Urginea Scilla,_ white and red, the scales of the former
being yellowish-white and those of the latter having a reddish tint, and
there are also many intermediate forms. Though the red and the white
varieties have been stated to possess equal medicinal value, the white
variety is preferred in England.

In making stone irrigation channels which are lined with a coating of
lime and sand or earth, local masons sometimes rub over this lining with
a sliced squill which has been dipped in oil. It is found that this
tends to harden and glaze the lining and prevent it from cracking.

_Colocynth or Bitter Apple_

The colocynth (_Citrullus Colocynthis_), locally called "pikrankoura" or
"petrankoura," grows wild in some parts of the plains. The round
yellowish-green fruit, about the size of an orange or small melon,
ripens in July to September and, after being gathered, is skinned and
dried in the sun. It is used by druggists as a purgative. Until about
ten years ago it was cultivated on a small scale and an annual export of
about £400 in value took place, chiefly to England and Austria. It was
then in demand, it is said, as an adulterant of quinine. The fruit is
locally thought to be a remedy for rheumatism. For this purpose the
fruits are picked and put in a saucepan and covered with olive oil.
After cooking for six hours the pulp or ointment is rubbed into the
affected part. The European demand having ceased, the plant is now only
found in a wild state.


The asphodel (_Asphodelus ramosus_), locally known as "spourdellos" or
"spourtoulla," is a troublesome and abundant weed in many parts of the
Island, up to an altitude of about 4,000 ft. The peasant farmer rarely
attempts to remove it, though it occupies a large proportion of his land
to the detriment of the crops. In the hills the villagers dry the bulbs
and feed them to their sheep, cattle and donkeys. A paste is also made
from the roots which is used by boot-makers to stick the leathers
together. To make this paste the roots are dried in the oven and ground,
and then mixed with ground vetches or maize and made into the gum or
paste locally known as "tsirichi."


[Footnote 4: _A quantity of stored plant was destroyed by fire, reducing
the output._]



Although Cyprus bees are world-famed, bee-keeping in the Island is still
in its infancy.

The native hive is generally an earthenware cylinder or pipe about 2 ft.
6 in. long and 9 in. in diameter (see Plate VII, fig. 1). Hives are also
made of a mixture of earth and chopped straw, similar to native
mud-bricks. These hives are also cylindrical, about 18 in. long and 10
to 12 in. in diameter with a 3-in. thickness of wall. These are cooler
in summer and warmer in winter, and produce stronger colonies than the
earthenware ones.

[Illustration: PLATE VII.

Fig. 1.--Cypriot Earthenware Beehives.

Fig. 2.--Shipping Fruit at Larnaca.]

Of late years the Agricultural Department has introduced modern hives
with movable frames, and had it not been for the high cost of timber
since the war, the number of these would have increased rapidly. The
difficulty is to get the local carpenters to construct them properly and
with finish. Practical hive construction is taught at the Agricultural

Cyprian bees are, par excellence, the yellow race of the world. They are
of uniform colour, size and character, slightly smaller than the
Italians and the blacks. They have great power of flight, are very
prolific and vigorous and good honey-gatherers. They are by many
considered vicious and ill-tempered. This is possibly due to the
constant war they have to wage against hornets, which in this country
are a real plague and frequently exterminate whole colonies and
sometimes whole apiaries. Various devices are employed for the
protection of bees in or near the hives.

A good number of Cyprian queen bees have been imported into Europe and
America, and are very highly regarded wherever they have been
established. In the eighties Cyprian queens were sold in the United
States of America at £2 each. This high price checked the importation
and the crossing of Cyprians with Italians and blacks took place, the
hybrid offspring being sold by dealers as Cyprians. These, however, did
not possess the best characteristics of Cyprians, and for a time they
brought about a reaction in favour of other breeds.

Cyprus possesses excellent honey-producing plants in the eucalyptus
trees, orange groves, "throumbia" or wild thyme, and other aromatic

In the neighbourhood of orange groves a competent bee-keeper can obtain
an average of 50 lb. of honey per colony; although unfortunately the
ordinary village bee-keeper gets little more than 6 to 10 lb.

Locally produced beeswax is of fine quality with delicious aroma and of
a bright yellow colour, said to be superior to that imported from Asia
Minor and Egypt.

The industry is susceptible of considerable development and, when
brought under more complete control, should be capable of establishing a
good export trade of honey and possibly of beeswax.


Basket-making is a considerable industry, as all fruit and much other
produce is transported in baskets mostly designed for the backs of
donkeys or mules. The export trade of fruit and vegetables creates a
constant demand (see Plate VII, fig. 2). The bulk of these baskets are
made of reeds (_Arundo_) which grow luxuriantly by the side of water
channels or wherever moist soil is found. This material is not an ideal
one for the purpose, as the baskets are easily crushed and lose shape,
to the detriment of the contents. The reeds are therefore often
stiffened by the introduction of an occasional breadth of some other
material, _e.g._ shinia (_Pistacia Lentiscus_), tremithia or myrtle. All
these are much used in basket-making, though the latter is heavy. There
is a native willow (_Salix alba_) and also the weeping willow (_S.
babylonica_). These have not been used until recently when, by the
efforts of the Agricultural Department, a number of these trees have
been pollarded and the new shoots have been found quite satisfactory for
the purpose.

Six years ago a number of osier cuttings were imported from England, but
unfortunately they have not succeeded so far owing to a succession of
dry years. The surviving plants were this autumn removed to a more
suitable site, but after suffering from drought they have now been
almost destroyed by heavy floods.

In order to encourage the manufacture of better baskets for the fruit
trade between Cyprus and Egypt the Agricultural Department provides
practical instruction in basket-making, and a qualified teacher pays
occasional visits to basket-making villages and demonstrates the work
and teaches improved patterns to the villagers and school boys.

_Fruit and Vegetable Preserving_

There is little doubt that the establishment of small factories for
canning or bottling fruits and vegetables would be a profitable
undertaking. Owing to the suddenness with which, in the heat of summer,
the fruits ripen in Cyprus, and the consequent glut that often ensues,
market prices fall to a point at which it does not pay to pick and
handle. Transport difficulties also make it precarious, in the case of
soft fruits, to attempt a sale outside the immediate place of
production. Increased cultivation is thus discouraged.

In growing fruits or vegetables for canning or bottling a man is
independent of market fluctuations, whereas at present both producers
and consumers are in the hands of the local shopkeepers, who have the
former entirely at their mercy.

The Egyptian fruit and vegetable trade is very well worth cultivating,
but until better measures can be enforced in the matter of transport by
sea as well as land, shippers run the risk of heavy losses, which, no
doubt, recoil upon the unlucky producers.

       *       *       *       *       *

Specimens of most of the products referred to in these notes may be seen
in the Cyprus Court in the Public Exhibition Galleries of the Imperial

_Printed by Hazell, Watson & Viney, Ld., London and Aylesbury, England._

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's note:

In the original, illustrations were marked as 'facing page.' That has not
been reproduced in this e-book.

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