Thursday, 28 February 2008

New Young Researcher: Demetris Assos

As promised I will post here about new and exciting researchers dealing with Cyprus or Malta. Thee week I will present Demetris Assos. Demetris is a post graduate student at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, under the supervision of the renowned “end of empire” scholar Professor Robert Holland. Demetris is trying to fill a very important gap in the present analysis of the 1950s and 1960s by providing history from the point of view of Archbishop Makarios. Archbishop Makarios was an anti-colonial leader as well as a leader of the church; yet despite his pivotal role in the events that took place in Cyprus at that time no one has tried to analyse Makarios, motives and limitation of independent action. This is a very worth while effort as the Archbishop did not leave any personal archive or significant correspondence: thus Demetris is masterfully trying to gleam Makarios’ motives and possible options though the “mirror” of other people’s opinion about the Archbishop based around seminal events of the time.

If Demetris does not mind I will post a working paper here soon.

New President in Cyprus And Inflation: New Post and Conferences

I promised to have a small think piece on the challenges facing President Christofias in regards to inflation but i have not be working to my capacity this week - will be up here for sure next week.

In the meantime i would like to advertise two great oportunities: A conference in Belfast and a one year research post in Cyprus:

Queen’s University Belfast, 21 May 2008

The International Politics and Ethnic Conflict Cluster and the Centre for Research in Political Psychology at Queen’s University Belfast will host a one-day multi-disciplinary workshop on Cyprus and Divided Societies on Wednesday 21 May 2008.

The workshop aims to bring together younger and more established researchers interested in factors and processes which facilitate or hinder the resolution of inter-group conflict in Cyprus with researchers who are working on similar issues in different societies. We invite papers from researchers working from different disciplinary perspectives. We especially welcome papers which focus on Cyprus and involve comparisons with other divided societies. We look forward to papers investigating the impact of Europeanization, media in divided societies, the role of religious actors, institutional design and social psychological dimensions of conflict. Comparative studies of Cyprus and Northern Ireland are particularly welcome.

Paper proposals (max. 300 words) should be sent by email to no later than 17 March 2008. A panel will assess the paper proposals and successful applicants will be informed by 20 March.

The workshop will form a prelude to the Mitchell conference ‘Moving on from Conflict: Lessons from Northern Ireland’ on May 22-23 a key event celebrating the 10 year anniversary of the Belfast Agreement

For more information please contact Neophytos Loizides at

Organising Committee:
Professor Evanthia Lyons,
Centre for Research in Political Psychology, School of Psychology, QUB
Dr Neophytos Loizides, School of Politics, International Studies and Philosophy, QUB
Iosif Kovras, School of Politics, International Studies and Philosophy, QUB
Nikos Ilia, Centre for Research in Political Psychology, School of Psychology, QUB



The PRIO Cyprus Centre is seeking an experienced Cypriot researcher.

The International Peace Research Institute, Oslo (PRIO) was one of the first centres of peace research in the world when it was founded in 1959. The PRIO Cyprus Centre (PCC) opened in September 2005.

The PCC focuses on research about issues and developments relevant to the Cyprus problem and to its eventual settlement. The Centre’s aim is to contribute to an informed public debate on such matters. It seeks to do this through dissemination of the findings and analysis offered by its bi-communal research team as well as various activities directed at facilitating dialogue.

Among the topics currently researched at the PCC are the property issue, migration and settlers, attitudes towards reconciliation, human rights and minority rights, civil society, economic development, gender and peace, environment, sustainable diplomacy and history teaching. The PCC is constantly identifying new research areas. (For more information see

The PCC has a vacancy for one Cypriot researcher from 1 June 2008 onwards, for at least 1 year. The candidate must:

  • Hold a higher academic degree and have solid research experience;

  • Have track record of publishing in international peer-reviewed journals;

  • Be fluent in English and Greek (knowledge of Turkish an advantage)

  • Have good presentation and dissemination skills

  • Be capable of securing funding for research projects.

Remuneration will be in accordance with academic experience.

Applicants should forward by email to or

  • A letter of expression of interest;

  • An up-to-date CV (including a list of publications and information on grants obtained if any);

  • An outline of a proposed research project (1500-2000 words)

The deadline for the application is Monday 10th March 2008. A confirmation of receipt will be sent within two working days. Short-listed candidates will be notified by 19th March.

Saturday, 16 February 2008

Cyprus and Malta in the context of South European Economic Development

This is a work in progress that I just presented at the LSE. The comments were very helpful: They have given me so much to think about. What was clear was that Malta was in its own type of dependency while Cyprus suffered from similar developmental challenges of South Eastern Europe but in a more acute form. A working version of the paper is provided here.

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Dyslexia and Business

An interesting article on Dyslexia and Business; I think the problem is that the study is not based on actuall diagnosed cases but how people identify themselves.

December 6, 2007

Tracing Business Acumen to Dyslexia


It has long been known that dyslexics are drawn to running their own businesses, where they can get around their weaknesses in reading and writing and play on their strengths. But a new study of entrepreneurs in the United States suggests that dyslexia is much more common among small-business owners than even the experts had thought.

The report, compiled by Julie Logan, a professor of entrepreneurship at the Cass Business School in London, found that more than a third of the entrepreneurs she had surveyed — 35 percent — identified themselves as dyslexic. The study also concluded that dyslexics were more likely than nondyslexics to delegate authority, to excel in oral communication and problem solving and were twice as likely to own two or more businesses.

“We found that dyslexics who succeed had overcome an awful lot in their lives by developing compensatory skills,” Professor Logan said in an interview. “If you tell your friends and acquaintances that you plan to start a business, you’ll hear over and over, ‘It won’t work. It can’t be done.’ But dyslexics are extraordinarily creative about maneuvering their way around problems.”

The study was based on a survey of 139 business owners in a wide range of fields across the United States. Professor Logan called the number who said they were dyslexic “staggering,” and said it was significantly higher than the 20 percent of British entrepreneurs who said they were dyslexic in a poll she conducted in 2001.

She attributed the greater share in the United States to earlier and more effective intervention by American schools to help dyslexic students deal with their learning problems. Approximately 10 percent of Americans are believed to have dyslexia, experts say.

One reason that dyslexics are drawn to entrepreneurship, Professor Logan said, is that strategies they have used since childhood to offset their weaknesses in written communication and organizational ability — identifying trustworthy people and handing over major responsibilities to them — can be applied to businesses.

“The willingness to delegate authority gives them a significant advantage over nondyslexic entrepreneurs, who tend to view their business as their baby and like to be in total control,” she said.

William J. Dennis Jr., senior research fellow at the Research Foundation of the National Federation of Independent Business, a trade group in Washington, said the study’s results “fit into the pattern of what we know about small-business owners.”

“Entrepreneurs are hands-on people who push a minimum of paper, do lots of stuff orally instead of reading and writing, and delegate authority, all of which suggests a high verbal facility,” Mr. Dennis said. “Compare that with corporate managers who read, read, read.”

Indeed, according to Professor Logan, only 1 percent of corporate managers in the United States have dyslexia.

Much has been written about the link between dyslexia and entrepreneurial success. Fortune Magazine, for example, ran a cover story five years ago about dyslexic business leaders, including Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Atlantic Airways; Charles R. Schwab, founder of the discount brokerage firm that bears his name; John T. Chambers, chief executive of Cisco; and Paul Orfalea, founder of the Kinko’s copy chain.

Similarly, Rosalie P. Fink, a professor at Lesley College in Cambridge, Mass., wrote a paper in 1998 on 60 highly accomplished people with dyslexia.

But Professor Logan said hers was the first study that she knew of that tried to measure the percentage of entrepreneurs who have dyslexia. Carl Schramm, president of the Kauffman Foundation, which financed the research, agreed. He said the findings were surprising but, he said, there was no previous baseline to measure it against.

Emerson Dickman, president of the International Dyslexia Association in Baltimore and a lawyer in Maywood, N.J., said the study’s findings “just make sense.”

“Individuals who have difficulty reading and writing tend to deploy other strengths,” Mr. Dickman, who has dyslexia, said. “They rely on mentors, and as a result, become very good at reading other people and delegating duties to them. They become adept at using visual strengths to solve problems.”

Mr. Orfalea, 60, who left Kinko’s — now FedEx Kinko’s — seven years ago, and who now dabbles in a hodgepodge of business undertakings, is almost proud of having dyslexia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

“I get bored easily, and that is a great motivator,” he said. “I think everybody should have dyslexia and A.D.D.

He attributes his success to his difficulty with reading and writing because it forced him to master verbal communication.

“I didn’t have a lot of self-confidence as a kid,” he said. “And that is for the good. If you have a healthy dose of rejection in your life, you are going to have to figure out how to do it your way.”

He said his biggest advantage was his realization that because of his many inadequacies, he had to delegate important tasks to subordinates. “My motto is: Anybody else can do anything better than me,” he said.

Danny Kessler, 26, also has dyslexia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Mr. Kessler founded Angels with Attitude, which holds seminars for women on self-defense. He is a co-founder of Club E Network (, which sponsors “networking events,” runs an online chat room for entrepreneurs and produces television shows about them.

Like Mr. Orfalea, he said he had low self-esteem as a child, and now views that as a catapult into the entrepreneurial world. “I told myself I would never be a lawyer or a doctor,” he said. “But I wanted to make a lot of money. And I knew business was the only way I was going to do it.”

In high school, Mr. Kessler said, “I became cool with the teachers. I developed a rapport with them. I was able to convince almost all of them to nudge my grade up just a bit. I adopted a strategy for squeezing through the system.”

As for the importance of entrusting tasks to others, Mr. Kessler says his limitations have endowed him with a “razor sharp” intuition that allows him to ascertain within minutes of meeting people whether he can depend on them and what they would be good at in an organization.

Drew Devitt, 45, who also has dyslexia, said he started Thoughtware Products in college to produce videos for real estate brokers. Today, he runs a successful $9 million company in Aston, Pa., called New Way Air Bearings that makes bearings for precision machine tools.

Asked about mentors, Mr. Devitt ticks off a list, and it is a long one, beginning with his parents, who sold imported bearing materials out of their home.

Indirectly, he confirmed that he gives free rein to his deputies. Asked about the claim on his company’s Web site that it is a “market leader,” he sighed. “That’s not something I would say,” he said. “Actually, it’s baloney. But that’s what our marketing people came up with. You can’t do everything. You have to let people do their job.”

Monday, 4 February 2008

Young Acedemics of the world: Unite!

I am privileged enough to live at an amazing place called goodenough college here in London:
It’s a post graduate college full of exciting and interesting PhD students studying in a huge array of topics and disciplines. So I know and I am known by a lot of PhD students.
I will try to present one person I know and admire per week: presenting this Week Maria G. Antoniou who is enviromental engineering PhD candidate at the University of Cincinnati, Specialising in water treatment - effectively using new technology to tackle problems of water pollution.
Maria with the Reaserch team has written the editorial on the new danger of cyanotoxins in water in the Journal of Enviromental engineering Volume 131 Issue 9. Lets hope Maria and the team will be able to concentrate on issues aftecting countries in the Medditerranean.

Friday, 1 February 2008

Great Sources Unused in Cypriot Historiography

A Great Resource that is untapped in terms of Greek and especially Cypriot Historiography is the Ionian Bank Archives held at my university, the LSE. The resource has been fully digitised for all archives form 1839 to 1918 - substantial collections exist for Cyprus form the period 1925 onwards. I was surprised to learn that the first branch opened in Nicosia in 1926 opposite the hotel Cleopatra near Leoforos Makariou; in fact the old "Tsiaousis Store" in Phaneromeni was the Ionian Bank new offices built in 1935: notice the pun by the architect of placing Ionian type facade to the Ionian bank.

LSE Cliometric Group

This is a very recent paper presented to one of the best forums of discussion i have ever been on - the student led LSE Cliometric society. It is on methodology i used on the Historical National Accounts of Cyprus and Malta. If you are a research student looking for interesting feedback please email the society - it can be very rewarding.

A note on historical sources on economic history of Cyprus and Malta

This is a paper I delivered on Bergen in Norway on the available resources for economic history in Malta and Cyprus. Please cite as: Alexander Apostolides, "Cyprus and Malta: Data resources on Former British Colonies" Workshop on Standardised Historical National Accounts for Europe 1870 - 2000, Norwegian School of Economics , Bergen, November 23 - 26, 2006.

Workshop Bergen:

Cyprus and Malta: Data resources on Former British Colonies”

By Alexander Apostolides

Introduction: The status of National accounts in Cyprus and Malta Today

Both Malta and Cyprus became new members of the European Union in 2004. During entry negotiations, Cyprus moved from the 1968 SNA system to adopting the European System of Accounts (ESA 1995). Maltese national accounts did not exactly conform to 1968 SNA prior to accession negotiations, as the production approach in estimating the Gross Domestic Product was never attempted. During negotiations both national statistical offices won exceptions from the aquis that affect Historical National Account creation. In the case of Cyprus it was accepted that backward calculation of the GDP according to current practises would be limited. Malta secured significant exceptions both in limiting backward re-calculations and in what data it needs to supply EUROSTAT in the future.

Both National statistical offices were post-war institutions. The pre-cursors of the Maltese National Statistical Office (NSO) and the Cypriot Στατιστική Υπηρέσια (Υστατ) were established in 1947. The first national accounts were published in 1954 – but in Cyprus national account estimates were calculated back to 1950. As far as I am aware, there has been no attempt by either service to use current ESA practise to correct previous estimates.

There were some attempts to estimate national income prior to 1954, but no effort none was sufficient or explicit enough in their methodology. Cyprus and Malta were included in Maddison’s 1995 estimates as a joint GDP estimate, before they were submerged in a group named “Small Western European Countries” in subsequent updates of his work (Maddison, 1995; Maddison, 2006). Maddison calculated benchmark estimators for Cyprus and Malta back to 1850, while his current estimations for “Small Western European Countries” go back to 1 AD. The actual methodology is unclear but it seems that Maddison used post-1950 data in order to calculate the GDP of Cyprus and Malta and calculated the differential of the joint GDP with the South European average. Maddison extrapolated the series backwards by maintaining the GDP per capita differential vis-à-vis his calculated HNA for Southern European countries. Thus although a useful indicator, the Maddison estimates are clearly insufficient as they just assume that the 20% income differential of Cyprus and Malta in relation to Southern Europe in 1950 was constant throughout their history, and their economies developed exactly as the average of the economies of Spain, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Ireland.

Other GDP estimates for sporadic years exist, especially for Cyprus. Christodoulou made an estimate for 1927 as £3.45 million and for “mid-1930s” as £2.8 million, but is completely obscure on his sources and methodology (Christodoulou, 1992). His result is probably based on an estimate based on tax records by members of the Cypriot Legislative assembly for 1926 of £3.5 million (Georghallides, 1985 p.159). By far the most authoritative estimate was made by Fairfield in 1881; he estimated Cypriot national income at the time as £981,000. The methodology and source of data for any of these estimates is completely unknown, but Georghallides argues that the Fairfield estimate is accurate (Georghallides, 1979).

Overall none of the above estimates provide their methodology in order to be able to reproduce their results. I have yet to find any GDP estimates of Maltese income prior to 1954.

My thesis plans to reduce the knowledge gap in the economic history of Cyprus and Malta by constructing HNAs for both countries. I am attempting to provide yearly estimates of GDP per capita (and some estimates of capital accumulation) for the period 1921 -1939. I have chosen a small time period in order to be able to concentrate in constructing detailed Historical National Accounts (HNAs) rather than scattered benchmarks, partly due to the greater data availability of the interwar period but mainly due to the particular importance of the interwar period for both islands both in terms of politics and economics. The methodology used aims to follow the best HNA practise, subject to the constraint of time available to just one researcher. The work of Kostellenos and Prados de la Escosura for Greece and Spain is consulted throughout my work as a check on my methodology and the plausibility of my assumptions (Kostellenos, 1995; Prados de la Escosura, 1993). Thus I am hoping to produce yearly GDP estimates by using the production method, and subsequently calculating for some years the GDP by using the income method (by using data not used in the production method) in order to check the estimates. The thesis has as an overall objective a possible comparison of Cyprus and Malta. This will allow a greater understanding of the interplay between the economic conditions of the islands and political developments of the time.

I am currently concentrating in using published government sources of the time. Extensive archival work has also taken place in Cyprus, but not yet in Malta. The advantage in preferring Colonial government sources is that most Cypriot and Maltese publications had to follow general colonial office guidelines: thus by establishing a method of creating HNAs by relying on published colonial sources will enable a more rapid reproduction of HNAs for other British Colonies. It is worth noting that there was an attempt in 1942 by the British War Cabinet Office to estimate Colonial national incomes using a similar range of published sources as I plan to use for other British colonies (Deane, 1948).[1] However an identical approach can not be used as Deane’s approach does not take into account current established national account practises.

Data sources:

The Data sources for Cyprus and Malta are roughly similar, and thus discussed in tandem. The data sources discussed are all for the period of British rule in Cyprus (1878 -1960) and Malta (1815 – 1964). A brief summary of data resources for the 16th – 18th century can be provided on request.

It is worth noting that it is not necessarily true that the availability and quality of data is greater as one gets closer in time to the first estimates of national income. During the first half of the twentieth century there were frequent changes in definitions, altering what was being measured. Some of these changes (for example the definition of a Dwelling in the 1947 Census) create rather than eliminate problems for HNA creation. The quality of data in Cyprus also deteriorated in the 1950s due to anti-colonial tensions and inter-communal tensions resulting to the EOKA struggle in 1955 – 1959. This is also true for archival research: the archives in Malta and Cyprus have not been fully indexed. Thus in the case of Cyprus all of the Secretarial Archive before 1945 has a thematic index (that was created by the colonial authorities) that is a significant help to archival work. It is much more difficult to find any files for the period 1945 – 1960, due to the lack of a thematic index.


Being British dependencies, both Cyprus and Malta had a Census taken every 10 years (i.e. 1931, 1921, 1911, 1901 etc). For Malta the first census was in 1842; Cyprus had its first Census in 1881. The Second World War disrupted taking a census for 1941; thus Malta has a census for 1948 and Cyprus for 1946 instead. A summary census report was published after every census: I have yet to discover the census returns for any of these censuses.

Accuracy of the censuses:

For Cyprus the Census returns were collected by colonial officials who were diverted to from their normal operations for the purpose. There was no dedicated section of the bureaucracy for statistical work, and this tended to have an effect on the quality of the published results. The questionnaires were completed by government officials in the towns, thus providing some basic guarantee to their quality. However for the overwhelmingly rural population, the census questioners were completed by the village headsmen (Mukhtars), for a small financial reward. Thus mistakes in the initial gathering of census data were possible, especially in more remote villages where the Mukhtars’ literacy was limited, and where the Mukhtars they had minimal supervision. However Demographic Studies (Verropoulou, 1997; Agathagelou, 1985) argue that the census data are more accurate than other government sources on population and demography.

Occupation statistics underreport the gainfully employed population, as well as persons employed in agriculture. There is an even greater underreporting of women in employment, especially in the rural areas.

Examples of such underreporting can be found in the 1931 Census. Only 56% of the Male population is considered to be gainfully employed, with more than 11% of the male population in “Unknown Occupation” and 16% in “Persons without Occupation”. A staggeringly low percentage of the female population is considered to be gainfully employed (20%), with 35% of the female population in “Unknown Occupation” and 34% in “Persons without Occupation”.

The Maltese census questionnaire was given to every head of household to fill, subject to a fine if the questionnaire was not returned. Thus the probability for spurious answers was high, considering that over 60% of the population in Malta was illiterate in 1931. This method of census taking also seems to result to an underreporting of women in employment: the ratio of male agriculturalists to female agriculturalists in 1931 was 5:1, which is not considered plausible.

Thus any attempt to use occupation statistics derived from the censuses for HNA purposes should be treated with great caution. The data on occupation should be seen as indicative rather than definitive. In my own attempts to create HNAs I have avoided using occupation data as much as possible, but it seems that some use of the occupation data is necessary to estimate production in the service and handicraft sectors of the economy.

Census Information:

A majority of the questions asked by the census takers which are of interest for HNA construction are very similar over time. Significant improvements took place in the 1921, 1931 and 1946 census where additional questions on secondary occupation, housing and ownership were introduced. An example of such change is the change in the definition of what constitutes a dwelling in the 1921 and the 1946 census, which makes using 1946 data to calculate dwelling stock difficult. These improvements are not always compatible with previous censuses; thus care is needed in comparing census data over time.

New data tables were added in each census. By 1946 the Census was extensive and covered a large array of issues:

  • Population (Population, Distribution, Birthplace, Religion, Mother-tongue, Sex and Age)
  • Other Demographic Data (Mortality, Life expectancy, Conjugal Condition, Age of Marriage, Childbirths, Children per household)
  • Literacy (Including Knowledge of English)
  • Occupation
  • Aliens and Infirmity
  • Housing Accommodation and Housing Services (Dwellings, Rooms per dwelling, Type of Accommodation and type of Tenure, Domestic water sanitations and electricity)
  • An agricultural Census (see below)

The 1948 Maltese Census did not look much different as most of the questions were similar. The largest difference between the Cypriot and the Maltese census was the lack of an agricultural census in Malta; however the Maltese census has statistics on wages and income that the Cypriot 1946 census does not cover. Most of these categories are broken by age and by district, as well as broken down in a rural / urban form[2].

The Cypriot Agriculture census provides information about farm holding sizes, irrigated land, crop bearing trees (especially carob and olive yields) and other agricultural yields not covered by the statistical Blue books (aniseed and cherries). The 1946 census also provides a historical perspective; it offers a four-year moving average of prices and output for the ten most important agricultural products of Cyprus from 1896 to 1946.

Going further back in time the basic categories of population, literacy, age, aliens, infirmity and dwellings are given, but less information is given both in terms of detail as well as in terms of breakdown.

Blue Books

By far the most important source of data for Cyprus and Malta are the yearly statistical blue books. The blue books were a yearly compendium of statistics of the colony compiled under colonial office requirements. They were published from the mid-19th century and were discontinued with the outbreak of the Second World War (they were replaced after the war by statistical abstracts such as the Cyprus and the Malta review).

The Colonial blue books combine data from all government departments into one published source, and were published yearly. Some of the sections most relevant to HNA construction are listed below. The sections numbering is from the 1931 Cyprus Blue; the Maltese Blue book of 1931 is similar except it has an additional section on military expenditure as the last section. Blue books prior to 1921 have fewer sections, but most of the information relevant to HNA creation is present.

The 1931 Cyprus blue book has over thirty sections with the most important in terms of HNA are:

Section 1: Taxes Duties and other sources of revenue

· A detailed description of every tax, duty or fee levied by the government. i.e. Barley duty: 3 copper piastres to the counterweight. (1 copper piaster to a penny)

Section 3: Government Revenue and Expenditure (comparing why it rose or fell)

· Comparing each tax with the revenue of the previous year and stating the cause of decrease. i.e. Import duties decreased by £51263 in 1931 due to the “general trade depression and decline in commodity prices”

Section 7: Municipal corporations and other Public Bodies

· Revenue and expenditure of each municipal body

Section 8: Public Works

· Expenditure in roads, public buildings and harbours

Section 12: Civil Establishment

· The position and wage of all permanent staff in government.

Section 15: Population and Vital Statistics

· Based on the latest census figures, the government estimated persons employed by sub-district in agriculture, manufacture or commerce. Also provides number of people who came and left the island, an estimate of the total population and infantile mortality in districts and towns.

Section 19: Currency, Banking, Weights and Measures

· List of gold, silver and bronze coin in circulation as well as paper money in circulation. There is a list of every bank operational in Cyprus, its number of branches, and the amount of deposits it has in the Colony, as well as a table in order to standardise local weights and measures to the British imperial measurements.

Section 20: Imports and Exports

· Statement of value and quantity imported and exported, as well as the duty or tariff collected (per item). This is specific to product and by country – an all together exhaustive account of yearly imports and exports.

Section 21: Shipping

· Number, tonnage, and crews of vessels entered and cleared (separated into steam ships and sailing vessels). This is broken down by country of destination and by country of ownership. The section includes ships involved in the coasting trade in a separate table.

Section 22: Production and Natural Resources

· This is by far the most important section in terms of creating HNAs. This section provides the acres and quantity produces for the 9 most important crops. After 1931 this expands to include a total of 26 crops, effectively encompassing all cultivated crop production. The only significant exceptions are in the production of carobs, olives and olive oil, wine (although the quantity of grape quantity produced is provided from 1931) and citrus fruits.

· This section also provides the annual number of livestock, and the yield of animal produce (except meat) and their average farm value.

· It provides detailed forestry and fishery information.

· It provides mining information such as and the total value of ore as well as its metallic content.

· It provides a list of the most important industrial establishments; the number of persons employed the cost of raw material uses, the output produced and the net selling value (prices at the factory door).

This is by far the most important section of the blue book. The basis of my HNA creation effort will be based on this information.

Section 23: Labour Wages and cost of living

· It provides the average wage rates for several jobs including domestic service

· It provides for the average, maximum and minimum retail price of staple articles of consumption in the capital (Nicosia)

· It provides the average monthly export rates (f.o.b) of staple products of the country

Section 30: Savings Banks and Friendly Societies

· Provides a list of Savings banks and Co-operative societies with the authorised capital and the value of their deposits

Section 32: Railways, Tramways, Steamship services, Roads, Motor Transport

· It provides through cost and revenue of publicly run Railroads and tramways, as well as the numbers of cars registered and road mileage available to road traffic.

Section 33: Post, Telegraph and Telephone statistics

· Provides detailed revenue of cost and volume of letters, telegrams, and calls.

Most importantly, the blue books already provide enough information for volume estimates to be created for agriculture, forestry, fishing, mining and manufacturing. In the case of manufacturing value added estimates are provided from 1931 onwards.

The blue books are by far the most extensive yearly data source on Cyprus and Malta. The accuracy of the recorded figures is hard to fathom, as no research has taken place to evaluate how far there were possible errors in recording such information. However qualitative evidence seems to confirm that the British authorities were quite efficient in collecting taxes and stamping out tax evasion. Since the majority of the tax revenue in Cyprus and Malta was collected by duties on imports and exports, on mining licences and taxes on agricultural production, I believe that such data as presented in the Blue Books are reasonably accurate.

The greatest weakness of the blue books is the lack of information on prices and wages. Despite some information on the highest, lowest and average prices of staple goods in the islands’ capitals, as well as some information on wages, there is not enough price data to be able to create good deflators. A cost of living index was not introduced in Cyprus until 1948. In Malta the Royal Navy did create a cost of living index dating back to the First World War, but I have yet to find it.

In the Cypriot government archive, I found handwritten and thus unpublished Blue books for 1941, 1944 and 1946. They provide information on production, wages, and government revenue during the war, thus allowing for an understanding of the economy and possible HNA creation at a time of complete lack of data publication.

Annual Colonial Reports

The annual colonial report is a valuable yearly overview of the situation in a colony for the given year. Its highest value is its provision of a qualitative feel of how the economic situation of the island was perceived by the colonial bureaucrats. A yearly estimate of population, as well as birth and death rates is provided. The derivation of yearly estimate on population is unclear; comparing it to the population returns in census years, the government estimate has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5%. There is no actual data on migration, but some data on permissions issued to enter and exit the island are provided. However an attempt to estimate the population of Cyprus backwards by using current forecasting projection tools based on such data has been abandoned. This is because even if migration was controlled for, the registration of births and deaths was incomplete and inaccurate, as gross underreporting of Births and Deaths was endemic (even in the 1980s Agathangelou (1885) calculated that deaths were underreported by 20%). Thus the underlying variables needed to project the population backward would have led to spurious results.

Some sporadic data on tourism are also given, but again without explanation on how the data was derived. Some sporadic data on costs to British officials staying in Cyprus or Malta are also sometimes included.

Annual reports of Government Departments

Every government department published an annual report covering a wide range of issues as an annual review; the yearly statistical blue book and the annual colonial reports are effectively based on these reports. Some, such as the customs and excise annual report, do not provide any additional information not accounted in the blue books. Others, such as the Mining commissioners yearly report, the Agricultural department report and the public works department report provide valuable information excluded from the blue books. Unfortunately although published, such reports were not necessarily saved by libraries; however for most years the original manuscript is in the respective national archive.

Information provided includes the cost of construction of roads per mile, the monthly wage rate of workers per district, a bi-annual livestock survey, and some sporadic estimates of value added in agriculture and mining. As with the basic categories of expenditure, cost and wages per department are given. However as one goes further back in time less information is given both in terms of detail as well as in of breakdown. Also some information is not collected until a relevant government department is set up, as was the case for the mining department in Cyprus.

One-off Government Publications

Other important data sources for Cyprus and Malta include publications that were published due specific economic problems. In Malta the dire economic situation in the beginning of the 20th century resulted in an extensive Royal Commission that published its findings in 1911 (Malta Royal Commission, 1911). In Cyprus, popular calls for more active agricultural policy to reduce the dependency on money lenders resulted to an agricultural survey in 1930 (Surridge, 1930) and a report on the economic condition of the island in 1934 (Oakden, 1934). All contain useful information for the years of the survey and are also a good first account of the problems facing the islands.

Archive work and other possible sources

The Archives in Cyprus and Malta are helpful; however they are hampered by outdated rules, especially in terms of public research hours and photography, that severely curtails the research one can do in the time one has available. Extensive research in the Cyprus archive on the construction of government houses and on architectural surveys of villages has allowed me to build a good understanding on the cost and the value of construction of housing. This was combined with census data on dwellings and in a joint project with Mr. Zeitounsian (Head of National Accounts Section, Ystat, Cyprus) enabled us to estimate the dwelling stock of Cyprus form 1921 – 1960. It is hoped that further archival research, combined with dwelling stock calculations will enable a plausible estimation of the construction sector, as well as a good estimate for rental housing income. We are in the process of standardising the methodology; upon completion a similar process will be attempted using Maltese archival material.

Other possible sources of data for HNA estimation includes tax data. I have not yet looked into this in detail; but the lack of income tax in both Cyprus and Malta provides both disadvantages and possibilities. The disadvantage is that an estimate of GDP using the income method by using income tax returns is impossible; however the taxing of production, especially Agriculture (especially in Cyprus were agricultural production was subject to a tithe until 1926), might allow for checking of agricultural estimates for plausibility.

Taxation data published in the blue books and in the annual report of the Land Registration and Survey department might allow calculations is estimating the capital stock, especially since property tax was based on early modern period laws, which counted all property, including orchards, as taxable property.


The British colonial era in Cyprus and Malta provides ample data sources for an attempt to create HNAs as well as other historical indicators. This attempt will be the first generation of historical national accounts; the wealth of evidence available will enable refinement of the HNA that could complement attempts to create national accounts for the whole of Europe.

Since the first attempt in establishing HNAs for Cyprus and Malta is still in its infancy, adopting a methodology followed by the Nordic project is invaluable as it will aid cross country comparisons, which have always been tricky previously due to the plethora of different methodologies used in estimating Historical National Accounts.


Agathangelou, A., Mortality In Cyprus Nicosia: Ministry of Finance

Christodoulou, D., 1992, Inside the Cyprus Miracle: The labours of an Embattled Mini-Economy Minneapolis, University of Minnesota

Dean, P., 1948, Colonial National Incomes: An experiment Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Georghalides, G., 1979, A political and Administrative History of Cyprus Nicosia: Cyprus research centre

Georghalides 1985, Cyprus and the governorship of Sir Ronald Storrs Nicosia: Cyprus research centre

Government of Cyprus (Prepared by Hart-Davis, C. H.), 1921, Report and General Abstracts of the Census of Cyprus of 1921. Nicosia: GOP.

Government of Cyprus, 1931, Report and General Abstracts of the Census of Cyprus of 1931. Nicosia: GOP.

Government of Cyprus, 1933, Report appointed to study the conventions and recommendations adopted by the International Labour conference Nicosia: GOP.

Great Britain, Royal Commission, Malta : report of the Royal Commission on the finances, economic position, and judicial procedure of Malta London: HMSO

Kostellenos, G. C., 1995 Money and Output in Modern Greece: 1858 – 1938 Athens, Centre of Planning and Economic Research

Maddison, A., 1995, Monitoring the World Economy Paris: OECD

Oakden, Sir Ralph, 1934, Report of the finances and economic resources of Cyprus Nicosia: GOP

Prados de la Escosura, L., 1993, Spain’s Gross Domestic Product 1850 – 1990: A new series 2003 Ministerio de Economia y Hacienda, Documentos de Trabajo D-93002

Republic of Cyprus, History and Analysis of the methodology of National Accounts in Cyprus, Nicosia: Ministry of Finance

Republic of Cyprus, 2000, Description of the sources and Methods used to compile non-financial national accounts Nicosia: Statistical Service of Cyprus

Royal commission Malta

Surridge, B. J. A Survey of Rural Life in Cyprus. Nicosia: GOP

Veropoulou, 1997, The Demography of Cyprus Ph D. London School of Economics

Web sources:

Cyprus Statistical Service, Ministry of Economics, Republic of Cyprus:

Maddison Angus, World Population, GDP and Per Capita GDP, 1- 2003 AD:

National Statistical Office, Republic of Malta:

[1] The experiment involved estimating national accounts for Nyasaland, Jamaica and Northern Rhodesia; however due to standardisation of basic published statistical material as demanded by the colonial office, the published material used in this exercise also exists for Cyprus and Malta.

[2] Malta has an additional category between urban and rural – “Sub-urban”

A collaborative work on Cyrpiot Agriculture - Presented at athens in 2006. Enjoy!

This is a paper written with my father that was presented at the Athens Institute of Education and Research In December 2006. Anyone interested can email me and i will send them a copy of the paper. Please site as Alexander Apostolides and Costas Apostolides "Introducing Cyprus in the Economic Debate: The resilience of Cypriot Agriculture in the 20th Century, 1921 - 2000" 4th International Confere on History, Athens 28 - 31 December 2006.

Introducing Cyprus in the Economic Debate: the Resilience of Cypriot Agriculture in the 20th century, 1921 – 2000.

Alexander Apostolides

PhD Student

Department of Economic History

London School of Economics

Costas Apostolides

Development Economist, Chairman

EMS Economic Management Consulting (Cyprus) ltd


This paper is a preliminary introduction of Cyprus in the realm of economic history, concentrating on the role of the agricultural sector in the economy. It is part of an ongoing effort to estimate the gross domestic product of Cyprus for the period 1921 -1939. Unlike Greece, which largely relied on exports of raisins and tobacco, there was greater diversification of products in Cyprus. This resulted in cyclical changes of the sectors’ most dynamic products: cereals, carobs, citrus fruits, vegetables and potatoes exhibit different periods of rapid growth and relative decline. The agricultural sector was in crisis until the Second World War; the war was a positive stimulus for Cyprus, with agriculture diversifying into products of high regional demand such as citrus fruits, vegetables and tobacco. Despite gloomy assessments of underdevelopment, agriculture in the period 1950 – 1973 contributed to the island’s growth, maintaining or increasing its share of a rapidly growing GDP throughout the period. The invasion of 1974 afflicted agriculture more than any other sector of the economy; it resulted to fundamental changes in the sectors’ structure as well as a rapid decline in its relative importance in the economy.

Introducing Cyprus in the Economic Debate: the Resilience of Cypriot Agriculture in the 20th century 1921 -2000

Anyone who writes about farming is likely to be writing critically of the way the farming is carried out… government reports are aimed at seeking weaknesses and correcting them: the speeches and writings of political leaders… are aimed at stressing the effect of bad weather or wrong policy; and even the farmer themselves are usually writing with the idea of securing easier credit or better prices and therefore paint the gloomiest possible picture. With such a background one is apt to overlook the big achievements of the Cyprus Farmer, who in the face of great climatic and political handicaps has for many centuries supported a considerable population and has established a remarkable range of products.

D. A. Percival, Superintendent of the Census 1946 p.59


This paper is an attempt to provide longer term perspective of Cypriot agricultural development than previously attempted. It is part of an ongoing effort to estimate the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the period 1921 – 1939. The paper has omitted the livestock sector due to data constraints; research for this sector is ongoing and it will be introduced at a latter date.

Over the period 1921 – 2000 agriculture in Cyprus remained an important sector of the economy. Even though its importance in terms of economic activity has declined, it was significant in terms of output and employment for most of the period, and has been more extensively researched. Most accounts of Cypriot agriculture focused on respective contemporary problems of the sector resulting in a general perception of underdevelopment and backwardness[1].

Perhaps the most pessimistic portrayal of Cypriot agricultural prospects was provided by Mayer, writing around the time of the declaration of independence in 1960[2]. Mayer dramatically stated that Cyprus will contain a million people, a fact best appreciated by those who have lived on an aircraft carrier. There is not enough land... the island has run out of cultivable soil”. According to Mayer part of the reason for the deterioration of agricultural land was the “destructive farming practices of the Cypriot farmer” who “has declined to embrace the simplest changes upon which soil improvement and diversified farming rest”[3].

Although Mayer’s comments are unusual in their severity, there was a consensus by contemporary writers that Cypriot agriculture was pivotal to future development. The sector was underperforming: the low productivity of agricultural workers, the lack of an adequate system of agricultural credit, the low rate of capital accumulation, and the fragmented system of land tenure were emphasized as the main problems. The fact that the island was a net importer of food and that its agricultural products were not internationally competitive further highlighted how the agricultural sector was inhibiting the development of Cyprus[4]. Such poor performance was not just attributed to manmade problems: climatic conditions aggravated the existing malaise. Rainfall statistics over the 80 year period show that the probability of normal, high or low rainfall is approximately equal and that the effects of low rainfall (drought) on agricultural productivity can be significant[5].

Percival ‘s comment in the 1946 agricultural census encapsulates that the practical focus of the literature resulted in concentrating on the problems of agriculture; this evaluation of the agricultural sector of Cyprus over an eighty year period allows a more optimistic assessment of its contribution to the economy as a whole.

The paper attempts to merge existing published data on agriculture, which is scattered and segmented, and standardize them throughout the eighty year period in order to evaluate the sectors’ performance. Colonial period and early independence data are standardized as far as possible to current weights and practices. However both data availability and reliability deteriorate as one moves further back in time. Periods of particularly poor data availability are in 1921 – 1931 (when less data was published), and 1955 – 1960 (a period of an anti-colonial struggle and communal strife known as “the emergency”).

The paper is divided in four distinct time periods, bounded by important events in the history of Cypriot agriculture:

· The interwar period (1921 – 1938)

· The Second World War and Independence (1944 – 1960)

· The period of rapid economic growth and invasion (1960 – 1974)

· The period of recovery, and relative decline (1975 – 2000)

Whenever possible, comparisons will be made of results with neighboring Greece in order to contextualize the findings for Cyprus.


Figure 1 compares the share of Agriculture in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in both Cyprus and Greece for the period 1921 -2000. It stipulates that by 1950 (for which the first national account figures for Cyprus are available) Cypriot agriculture was less important in terms of value added share than for Greece, and remained so for the majority of the period[6]. Thus already by 1950 the importance of the Cypriot agricultural sector had lost its prominence in terms of output. This was something that was understood by Thorp, who noted that “Looking at the pattern of the Cypriot economy and comparing it with other non-industrial countries, agriculture makes less than the usual contribution”[7]. Mayer’s concern that the Cypriot population growth would outstrip the ability of the agricultural sector to maintain its supply of foodstuff did not materialize; increased outward migration led to lower than expected population growth, while the growth of agricultural production was rapid. Of particular interest is the period 1960 – 1972: the Cypriot GDP (in 1967 constant prices) grew at an annual rate of 7.12%, while the agricultural sector grew by 7.89%, thereby increasing the share of its contribution to gross domestic production. Figure 3 indicates these changes occurred as Cypriot GNP per capita was substantially increased; GNP per capita in Cyprus from 1960 – 2001 increased by a factor of 6.5. Figure 3 also indicates the negative effects of intercommunal violence (1963) and the Turkish invasion (1974); both caused absolute falls of the GNP per capita level.

Estimates of the output share of agriculture for the period 1921 – 1949 do not exist, but an indication of the importance of agriculture for the period is possible by comparing the proportion of actively employed population in agriculture as provided by Figure 2[8]. By 1946 the proportion of male and total active population in agriculture in Cyprus was lower than for Greece in 1951. Before the Second World War, male participation ratios for Cyprus are similar to Greece’s, possibly indicating structural change during the war. Christodoulou estimated that 60% of the population were dependent on agriculture for their income in 1961; however the estimate is too high since it includes manufacturing and service industries dependent on agricultural inputs, as well as part-time farmers[9]. There is a possibility that men previously working in agriculture in the period 1950 – 1965 moved to the rapidly growing copper mining sector, leaving women to toil the fields – but the lack of a breakdown of the economically active population by sex prevents corroboration. It is telling that at the same time agriculture ceased to constitute the largest share of exports: in 1958, 58% of Cyprus exports were mineral exports, while agriculture accounted for just 33% of total exports[10].

Despite the above Cyprus has been considered as a primarily agricultural country throughout the first half of the 20th century, though shares of employment and output indicate a movement away from agriculture earlier in the 1930s and 1940s. The sectors’ relative importance in terms of GDP prior to 1950 remains unknown.

Section 1. The Interwar Years: 1921 – 1939

The period was difficult for Mediterranean countries; most of the countries in the Eastern Mediterranean failed to close the income gap that existed with Western Europe. Economic conditions were not conducive for accelerated growth for Southern European countries; most states were suffering a backlog of problems that made rapid development difficult, further exacerbated by the negative effects of the First World War, the slow growth of international trade and a movement of terms of trade against agricultural producers[11].

Cyprus, a de facto British colony since 1878, was officially annexed by Britain in 1914, and declared a crown colony in 1925[12]. Cypriot agriculture was dominated by small peasant holders, who held scattered small landholdings. An increased demand for agricultural products during First World War (especially for grain and fodder crops) led to an expansion of the cultivated area of such corps in Cyprus. The reduction of demand due to demobilization, combined with the significant fall in prices for such products during the 1921 recession, resulted in severe distress for agricultural producers in Cyprus; there was a significant increase of forced sales of farmland due to debt default[13]. The issue of defaulted agricultural debt that was exacerbated in 1921 plagued Cypriot agriculture throughout the interwar period; Sir Oakden estimated in 1934 that the rural population was in debt of over two million sterling or approximately £7 sterling per person living in the rural area[14]. The issue of agricultural debt was not comprehensibly resolved until the beginning of the Second World War[15].

The steep drop in prices after the First World War was particularly serious for farmers in the plains and coastal drylands, who where primarily cultivators of grain (mainly wheat and barley). For farmers that were reliant on grain for the majority of their income the interwar period was one of compounded distress; the end of the 1921 recession found such farmers heavily in debt, facing stiff competition from imported flour[16].

The most important products in the interwar period were wheat, barley and carobs, while the cultivation of tobacco, cotton and flax were encouraged by the colonial authorities. A volume index for the eighty year period is currently compiled; however a compilation of an index of production (without corresponding price data, which is currently unavailable) allows us a partial analysis of trends of agricultural production. The volume index indicates that in the majority of the 13 products with a complete series for the period 1921 -1938, four had an overall decrease (wheat, barley, cheese, wool). Figure 5 exhibits the volume indexes of 6 major products.

This decrease of output of wheat and barley are particularly important since the total market value (in current prices) of the combined wheat and barley production dropped by over 39% between 1920 – 1924 and 1930 – 1934, and did not fully recover to its pre-1924 level by 1939. Despite a slight drop in acreage of both grains, wheat and barley remained the most significant crops in terms of output and acreage: in 1938 they still constituted 53% of total cultivated area[17].

The years 1931 – 1932 must have been particularly difficult for Cypriot grain farmers; the steep drop in grain prices during the world depression coincided with a serious drought in Cyprus. Farmers did substitute wheat and barley for other crops: the total cultivable area in the period 1929 to 1932 increased by 20.8%, while the cultivated area for wheat and barley fell by 13.7%. However for the large Mesaoria plain no adequate substitutes for wheat and barley existed due to the lack of sufficient aquifers; thus for Mesaoria farmers the combination of lower prices and lower yields must have had severe effects on their income[18]. Results for wheat indicate that the value of output declined (in 1938 constant prices) by 47.8% in the period 1929 - 1932.

Contemporary reports confirm the dire situation. Both Surridge and Sir Oakden in 1930 and 1934 respectively highlighted that the main burden of the falling product prices fell on the wheat farmer[19]. However in some areas of Cyprus, especially in the districts of Limassol and Paphos, the main agricultural activity was viniculture, not grain cultivation. In these Districts viniculture constituted 41% of total acreage in 1932. For the producers of the Districts Limassol and Paphos grain production was less important; work is currently undertaken to estimate wine, spirit, raisins and table grape production in order to estimate the gross output of vine products.

Of particular importance for Cyprus was the swansong of the export of carobs that took place in this period. Carobs were the major staple export of Cyprus since 1896 and it was the largest single exported agricultural item by value; the crop was exported almost to its entirety. In the interwar period, carobs were still important in terms of output, despite output being reduced by 25.1% in the period by the end of the 1920s. Although it remained an important export crop, the export of carobs never recovered its previous relative economic importance in the Cypriot Economy as a whole.

The expansion of tobacco is important in the period. A rapid increase of both the area cultivated and output produced occurred particularly towards the end of the 1920s. However output was very volatile and subject to violent swings. In 1921 volume of output was at 38.3% of the 1938 level; by 1934 volume of output was 44 times larger than 1938; limited access to the main tobacco export markets due to increased protectionism in major markets led to its decline in 1938. However, Cyprus during the interwar period never reached the level of dependence on tobacco production that afflicted Greece. Despite the rapid expansion of acreage during this period, tobacco cultivation in Cyprus did not surpassed 1% of total recorded acreage.

Likewise crops that were actively promoted as export staples by the Colonial authorities did not dominate agricultural production. Cotton production only constituted a maximum 4.5% of the area cultivated throughout the period and exhibited a cyclical output related to rainfall conditions. Flax and Hemp remained very small and localized industries; output remained low and exports were insignificant.

Figure 4 is a comparison of wheat and barley yields of Cyprus and Greece for the period. Cyprus has a higher yield than the average of Greece, except for periods of drought in Cyprus, and towards the end of the period in 1937 – 1938, when the Greek yields of wheat (and barley to a lesser degree) are much higher, possibly due to preferential policies established by Greece in order to be less dependent on imported grain[20]. Thus it is unclear whether the Cypriot grain farmer had a worse time than his Greek peer during the interwar period.

Section 2. The Second World War and Run up to Independence 1940 - 1959

In this period the Cypriot economy received a tremendous boost due to the Second World War. A shortage of food and raw materials in the Middle East caused by the disruption, combined with increased demand stimulated by the North African front, provided a stimulus for Cyprus. The Second World War dramatically increased the strategic importance of the island, and led to significant investment and expenditure by the Colonial authorities.

During the war years 1939-1945 the Cyprus economy was integrated into the wartime economic strategy of the Middle East Supply Centre, the primary aims of which were to minimize the use of shipping for civilian goods, to minimize hardship on populations caused by the reduction in overseas imports, and to utilize regional sources of goods for the war effort[21]. The effect was a general rise in prices: average prices during the 1940 - 1945 were higher for wheat (80%), barley (176%), tobacco (294%), potatoes (66%), carobs (61%), olives (297%), and grapes (298%). However production suffered due to the combination of low rainfall and the lack of previously imported agricultural inputs (especially chemical fertilizers). Output of barley and wheat in 1944, which was greatly dependent on chemical fertilizers, fell by 56% and 45% compared to 1938, despite a slight increase of the total area cultivated Out of 30 products, only citrus fruit, tobacco, potatoes, flax fibre, haricot beans, tomatoes, taro (kolokassi) and sponges show higher levels of output than in 1938. The increase in most of these products was due to the co-ordination of regional demand by the Middle East Supply Centre, allowing Cyprus access to the burgeoning wartime demand for such products and stimulating industries based on domestic agricultural inputs (especially food processing and alcohol production).

Thus the increase in agricultural production was more a phenomenon of the latter stages of the war, when shortages of imported agricultural inputs eased. In this period wheat production increased much faster than barley, perhaps due to the existence of a 32% price gap established by government subsidization polices. Onions exhibited a 10% increase in 1946, despite production of onions dropping by 49% of their 1938 output in 1944. Potatoes, unlike barley and wheat, show an increase of output both in 1944 and 1946, increasing output by 28% and 54.6% respectively of the 1938 level. The general increase in output also affected less important products; by far the largest increase in output was of aniseed that grew by 3178% during the period 1937 to 1946, possibly due to the increased demand for spirits.

The post war development of agriculture was rapid; the GDP share of agriculture grew slightly less than the rest of the economy at 4.6% per annum. The economy as a whole exhibited a faster rate of growth than agriculture for the first half of the 1950s; but economic conditions deteriorated during the Emergency of 1955 to 1959.

During this period the co-operative movement reached its maturity: Co-operatives for credit, retail trade, and marketing managed to break the dependence of agricultural producers on money lenders. Agricultural loans more than tripled and deposits grew five-fold[22]. Marketing co-operatives were established for cherries, lemons, apricots and cereals and a large co-operative winery was established. By 1960 co-operative societies were marketing 50% of the total agricultural market production. The growth of the co-operative movement is seen as correcting the institutional infrastructure to allow faster growth in agriculture in this period[23]. An additional factor in this progress was a ten year development plan implemented between 1946 and 1956. It included provision for electricity, roads, communications, health and water supply which led to significant increases in agricultural productivity, especially due to irrigation works that allowed an expansion of citrus output and deciduous fruits.

Products in high demand during the war expanded their output after its end; oranges and vegetables (especially tomatoes), as well as potatoes and tobacco increased their volume (and value) shares in total agricultural production. Potatoes became a significant export as well as the second largest item in terms of output after viniculture. Deciduous fruits, citrus and melons showed explosive growth, partly due to the development of new water resources.

Much of the expansion of the agricultural sector was in irrigated crops, and the perennially irrigated area accounted for 8.7% of the cultivated land in 1960, as against 6.5% in 1955.Citrus output in 1958 was ten times greater than in 1933, while productivity per acre was comparable to Israel[24]. Food processing industries produced 58% of industrial gross output, but these industries accounted for only about 4% of GDP.[25] Crop production and animal husbandry had a 60% - 70% value added as a proportion of gross output, as compared to only 20% for the economy as a whole. Thus agriculture in this period was not stagnating; it was largely keeping pace with the growth of the economy as a whole.

Section 3: Economic Catch-up, and Invasion 1960 -1974

Cyprus became independent in 1960, and arrangements were made for a technical team of United Nations experts to visit the island, undertake a survey of the situation and make recommendations for action. The mission concluded that “The Cyprus Economy…seemed to be running along a downhill and rather bumpy road”[26]. The UN experts considered agriculture the main driver for efforts to develop Cyprus, and most of their recommendations were included in the First Five Year Plan (1962-1966) produced approved by the government; it was followed up by the Second Five Year Plan (1967- 1971). In both these plans the Planning Bureau emphasized the important role of the private sector, which in conjunction with development expenditure by the public sector aiming at infrastructure, legal and administrative improvements encouraged economic development[27]. The plans envisaged a relatively open economy with a high dependence on imports, but with restricted international competition for the agricultural sector through plant and animal health inspection regulations, quotas and tariffs, and subsidies, especially for cereals and vines. Thus Cypriot agriculture was partially sheltered from competing with imported products within the domestic market, a process that was maintained until such protectionism became untenable due the 1994 GATT/WTO agreements and entry negotiations with the European Union (1998-2004).

Economic growth for the period up to 1973 was very rapid in real terms with low inflation. Rather surprisingly the agricultural sector matched this overall growth in GDP as shown in Figure 1. However agricultural productivity relative to other sectors was low; in 1960 agriculture contributed 17.6% of GDP (constant 1967 prices), while it still employed 44% of the labour force (Figure 2) partly due to part-time agricultural employment gradually becoming the norm. Crops under irrigation, which can increase the productivity per acre by a factor of eight, doubled. Fodder crops were expanded to meet the needs of the livestock sector; however by 1972 crop production was still the most important sub-sector producing 64% of the value added of agriculture. The period saw a rapid increase of exports; by 1972 the value of agricultural exports grew to a third of agricultural gross output. Almost all these exports were from crop production, the main items being potatoes, citrus, table grapes. In part these exports were encouraged by an ability to produce early potatoes and table grapes for the United Kingdom and consequently achieve high prices. As a consequence of this rapid growth by the agricultural sector within the fast growing economy, agriculture was able to maintain its share in economic activity, and encourage the growth of manufacturing both by creating demand and providing goods for processing.

The 1974 invasion and its aftermath created a very serious situation for the Cyrpiot economy as a whole and the agricultural sector in particular, which lost much of its resource base, as 37% of the islands’ area was occupied. Substantially developed agricultural areas such as the large irrigated areas of citrus groves in Morphou and Famagusta, and most of the red soil potato growing villages, fell within the occupied area. As a consequence of the subsequent occupation, the data published by the Republic of Cyprus refer only to the Government controlled area. The immediate effect was severe: total GDP fell by a third in real terms.[28] The economy as a whole recovered in terms of real GDP by 1977 but agricultural output did not recover until 1985. In terms of GDP share, agriculture has remained smaller than before 1974; its share of GDP fell from 18% in 1972 to 12.8% in 1977 and has been declining ever since (Figure 1). Some agricultural products never fully recovered, such as oranges, while others such as tomatoes, lemons, and grapefruits took about 10 years to do so. The occupation of parts of the Mesaoria plain resulted to a loss of traditional dryland grain production: This particularly affected wheat, which now constituted a very small part of the total agricultural product. The invasion caused displacement and unemployment; workers previously employed in agriculture in the occupied areas moved to other non-agricultural jobs as the economy recovered. As a result the proportion of gainfully employed persons in agriculture fell from 39% to 23%; most strikingly male employment declined to just 13% of the total gainfully employed population (Figure 2).

Section 4: Recovery, Growth and Relative Decline 1975 -2000

The period from 1977 into the 1980’s was one of continuous rapid economic growth. However agriculture output failed to expand as rapidly as the previous period despite the accelerating mechanization of the sector. From 1975 to 2000 the economy of Cyprus expanded rapidly by 6.4% at constant prices, but the agricultural sector grew at roughly half those rates. Agricultural exports that previously comprised a third of the sector’s output fell to 18% in 1981 and to 7% of in 2000.[29]

In the agricultural sector the emphasis was on resettling displaced farmers and expanding irrigation; by 1985 the level of agricultural production was on par to the level of production of 1972 (despite the loss in acreage). From 1975 onwards employment in agriculture fell at an average rate of 6% per year; by 2000 only 24,000 people were actively employed in agriculture with 75% of farmers having agriculture as a secondary occupation[30]. Relative productivity vis-à-vis the whole economy was still low; by 2000 the income differential widened to its 1975 level.

The application of Cyprus for accession to the European Union in 1998, presented a golden opportunity for the modernization and restructuring of the agricultural sector. The government negotiated terms allowing it to maintain subsidies at present levels, gradually adjusting them to the lower EU levels over a seven year period. What is clear from the EU accession process is that the role of agriculture will change, with greater emphasis on its environmental functions and agro-tourism, and that product subsidies will give way to subsidies aiming at improving efficiency and for the finance of more comprehensive rural development schemes.


Looking at the role of Cypriot agriculture in a longer timeframe allows us to have a more optimistic view of its contribution to the economy as a whole. Overall output has been growing; the Second World War and the invasion in 1974 transformed the role of agriculture within the Cyprus economy. Both changed the internal structure of the sector, as well as its contribution to the economy in terms of GDP share. The sector was positively contributing to the rapid economic growth, growing faster than the economy as a whole for the period 1960 to 1972 and facilitating the development of manufacturing industries. The invasion was a serious blow to agriculture since it reduced the available land and water resources. Thus agriculture after the invasion did not contribute to recovery in the way it was able to do so in the period 1960 – 1972.

The resilience of Cypriot agriculture lies mainly in the flexibility in capitalizing market and taste trends by altering its product mix. This resulted in cyclical changes of the most dynamic products: cereals, carobs, citrus fruits, vegetables and potatoes exhibit different periods of rapid growth and relative decline during the period. In the interwar period the effects of the falling prices of agricultural products, especially during the depression, were serious especially for dry land farmers mainly dependent on their income on grain; however the effects on wine growing areas of Limassol and Paphos were less marked. Over the period agriculture has played a significant role in economic development, but with the reduction of its resource base in 1974 it has declined in importance for the economy and now has to adjust to effects of the free market and the common agricultural policy of the European Union.


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Statistical Service of the Republic of Cyprus, 2006. Economy and Finance: National Accounts. Available from: [accessed 22/12/2006].

Surridge, B. J., 1930. A Survey of Rural Life in Cyprus. Nicosia: Government Printing Office

Thorp, W. L., 1961. Cyprus- Suggestions for a Development Programme. New York: United Nations

Vassiliou, S., 1959. Input – Output Analysis of the Economy of Cyprus. Cambridge - Ma

Willmington, 1971. Middle East Supply Centre. Albany: State University of New York Press

Yiassemides, P.& Harald K., 1967. Aspects of the Agricultural Economy of Cyprus 1950 – 1967. Nicosia : Cyprus Agricultural Research Institute

Yiassemides P. & Kunert, 1966. Norm-Input Output Data for Some Crop and Livestock Enterprises of Cyprus. Nicosia: Cyprus Agricultural Research Institute

Sources in Greek:

Αγκαστινιώτης Κ. Μ., 1965. Ο Συνεργατισμός- Γένεσις και Ανάπτυξη του εν Κύπρω. Λευκωσία

Κωστής, Κ., 1990. Αγροτική Οικονομία και Γεωργική Τράπεζα 1919 – 1929: Τα Τεκμήρια. Αθήνα: Μορφωτικό Ίδρυμα Εθνικής Τραπέζης της Ελλάδoς

Κρεμμυδάς, Β., 1999. Εισαγωγή στη Νεοελληνική Οικονομική Ιστορία.. Αθήνα: Τυποθήτω

Μετεωρολογική Υπηρεσία, 2006. Το Κλίμα της Κύπρου. Available from: [accessed 22/12/2006]

Source: Republic of Cyprus, 1980. Statistical Pocket Book; Greek General Secretariat of National Statistical Service, 2006. Gross Value Added by Industry; Mitchell, 2003. International Historical Statistics; Republic of Cyprus, 1993. Economic Report 1992; Kostelenos, 1995. Money and Output in Modern Greece; Republic of Cyprus, 2006. Economy and Finance: National Accounts.

Source: Mitchell, 2003. International Historical Statistics; Hart – Davis, 1921, 1931. Cyprus: Report of the Census; Percival,1947. Cyprus Census of Population and Agriculture; Republic of Cyprus, 1997, 1991, 1995, 2000. Statistical Abstract; Yiassemides, P.& Harald K., 1967. Aspects of the Agricultural Economy of Cyprus.

Source: Republic of Cyprus, 1983- 2004. Statistical Abstract.

Source: Cyprus, 1921 – 1946. Statistical Blue Books; Republic of Cyprus, 1997 - 2000. Statistical Abstract; Κωστής, 1990. Αγροτική Οικονομία και Γεωργική Τράπεζα 1919 – 1929: Τα Τεκμήρια

[1] Lanitis, Nicos C, 1944. Rural Indebtedness and Agricultural co-operation in Cyprus Limassol; Thorp, Willard, L, 1961. Cyprus: Suggestions for a development programme. New York, United Nations

[2] Mayer A.J, 1959. Middle Eastern Capitalism: nine essays. Cambridge, Ma: Harvard University Press; Meyer A.J., with Vasilliou, S., 1962. The Economy of Cyprus. Cambridge, Ma: Harvard University Press

[3] Mayer, 1959. Middle Eastern Capitalism. pp.48 – 50. The population of the area controlled by the Republic of Cyprus in 2005 was estimated at 766.4 thousand; estimates of the Turkish Cypriot population are unreliable. However it is generally considered that the combined population is under one million

[4] Meyer with Vasilliou, 1962. Economy of Cyprus. p.35 -36; Lanitis, 1944. Rural Indebtedness; Thorp, 1961. Cyprus, p.4 , p.22

[5] Μετεωρολογική Υπηρεσία, 2006. Το Κλίμα της Κύπρου. Available from: [accessed 22/12/2006] ; The effects of consecutive droughts are particularly serious as evidenced by the drop in yield per acre for all agricultural products for the period 1930 – 1932. Thorp estimated that the effect of one year of drought in 1960 led to the reduction of the yield of wheat and barley by 33% Thorp, 1961, Cyprus p.21

[6] Estimates for Greece in 1921, 1929 and 1938 are based on the historical national accounts estimates of Kostelenos, G. C., 1995. Money and Output in Modern Greece: 1858-1938. Athens: Kepe

[7] Thorp, 1961. Cyprus, p.3

[8] Male participation in the economically active population was used for earlier periods as the censuses of 1921 to 1946 seriously underestimate female employment in the sector

[9] Thorp, 1961. Cyprus, p.19

[10] Source: Republic of Cyprus, 1980. Statistical Pocket Book No.2 The Cyprus Economy in Figures (1950 - 1978). Nicosia: Statistics and Research Department

[11] Recent research for the Mandate of Palestine, Turkey and Greece indicate that overall growth was positive for the period; Kostis, Kostantine P., & Petmetzas, Socrates D., 2003. Growth and Stagnation in the Greek Economy 1830 – 1940. Available from:

[accessed 12/12/05]; Pamuk S. & Williamson J. (eds.), 2000. The Mediterranean Response to Globalisation. New York; Routledge; Pamuk, S., 2006. Estimating Economic Growth in the Middle East since 1820. Journal of Economic History 66(3), pp.809 – 827; for a review of the interwar economic conditions see Feinstein, C. H. , Temin, P. , Toniolo, G, 1997. The European Economy Between the Wars. Oxford: Oxford University Press; Aldcroft, D. H., 1997. Studies in the Interwar European Economy. Aldershot: Ashgate

[12] FO 371/123881, Public Records Office, Cyprus a Publication of the Central Office Information, 8 April 1954

[13] Georghallides, G. S., 1979. A Political and Administrative History of Cyprus. Nicosia: Cyprus Research Centre

[14] Surridge calculated in 1930 that the debt to rural farmers was on average of £35 per person; this is significantly higher than Sir Oakden’s estimate four years latter. Surridge, B. J., 1930. A Survey of Rural Life in Cyprus. Nicosia: Government Printing Office p.40; Oakden, Sir R., 1935. Report on the Finances and Economic Resources of Cyprus. London, Crown Agents for the Colonies

[15] Lanitis, 1944. Rural Indebtedness, p.29

[16] Percival, D. A., 1947. Cyprus Census of Population and Agriculture: Reports and Tables. Nicosia: Government Printing Office p.93

[17] Source: Cyprus, 1938, Statistical Blue Book, Nicosia, GPO

[18] The Morphou and Famagusta aquifers on the Mesaoria plain were essentially discovered and developed after the Second World War

[19] Surridge, B. J., 1930. A Survey of Rural Life; Oakden, Sir R., 1935. Report on the Finances

[20]Freris, A. F., 1986. The Greek Economy in the Twentieth Century. London: Groom Helm; Mazower, 1991. Greece and the Interwar Economic Crisis. Oxford: Clarendon Press; Κρεμμυδάς, Β., 1999. Εισαγωγή στη Νεοελληνική Οικονομική Ιστορία.. Αθήνα: Τυποθήτω

[21] Willmington, 1971. Middle East Supply Centre. Albany: State University of New York Press

[22] Phylatkis, Kate, 1995, The Banking System of Cyprus, London, Macmillan

[23] Meyer with Vasilliou, 1962. Economy of Cyprus, p.32

[24] Thorp, 1961. Cyprus, p.19

[25] Vassiliou, S., 1959. Input – Output Analysis of the Economy of Cyprus.

[26] Thorp, 1961. Cyprus , p.5

[27] Republic of Cyprus, 1967. Second Five year plan. Nicosia, Planning Bureau

[28] Source: Republic of Cyprus, 1997 - 2000. Statistical Abstract Nicosia: Statistical Service; It must be noted that GDP is a poor indicator for such shocks as it is a measure of output (thus flow), and not measure of stock of wealth. Undoubtedly the invasion reduced the economic wealth that is not captured in the GDP estimate. Lequiller, François and Blades, Dereck, 2006, Understanding National Accounts. France , OECD p.38

[29] Source: Republic of Cyprus, Agricultural Statistics, 2000, Nicosia

[30] Antoniades & Papayiannis, 2001 Part-time Farming in Cyprus. Nicosia: Agricultural Research Institute