The AGRICYGEN project receives funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under Grant Agreement No. 763700
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ARI | The Agricultural Research Institute

ARI | The Agricultural Research Institute

The mission of the Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment (MARDE) is to promote through an integrated coordination, the protection and sustainable management of the environment, natural resources, and the sustainable management of agricultural, livestock and fisheries production. The Agricultural Research Institute (ARI) is a Department under the MARDE, historically established in 1962 as the first Research Institute in Cyprus, with the aid and guidance of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO). ARI is the only institute in Cyprus that conducts innovative agricultural research aiming to create and transfer knowledge for the development of the primary sector and to solve problems at the farmer level.


The research results are transferred to stakeholders through novel educational programmes and dissemination tools. The significance of ARI’s contribution to the development of Cyprus’ research landscape and the advancements in agriculture was recognised in 2000, when ARI received a large EC FP5 grant and was designated a new European Centre of Excellence in Agriculture and the Environment. ARI is a highly dynamic organization, maintaining fruitful collaboration with national, regional and international organizations and research networks, as well as numerous academic institutions in Cyprus and abroad, having successfully implemented several research and innovation projects funded on a competitive basis by the National, the European Framework, and other Regional and International Funding Programmes. ARI scientists have been leading the research fields of animal and plant breeding in Cyprus and in the east Mediterranean region.


The use of classical methodology for genetic improvement of Chios sheep and Damascus goats for close to 40 years at ARI has resulted in successful genetic improvement and a vast collection of valuable phenotypic records. The ARI sheep and goat farm is a model farm for breeders and other stakeholders, and is frequently used for seminars and trainings. With respect to barley breeding and genetic improvement, they represent one of the core foundation programmes at ARI, having been initiated in previous decades with expert consultation from FAO. Since then, the national breeding programme succeeded in creating locally adapted germplasm and varieties that perform well under the rain-fed, semi-arid conditions of Cyprus. This elite germplasm has clear potential for additional genetic gains to target both local and broader adaptation. In the area of Agricultural Microbiology, a national isolation programme of symbiotic nitrogen-fixing bacteria in legumes was initiated six years ago at ARI, and several local ecotypes of Bradyrhizobium and Rhizobium strains have been characterized.

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