Agricultural methods are adapted to the island's hot and dry summers and generally limited water supply. Spring and early summer growth is dependent on moisture stored in the soil from the winter rains, but summer cultivation is dependent on irrigation. About 15.3% of the total land area is arable.
Most farmers raise a variety of subsistence crops, ranging from grains and vegetables to fruits. Since 1960 there has been increased production of citrus fruits and potatoes. These two commodities, along with grapes, kiwi, and avocados are grown both for the domestic market and as exports to EU nations. Principal crops in 1999 (in tons) included barley, 119,000; potatoes, 170,000; grapes, 115,000; grapefruit, 33,000; oranges, 43,000; lemons, 19,000, and wheat, 14,000. Tomatoes, carrots, olives, and other fruits and vegetables are also grown. The areas that have been Turkish-held since 1974 include much of Cyprus' most fertile land; citrus fruits are a major export. Citrus production in 1999 reflected a decline since 1992 because of continued dry weather.
The Agricultural Research Institute, through experiments with solar-heated greenhouses, soil fertility, water usage optimization, and introduction of new varieties of grain, attempts to improve the efficiency of Cypriot agriculture. Agricultural products accounted for 41% of exports in 2001.