Cyprus government commits to safeguard Halloumi as PDO and top export

Cyprus government commits to safeguard Halloumi as PDO and top export

The Cyprus government is committed to safeguarding Halloumi’s status as a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) and maintaining its position as Cyprus’ leading export product, Government Spokesman Konstantinos Letymbiotis has said.

His statement followed a marathon meeting at the Presidential Palace on 4 June, chaired by President Nikos Christodoulides, and attended by Agriculture Minister Maria Panayiotou.

President Christodoulides met with representatives from the Cheese Makers Association, the Cattle Farmers Association, and the Goat and Sheep Farmers Association. During the three-and-a-half-hour meeting, stakeholders shared their perspectives. Following the meeting, Letymbiotis told reporters that the common issue emerged was the lack of trust, likely because of the issue’s history.

Letymbiotis noted that dialogue would continue with another round of meetings led by the Agriculture Minister.

“What has been made clear by the President of the Republic, and what remain the government’s objectives, are the preservation of Halloumi as a PDO and its maintenance as Cyprus’ main export product,” stressed the Government Spokesman.

He added that they would continue their efforts during this transitional period until 2029 and aim to maintain normality.

President of the Goat and Sheep Farmers Producers, Sotiris Kadis, expressed disappointment that no agreement was reached during the meeting. “We expect the state to enforce the law in accordance with the European Court of Justice decisions and legal opinions,” he said.

President of the Cyprus Cheese Makers Association, Marios Konstantinou, welcomed the Spokesman’s statements.

“We are pleased to see the President confirming a convergence of views with cheese makers, agreeing on the importance of preserving Halloumi’s export volume, which is Cyprus’ second-largest export after pharmaceuticals,” Konstantinou said. “We also agree with the President that we must secure Halloumi’s market under PDO specifications,” he added.

When asked about potential changes to quotas, Konstantinou noted that since PDO approval in 2021, there have been 12 specification changes, allowing continued trade of Halloumi. He explained that a few minor adjustments were still necessary to solidify the PDO status and allow for increased exports in the coming years.

Nikos Papakyriakou, representing the Coordinating Committee of Cattle Farmers described the discussions as highly constructive, highlighting the weaknesses and current commercial challenges faced by Halloumi. He said that the goal was to preserve and support the PDO in a way that also supports exports, and by extension, producers and the distribution of both goat and cow milk.

On April 12, 2021 the European Commission registered ‘Halloumi / Hellim’ as a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO), protecting, as of October 1, 2021, the valuable name against imitation and misuse across the EU.

(Source: CNA)

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