Cyprus hopes for ‘Hal­loumi’ PDO by 2015

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

The govern­ment has filed an ap­pli­ca­tion to the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion to se­cure a cer­tifi­cate of Pro­tected Des­ig­na­tion of Ori­gin (PDO) for the tra­di­tional goat’s cheese hal­loumi, pav­ing the way for the commercial pro­tec­tion of the brand.

Agri­cul­ture Min­siter Nikos Kouyialis said that the Com­mis­sion will need 14 months to re­view and grant its fi­nal ap­proval.

He said that ac­cord­ing to the ap­pli­ca­tion, hal­loumi will have to be made of at least 50% goat or sheep milk or a mix­ture of both, with or with­out cow’s milk.

In a bid to over­come the dif­fi­cul­ties fac­ing dairy pro­duc­ers and to al­low time for com­pli­ance with the new stan­dards, Kouyialis said he ap­proved a ten-year tran­si­tional pe­riod al­low­ing for the use of 20% of goat and sheep milk un­til its grad­ual in­crease to 50%. He also said he abol­ished the pre­vi­ous de­cree that es­tab­lished a ra­tio of goat and sheep milk of 23% for the pe­riod of July-Novem­ber and 25% for the De­cem­ber-June, due mainly to the short­age of milk.

The Min­is­ter said that un­til the Com­mis­sion’s fi­nal re­ply, the name ‘hal­loumi’ or the Ara­bic and Turk­ish ‘hel­lim’ will be pro­tected as no other coun­try can trade cheese un­der this or any sim­i­lar name while no other EU mem­ber-state can sub­mit a com­pet­i­tive ap­pli­ca­tion for the use of hal­loumi as a trade­mark. “I be­lieve that the agri­cul­ture and farm­ing sec­tors will reach new di­men­sions and I am cer­tain that all pro­duc­ers will ben­e­fit and no one stands to lose,” he added.

Kouyialis said his Min­istry has drafted mea­sures to fa­cil­i­tate farm­ers to adapt to the new terms, as these emerge from the es­tab­lish­ment of hal­loumi as PDO.

The Min­istry plans to launch a pro­gramme for the cre­ation of new and the mod­erni­sa­tion of older farm units, which will pro­vide fund­ing of 40% and up to 60%, re­spec­tively, which may


of reach up to EUR 800,000. Hal­loumi has been reg­is­tered as a Cypriot pro­tected prod­uct in the US since the 1990s and chal­lenged in a Dan­ish court, when a dairy wanted to pro­duce hal­loumi cheese based pri­mar­ily on cow’s milk.

On Mon­day, Kouyialis had a meet­ing with EU Com­mis­sioner for Agri­cul­ture and Ru­ral De­vel­op­ment Da­cian Ci­o­los, with whom he dis­cussed Cyprus’ ap­pli­ca­tion to grant the coun­try’s tra­di­tional hal­loumi cheese a PDO cer­tifi­cate.

The meet­ing was held in a “very pos­i­tive” cli­mate, the min­istry said in an an­nounce­ment, on the side­lines of the Agri­cul­ture and Fish­eries Coun­cil of the EU.

Kouyialis asked that the eval­u­a­tion of Cyprus’ ap­pli­ca­tion by the com­pe­tent ser­vices of the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion take place as soon as pos­si­ble, stress­ing the im­por­tance of val­i­da­tion of the prod­uct to help the is­land’s agri­cul­ture and live­stock sec­tors, and en­hance the coun­try’s econ­omy.

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