It’s not just oil and gas
E DII TO RII A L
Cyprus scored its first victory in a while when a Greek court this week ruled in favour of protecting our traditional halloumi cheese, both as a trade name and as a product. This has been a longoverdue success that should not have come as a surprise, considering that the “halloumi dossier” has been going from one office to the other for nearly two decades, challenging dairy fakes around the world, in particular within the EU, where rules are supposed to be adhered to.
Perhaps the government will now wake up to the reality that not everything spins around the magical world of the services industry and the financial sector, and soon energy, and that equal attention should be afforded to the real economy, with the recently-adopted word of ‘sustainable’ now being used more often.
Tourism is a vital part of our economy, but as long as the island’s main strategy-determining body, the Cyprus Tourism Organisation, acts like any other part of our corrupt public service, then there is very little hope of the island ever emulating the consistent rise in arrivals recorded in Greece in the past few years.
Shipping has been the most neglected sector of our economy and despite the fact that this is a steady employer generating sustainable revenues, both in taxes and in output, we still don’t have a Deputy Minister for Maritime Affairs, one of six posts that the allegedly ‘pro-business’ administration had promised us more than a year ago.
And this bring us to the agriculture sector, the most ostracised group of our economy and society, where the forces-that-be forget that more than half of our population is descended from a village or rural community, very often having grown up in poverty or at least simplicity, with true values and little need for material rewards. Perhaps this is what separates a villager from a peasant, and we have a lot of the latter nowadays.
With the wine industry flourishing, fruit and veg exporters driving truckloads to the airports’ cargo hangars every day of the week and our dairy and farm producers enjoying a new-found boom in exports, this is a sector that we should be promoting overseas, in addition to our sunny and sandy beaches and the advantages of setting up a business on the island.
After all, if our repeat tourists keep on coming back because of the culture and history, the food and the wine, we should uphold this sector as the true jewel of our economy and seek to promote our products as much at home as overseas.
Let’s be proud of our ‘ Made in Cyprus’ brand and let’s show it.