It’s not just oil and gas

E DII TO RII A L

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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