€ 35 mln in aid for animal farms after halloumi PDO
Agriculture and Environment Minister Nicos Kouyialis said that EUR 35 mln in aid will be provided to the animal husbandry sector of the next three years, to help improve dairy farming following the publication in the journal of the European Union, of Cyprus’ application to register the traditional ‘halloumi’ cheese as a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO).
Kouyialis said that the new measures focused on four pillars: improving productivity, increasing livestock, increasing the amount of milk channelled to industries and other additional measures.
He noted that the Rural Development Programmes, with a total budget of EUR 25 mln, would contribute significantly to help improve productivity and increase livestock, adding that with the contribution of the private sector the amount to be spent on sheep and goat farming would exceed EUR 40 mln.
“Considering that halloumi is our main export product, the registration of the product as a PDO enhances our rural economy, but also the country’s economy in general,” the Minister said.
He pointed out that the publication of Cyprus’ application by the European Commission was the result of the commitment and dedication of the government to safeguard the product as a PDO and noted that it was achieved “after coordinated action and hard work, overlooking private interests and third party interventions.”
According to the Minister, halloumi as a PDO was expected to become a product of high commercial value that could easily penetrate international markets.
It would also be protected from imitation and international competition to the benefit of Cypriot producers and the Cyprus economy.
He explained that from the beginning, the Ministry’s decision provided for the registration of the product by the Greek name “Halloumi” and its Turkish name “Hellim” and included as a geographical area for halloumi production the whole of Cyprus, so that both the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot producers could benefit from the registration.
He expressed confidence that the registration of halloumi opened new horizons in the fields of agriculture, livestock and cheese production, stressing that the registration would strengthen regional development through the creation of new small businesses and thus new jobs.
He said there was a six-month delay in the PDO decision because of the involvement of the Turkish lobby, adding that “we managed to overcome these obstacles with the involvement of Mr. Juncker and President Anastasiades.”