€ 35 mln in aid for an­i­mal farms af­ter hal­loumi PDO

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

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.”

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