“As producers, we value the local market and we are giving priority to it. There is no way Cyprus will be left without halloumi, nor will prices be affected”
“Goat’s milk is an acquired taste, changing the ratio overnight in 2024, will not go down well with customers around the world, from different cultures with different taste buds,” Andreou said.
Producers are asking from the state to think of ways to either gradually change the ratio or to consider revoking the PDO file and instead filing a Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) file.
The difference between the two is that qualities and properties of PDO products are exclusively determined by the geographical environment, while the main factor for PGI products is a certain quality of feature that is attributable to its geographical origin.
Echoing the same concerns, Giorgos Petrou, CEO and founder of Alambra Dairy Products said that the PDO excludes all halloumi by-products which are at least 40% of halloumi exports.
“These exports would be lost description is applied,” Petrou said.
“Out of some 23,000 tonnes of halloumi exported in 2017, only 10,000 would have left the country’s ports.”
Petrou argued that: “Halloumi is a pillar of the rural economy and helps sustain life in our agricultural areas. More than 6,500 families depend on the halloumi industry, as the raw materials come from the agricultural sector.”
Acknowledging the limits of milk production, especially that of goat and sheep, the Ministry of Agriculture, said that it is doing everything in its power to ensure that farmers and dairy producers will be able to meet demand for halloumi.
“The ministry acknowledges that there are limitations as to how much goats milk can be produced by the island’s livestock.
“That is why we are looking into finding ways to increase the goat and sheep population by importing livestock and to increase their productivity,” said Sokratous.
Due to the financial crisis, the goat and sheep population had dropped from 470,000 in 2011 to 370,000 in 2014 and is now at 402,000.
Using various methods, Cyprus has succeeded in increasing animal productivity by 4%, the ministry is also part of a project which aims to increase goat and sheep milk through genetic improvements.
The EUR 30 mln AGRICYGEN project - a consortium of seven organisations from four different countries (Cyprus, UK, France, Germany) supports the advancement and sustainability of the livestock and feed production sector.
The PDO file is now before the College of Commissioners where it will undergo technical examination.
“The ministry has done everything in complete the file,” said Sokratous.
It is currently stuck due to a political issue arising from the Green Line regulations and a dispute with the Turkish Cypriot side over how halloumi is made in the north.
Chinese officials attend a halloumi tasting session during Minister Kadis’ recent visit