By Andria Kades
Following Cyprus’ application to register halloumi as a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) product, another application has been filed to the European Commission this time for kolokasi, otherwise known as Cyprus taro, Agriculture Minister Nicos Kouyialis said.
Speaking at the Taro Festival in Sotira, Famagusta, he said the product was “undoubtedly a traditional product of our country as historical references of its presence in Cyprus exists since the 12th century.”
With 85 per cent of taro produced in Sotira, he said there was hardly any doubt this could be a local product due to the excellent soil and weather conditions in the area and the techniques producers developed in creating a “special and unique product.”
The two reasons were highlighted in the application, Kouyialis said, adding “I hope that very soon the ‘Sotiras Kolokasi’ will be designated as a PDO and in this way more and effective tools will be given to producers and bodies in Sotira to further promote and advertise the product.”
This would give the product a different dimension whereby producers would also be able to utilise up to €100,000 in funding every three years to actually promote it.
Halloumi and taro however are not the only products pending approval for PDO status, Kouyialis said. The ‘Paphos Sausage’ and the ‘Agros Sweet Rose’ (drink) are expected to be registered within the next six months.”
In the meantime, closer to home, Cyprus is also examining another five products that could potentially be PDO registered.
“We recognise that with opening up the market and the conditions of the free market, it is difficult to compete with products from other countries that, for different reasons, are produced at a much smaller cost. Registering and promoting our local traditional products is a priority for our ministry,” Kouyialis said.
“We have to insist on Cypriot products, insist on tradition and remain truly faithful to our roots and traditions of our country.”
Ending his speech on a comical note he read out the last paragraph of the ‘Sotiras Kolokasi’ application that was filed to the European Commission: “The characteristic feature of the kolokasi foliage where it is not affected by enemies or diseases is reflected in the local expression ‘you are like a kolokasi leaf’ which refers to someone that is not bothered by anything or does not let problems affect them.“
He added “we have already proved that we are not like a ‘kolokasi leaf’ but we care about the growth of our agriculture economy and the wellbeing of our agricultural world”.