The European Commission has approved the addition of the Sotira kolokassi or Cyprus taro to the list of Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) and Protected Geographical Indications (PGI) on Wednesday.
The kolokassi is the third product granted this status after the Paphos sausage and the Agros rose preserve.
“The promotion of agribusiness products as geographical indications creates real growth conditions, supporting new SMEs, creating employment opportunities and improving living conditions in rural areas,” said Agriculture Minister Nicos Kouyialis.
“The two characteristics of taro cultivation, the excellent adaptability to the soil and weather conditions in the area and the expertise of the Sotira producers were important for the decision to approve the Sotira kolokassi as a PDO,” Kouyialis added.
The application of Cyprus taro as a PDO was announced at the Taro Festival in Sotira in September 2015. At the time the agriculture minister said the product was “undoubtedly a traditional product of our country as historical references of its presence in Cyprus exist since the 12th century.”
Kolokassi is produced in the Famagusta area, specifically in Sotira, Avgorou, Frenaros and Liopetri.
Meanwhile, the registration of halloumi is still pending and Cyprus has applied for other products such as Pitsilla chiromeri, Pitsilla lountza and Agros rosewater, which is different from the preserve, to be included in the list of products as well.
Asked to clarify the difference between the PDO and PGI, Kouyiallis said the former
PDO means the materials in the product must come from one specific geographical area which in the case of halloumi is all of Cyprus. For the PGI, however, the material can be sourced from several areas but would need to be produced in a certain place – in this case Paphos.