A meeting was held at the palace on Wednesday chaired by President Nicos Anastasiades to discuss the various issues affecting the halloumi sector.
The meeting, which took place after the cabinet met in the morning, was attended by the ministers of agriculture and commerce, and the respective presidents of the employers and industrialists’ federation (OEV) and the chambers of commerce and industry (Keve).
The only statement was made by Keve president Christodoulos Angastiniotis who said the issues discussed related to the marketing of halloumi.
Cyprus has been battling on two fronts to protect halloumi: in the UK, where it lost the trademark because of blunder by civil servants; and in the EU where its collective community mark is being challenged.
The EU collective wordmark Halloumi, registered on 14 July 2000, remains in force across the EU, including the UK.
Under the collective community mark, halloumi is produced only in Cyprus with certain ingredients and production methods. The UK’s secession deal also provides for the collective wordmark to be applied in the UK after Brexit.
Loss of the trademark in 2018 has not disrupted halloumi exports to the UK, according to trade figures. In fact, in the first four months of 2019 exports to the UK saw a 15.5 per cent rise.
In a new twist on Tuesday, farming organisations demanded the ministries of trade and agriculture take measures to stop the import of a white cheese, similar to halloumi in a letter sent to the authorities.
In the letter, Panagrotikos organistion demanded the ministries investigate the importation of a white cheese containing ingredients similar to halloumi in supermarkets and restaurants, while also demanding measures against it being imported, repackaged and exported as Cyprus halloumi.
Halloumi protection will only be achieved by registering it as a protected designation of origin (PDO) and the farming organisations insisted that the government needs to take immediate action for the EU approval on the matter.