President Nicos Anastasiades on Saturday welcomed the positive developments within the EU over halloumi, noting that its registration as a protected designation of origin (PDO) will significantly contribute to both the protection of the product and an increase in exports.
The EU committee responsible for examining the application for the registration of traditional Cypriot halloumi cheese as a PDO met on Friday in Brussels, and there was a positive response from all EU member states. The final decision will be announced on Monday.
Asked about the European Commission’s decision on the PDO status of halloumi, Anastasiades said “it was a rather difficult endeavour, a difficult struggle that was unfortunately also marred by political expediencies.
“In any case, I hope on Monday, the announcement is made on the registration of the Cypriot halloumi, which will definitely contribute significantly to the protection of the product, but also increase exports,” he said.
He said halloumi was important for the Cypriot economy.
On reactions by the cheesemakers, Anastasiades said: “I want to hope that logic will prevail. There are some objective difficulties, I believe that with good effort will be overcome.”
The cheesemakers association has announced its members would strike on April 5 over the decision, claiming that it does not protect halloumi but instead “will lead with mathematical precision to the destruction of the largest exportable agricultural product of Cyprus”.
Head of the cheesemakers’ association, Giorgos Petrou, told state broadcaster CyBC radio on Saturday morning that they wanted to secure existing quantities of halloumi production and to ensure the range of products already produced over the past 25 years.
The association also calls for ensuring the use of all types and quantities of milk (goat-sheep and cow milk) in the production of halloumi, as has been the case over time.
Cheesemakers are affected by the ongoing debate on the ratio of cow’s milk to sheep and goat milk, with farmers saying for years that the original recipe register with the PDO application, which calls for a 49:51 quota in favour of the latter, could not be met by current milk production.