The European Commission, under the aid programme for the Turkish Cypriots, on Thursday launched an EU-funded project to help in fully eradicating animal diseases that affect milk-producing livestock in the areas not under the effective control of the Cyprus government, it said.
One million euros will be mobilised to increase animal health and food safety helping the Turkish Cypriot community to meet the EU standards, the Commission said.
“Upon confirmed compliance, the Turkish Cypriot Community will be able to trade their halloumi/hellim across the Green Line for placement on the EU market as a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO,” it added.
Under the project, 50,000 cattle and 325,000 sheep and goats will be tested for the last remaining relevant animal disease, brucellosis. Spot checks will be conducted to make sure that already eliminated diseases have not reappeared and Turkish Cypriot veterinarians will be trained to improve their capacity to test and monitor animal health. Finally, farmers will receive compensation for the culling of infected animals.
On the basis of the Commission’s pan-Cypriot halloumi/hellim PDO scheme, which benefits both Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot producers, the first PDO certificate for Turkish Cypriot halloumi/hellim was issued in March.
“Thanks to these efforts, the first trade of PDO-compliant halloumi/hellim from the Turkish Cypriot community across the Green Line for placement on the EU market could take place before end of 2024,” the Commission said.
For the period 2021-2024, €40 million has been earmarked under the aid programme to implement the halloumi/hellim PDO scheme in the Turkish Cypriot community.