The development of cottage industries in Cyprus is virtually non-existent, MPs said on Tuesday, proposing ways to promote the marketing of traditional Cypriot products.
Lawmakers heard, for example, that to date only 10 Cypriot products have gained Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) certification, and just 10 others have been certified as Products of Geographical Indication (PGIs).
To grow, cottage industries must be governed by a framework and standardised regulations – currently absent.
“At the moment the state has no coherent strategy… just piecemeal actions,” chair of the House commerce committee Kyriacos Hadjiyiannis said.
As a first step, MPs have drafted a bill that would create a registry of cottage industries. They aim to take the bill to the plenum as soon as possible.
According to Hadjiyiannis, a cottage industry is defined as a manufacturing unit or an individual engaged in production, either in their home or in a workshop.
He spoke of the potential for “remarkable activities that would materially boost our GDP… perhaps by as much as 2 to 4 per cent.”
Akel MP Costas Costa said cottage industries should be regulated, but not too strictly as to become deterring.
He noted the slow progress in certifying traditional products, mentioning as an example the Pitsilia sausage for which it took 13 years. With no assistance from the state, and “going up against big corporations,” the sausage producers had to file the certification application paperwork on their own.
The MP also called on the government to define what are traditional products and create a relevant list.
Right now, he said, there exist no incentives whatsoever for people to set up small manufacturing units in the countryside. But the emergence of cottage industries would help create jobs and contain urbanisation.
Greens MP Charalambos Theopemptou pointed out that health standards should apply where cottage industries produce foodstuffs.
He mentioned the Haccp (Hazard analysis and critical control points) protocol which applies in Cyprus.
Theopemptou said that in other countries, cottage industries are not subject to Haccp, but rather to separate safety standards that are less strict. The same should be done in Cyprus, he argued.