Cyprus Minister of Agriculture said Friday that he was having intensive consultations with all stakeholders, to agree on changes to be forwarded to the European Commission regarding the traditional Cypriot cheese halloumi, that was registered as EU’s protected designation of origin (PDO).
Halloumi secured PDO status last April and its production under that status started last October. However, producers claim that they face a series of problems concerning sufficiency of sheep and goat milk to meet the quota and other specifications that will not allow them to continue exporting it in large quantities, as the second most exported product of Cyprus.
Speaking to the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture on the matter, the Minister Costas Kadis said that one of the solutions could be the coexistence of halloumi that will be manufactured based on PDO and halloumi that will be manufactured under the trademark that some producers owned before the registration of the product.
He stressed, however, that they didn’t wish the coexistence on the same shelf of halloumi as PDO and halloumi as trademark that will create confusion among consumers. He clarified that the trademark will include products that cannot be included in the PDO such as “halloumi light” and “halloumi chilli”, under certain conditions, despite the fact that this products could also bear the name and characteristics of the halloumi.
He also noted that any solution should be legally valid, adding that the European Commission in other cases allowed the coexistence of a pre-existing trademark and PDO. However he stressed that any solution would have to go again through the European Commission.
At the same time, the Minister said that he was in discussions with all stakeholders to forward to the European Commission changes in halloumi file, in relation to the quota of the milk, the breeds of animals that will produce the halloumi milk, the moisture content, the shape and the weight of halloumi, expressing the hope that most of the changes could be accepted by the Commission.
He added that the consultations with the stakeholders on the issue were intensive and that they’re close to an agreement that will allow the mass production of halloumi as PDO.
He also referred to the principles on which any agreement should be based which are the importance of registration of halloumi as PDO, the withdrawal of all legal action taken against product registration, the exploiting of the potential of trademarks, ensuring the sustainability of sheep and goat farmers, maintaining the existing exports, the agreement on the amendments that will be forwarded to Brussels and the strict implementation of the solution that will be agreed.
At the same time, Kadis said that the Government wants to support all stakeholders to find a solution and could contribute, to the issue of the sustainability of sheep and goat farmers.