New agreement for the PDO halloumi? | Halloumi Cheese
November 14, 2023
The issue of halloumi PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) and the related agreement, which was signed last July and should have already been put into full effect, came up again early October.
However, according to the statements of Mr Andreas Georgiou, Deputy Minister of Agriculture, the terms of the agreement, signed by both the livestock farmers and cheesemakers, have not been fully implemented.
Therefore, the government considers it necessary to propose a new agreement, and intends to apply pressure on the producers to this direction. This new agreement will make the terms of the previous one binding and its implementation mandatory, while it is also expected to contribute to the formation of a common approach to the issue of the halloumi pricing strategy.
It is significant that, according to the Deputy Minister’s statements, the dairy market does not currently appear to be operating in a healthy competitive environment. The aim of the government is therefore to ensure such an environment, which will provide producers and traders with the necessary means to be able to improve further.
On the other hand, the head of the Pancyprian Organization of Cattle Farmers Mr Nikos Papakyriakou, stated that, already in February, the Organization has notified in a letter to the government the issues that exist in relation to the implementation of the PDO agreement for halloumi.
The main problem seems to arise from the condition of the PDO agreement for reduced use of cow milk in the halloumi production (50%). According to the cattle farmers, the government should propose a disposal plan for the cow milk that will no longer be used in the production of halloumi, otherwise they will have to chuck it away!
In addition, according to Mr Papakyriakou, the cattle farmers ask from the government to extend the adjustment period that was originally set for the implementation of the PDO milk quota required by the agreement, as well as to effectively support sheep and goat milk producers so that they can stand on their own feet and not be dependent from government funding. He did not fail to point out that the issue has political implications.
For his part, the head of the Sheep and Goat Breeders’ Union Mr Marios Rialas, argued that the best thing would be for the cow breeders to find alternative ways of disposing of the excess cow milk instead of chucking it away, such as, for example, making grilled cheese from it. Besides, as he characteristically said, they already knew about this transition back in 2014 and could have prepared, just like the rest of the farmers and producers. Instead, however, the cow population increased from 24,000 to 38,000 in the last decade, and the production of cow milk from 158 million litres to 300 million, figures that clearly do not promote the implementation of the PDO agreement.
Finally, he emphasized that Cypriot bovine products are currently not at all competitive due to their high price compared to their Polish and Romanian counterparts.
Announcement of the Association of Cypriot Cheese Makers on their position for the percentage increase of goat and sheep milk in the production of Halloumi cheese to 19%
Following the announcement of the Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment on 19 October 2023, regarding its recommendation for the immediate implementation of an increase in the percentage of goat and sheep milk in the production of Halloumi cheese to 19%, without the necessary consultation with all involved and affected parties, the Association of Cypriot Cheese Makers firmly expressed its complete opposition. The decision was unjustified, taken without proper research, and essentially leads to the gradual collapse of the industry. In the association's announcement, it is also noted that meeting the current quota of 10% of goat and sheep milk for Halloumi production is already challenging.
The Association of Cypriot Cheese Makers emphasizes that the competent authority to make such a decision is the Ministry of Commerce, Energy, and Industry, not the Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment.
Therefore, the Association of Cypriot Cheese Makers called on the Minister of Commerce, Energy and Industry to complete the consultation process with all involved parties before making the final.