PDO agreement for halloumi | Halloumi Cheese
August 26, 2022
The Minister of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment Costas Kadis, welcomed the agreement for halloumi production under the European PDO certification, which, as he stated, is to the benefit of all parties; however, they will have to comply with the required conditions.
As it has already been announced, in compliance with the conditions set by the EU, there should be changes in the goat and sheep milk quotas, which should now amount to 50%. According to the minister, the adjustment period is expected to be extended to 2029, from 2024 which was originally proposed, if the relevant amendment is made to the EU regulation.
This is the outcome of a meeting that took place yesterday at the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry, where all parties were involved.
“It was a difficult meeting. There were moments of tension, but everyone realised in the end that it could not be finalised without reaching an agreement”, stated Mr Kadis to the Cyprus News Agency. He even described the meeting as “eventful”, as some of the participants went so far as to declare that they would give up the negotiations.
However, the minister didn’t omit to emphasize that this was the first meeting to bring results, after many unsuccessful ones, since the various sides “found common ground and agreed on a framework as to how we will move forward with halloumi”.
The extension of the transition period (until the goat milk reaches 50%) was a unanimous decision. However, according to the minister, everyone, including the breeders, recognize that the PDO halloumi production should follow the actual quantities of milk available in Cyprus, as we must not forget the recent reduction of the island’s livestock due to adverse conditions.
Consequently, starting from December 2022, the goat and sheep milk quota should gradually reach 10% (from the current 25%), and from January 2023 rise to 20%. Later, the plan is to add 5% of goat milk every year, until we finally reach the desired 50% in 2029.
At this point, let us note that the initial deadline set by the European Commission was 2024. However, this transition period could be extended by ten years if there are changes in the European regulation, which can be done as an exception in this case and with the agreement of all the member states. According to the minister, the first half of 2023 will show whether there is such a possibility.
Quite important in this decision are the seven years of the halloumi’s certification process as a PDO product. Mr Kadis stated: “If the certification for halloumi was approved, as for all other EU kinds of cheese, within seven to ten months, we would have a decade ahead of us to work on the milk quota. After seven years of non-approval, a lot of doubt has ascended, and producers didn’t do what they were supposed to, in order to reach this percentage.” “We believe that the European Commission will compensate for this lost time by granting an extension until 2029”, he added.
According to the minister, everyone left the meeting content.
Rise in prices for sheep and goat farmers
Besides, according to Mr Kadis, the participants decided on increases in the market for goat and sheep milk, which will range from 30 to 35 cents. The exact price will depend on objective criteria, such as the price of raw materials (e.g. grains) and the quality characteristics of the milk produced, such as its fat and protein content.
Promotion of Cypriot white grilled cheese
Finally, the minister stated that a concerted effort to promote the “Cypriot white grilled cheese” will take place. This kind of cheese will become available under a different name and PDO certification. He emphasized that this product will be made exclusively from cow milk and cannot be included in the PDO halloumi category under no circumstances.