One year after the implementation of an agreement between the Ministry of Agriculture, producers, cheese makers, and KEBE regarding halloumi cheese, issues persist. Disagreements regarding the specifications of the European Regulation have not been resolved. An appeal against the regulation has been filed with the European Court of Justice, and a decision is expected by the end of 2023.
Two possible scenarios could unfold: either the Regulation will be annulled, resulting in the loss of Halloumi's PDO seal, or the Regulation will remain in place without changes to its specifications.
While halloumi production and marketing face challenges, export revenue appears to be on an upward trajectory, offering a silver lining amid ongoing industry concerns.
The Cheese Makers Association has requested a meeting with the President of the Republic to address the issue, believing that only at the highest political level can a solution be found. They are urging the withdrawal of the appeal by Papouis Dairies and the CMO.
Despite ongoing problems, halloumi production continues, with reported irregularities. Inspections conducted by the Department of Agriculture have resulted in warnings and recommendations. Some cheese dairies face the risk of losing certification due to non-compliance.
Concerns also surround halloumi exports. While controls exist in the Cypriot market, uncertainties remain about exported products. The Ministry of Agriculture has issued instructions to intensify checks at exit points, including opening containers and conducting tests for compliance.
Despite checks by Bureau Veritas and the Ministry of Agriculture, questions persist about gaps and cases of non-compliance with the process and specifications, raising authenticity concerns about PDO halloumi one year after mass production began.
Meanwhile, the halloumi industry is experiencing a surge in export revenue. Recent data from the statistical office for intra-EU trade and trade with third countries, as of June 2023, shows that halloumi exports have generated 32.3 million euros. For the first half of the year, export revenues reached 178.2 million euros, marking an 11% increase compared to the previous year. Despite this boost in revenue, reports suggest that export volumes remain limited.
This limitation can be attributed to the rising price of halloumi, which may be dampening demand. However, it's worth noting that this reduction in export volumes was somewhat expected due to the higher product pricing. While halloumi production and marketing face challenges, export revenue appears to be on an upward trajectory, offering a silver lining amid ongoing industry concerns.
[This article was translated from its Greek original]