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17 July, 2024
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Halloumi talks continue as stakeholders seek common ground

Discussions continue as Ministry addresses imitation products and production costs

Maria Eracleous

Maria Eracleous

In a meeting lasting over four hours on Monday evening at the Agricultural Research Institute in Aglandjia, discussions on the issue of halloumi concluded with a concise announcement from the Ministry. It was decided to continue talks with different stakeholder groups individually.

Today, the Minister of Agriculture will meet with Cattle Breeders' Associations. Tomorrow, discussions will take place with the Cheese Makers' Association, and on Thursday, the Sheep Breeders' Association will be in focus. The primary agenda is the contentious matter of milk quotas, which has gained prominence following the Ministry of Commerce's decree to increase the percentage of sheep and goat milk in halloumi to 19%.

Following these separate meetings, a subsequent gathering with all stakeholders is anticipated to make concrete decisions. Notably, discussions during the recent meeting included matters related to milk powder and imitation products, leading to the decision to initiate specific controls by the Ministry.

Additionally, an external expert will be engaged to establish a formula for calculating the cost of halloumi milk production. This formula will help clarify the actual cost of sheep and goat milk compared to cow's milk.

The acceptance of this formula by the involved parties in the production of halloumi remains a question. Moreover, concerns were raised during the meeting about inadequacies in the controls on the production and distribution of halloumi. There were discussions about irregularities and legal loopholes enabling the sale of imitation products even within the Cypriot market.

Ministry of Agriculture Statement:

The Minister of Agriculture, Rural Development, and Environment, Mr. Petros Xenophontos, met with all stakeholders in the production and marketing of PDO halloumi. This meeting took place in the presence of representatives from the Ministry of Energy, Trade, and Industry, and the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI). The purpose was to address the implementation of the agreement signed in July 2022 between the Cheese Makers' Association and the organized groups of cow and sheep farmers.

During the meeting, the Minister emphasized that the Ministry's goal is to protect the registration of the PDO "halloumi / hellim" designation. He stressed the importance of cooperation from all stakeholders for the collective benefit of the country's economy.

The discussions initially focused on the compliance level with the agreement's provisions by all parties and methods to combat the marketing of imitation products through the collaborative efforts of all involved parties.

Regarding the execution of the agreement to define a formula for calculating milk production costs, it was decided that the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development would delegate this task to an external expert who would serve as a reference point for all parties involved.

Finally, it was agreed that in the coming days, the Minister would hold separate meetings with all parties involved to seek a broader consensus on all contentious points related to the product's future.

Cyprus  |  halloumi  |  exports

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