The Cyprus government is keen to speed up procedures to protect the traditional goat’s cheese ‘halloumi’ from competition by other dairy-producing countries, that would ensure hundreds of jobs and help boost exports, estimated at more than €25 mln.
Agriculture Minister Nicos Kougialis said on Friday that the registration of halloumi cheese as a product with Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) is a matter of national importance, having filed earlier in July an application to the European Commission to grant halloumi/hellim a certificate of PDO.
The Minister said that Turkish Cypriots, who call their version of the same cheese as “hellim”, should not worry, noting that solutions can be found with regards to performing the necessary controls on the product, once registered, by an independent body.
He added that the European Commission has already started assessing the Cyprus application and expects the process to be completed within six to eight months.
Meanwhile, Kouyialis added that the planning and implementation of the Rural Development Programme and the Operational Programme for Fisheries are part of the vision to create a ministry that is productive and evolutionary, providing employment and opportunities to the country and the economy.
He told reporters that these two programmes will gradually provide 800 new jobs in agriculture, animal breeding, research and fisheries.
Kouyialis said that during its last meeting, the Cabinet approved his ministry’s proposals for the development programme totalling €240.5 mln and for fisheries for a total budget of €52.61 mln.
The first programme is already before the Commission for approval while the second one is still pending, he said.
“These programmes will provide many solutions to combat youth unemployment and create new positions in agriculture, animal breeding, the environment and fisheries,” Kouyialis concluded.
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