Turkish Cypriots get halloumi aid

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Brussels announced it is mobilising €1 mln to test cattle, sheep and goats to improve animal health and food safety to help Turkish Cypriots trade halloumi through the Green Line.

The money will help the community meet EU standards for exporting the traditional white cheese across the divide before the end of 2024.

The project will help to fully eradicate animal diseases that affect milk-producing livestock in the areas not under the effective control of the government of the Republic and is funded by the Aid Programme for the Turkish Cypriot Community.

Once it is confirmed that animal health and food safety standards are met, the Turkish Cypriots can trade their Halloumi/Hellim across the Green Line for placement on the EU market as a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO).

Turkish Cypriot producers are expected to be able to trade PDO-compliant Halloumi/Hellim from across the Green Line for export to EU markets next year.

Under the project, 50,000 cattle and 325,000 sheep and goats will be tested for the last relevant animal disease, brucellosis.

Spot checks will be conducted to ensure that already eliminated diseases have not reappeared.

Turkish Cypriot veterinarians will be trained to improve their capacity to test and monitor animal health.

And farmers will receive compensation for the culling of infected animals.

The first PDO certificate for Turkish Cypriot Halloumi/Hellim was issued in March.

Some €40 mln has been earmarked for 2021-2024 under the Aid Programme to implement the Halloumi/Hellim PDO scheme in the Turkish Cypriot community.