Halloumi hailed as export saviour

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During the past decade, halloumi exports have increased tenfold to reach a whopping €284 mln and are expected to rise further, thus becoming a steady pillar of the island’s economic growth.

Speaking at the Alambra Dairies’ ultra-modern fresh milk production line, President Nikos Christodoulides praised the company’s 40-year path from a humble beginning and persistence to improve and employ modern methods and advanced technologies.

He said the government will support such progressive industries that employ hundreds on-site and at least 400 smaller farmers and milk producers.

This should be music to the ears of businesses struggling to cope with disproportionately rising costs, soaring electricity bills and competitiveness bleeding by the day.

Only last week, the employers’ federation OEB called on the government to reinstate measures that would help contain costs – slashing tariffs on fuel and re-introducing discounts on electricity, as long as Cyprus refuses to convert power production to natural gas and continues to import diesel, with consumers paying about €300 per person every year in emission penalties.

The head of the family-run dairy, Giorgos Petrou, said that when the company started in Aradippou in 1982, “we were on our own,” and there was no help from anybody.

Today, the company is diversified and claims a lion’s share in local production and exports.

The president needs to be held accountable for his compliments to show that the necessary assistance goes where needed most – the productive and output sectors.

Grants are readily available, and these should be disbursed quickly and efficiently to ensure the end user utilises this money where and when it is needed, and not with a delay of several years, after which many businesses might have diminished.

Benjamin Netanyahu declared that Israelis love Cyprus cheese and that his country would liberalise the dairy market, openly inviting Cypriot producers to fill that void.

Even House Speaker Annita Demetriou expressed support, saying that measures and laws directly contributing to the economy’s growth should be fast-tracked, as thousands of jobs are at stake.

Cyprus does not have any heavy industry and continues to over-rely on tourism and services, ignoring other sectors that have proven to be the cornerstone against crises, overcoming major upheavals such as the banking collapse and economic meltdown, followed by the Covid pandemic that brought the economy to its knees.

The entire economic model needs to be redefined to make provisions for possible shortfalls, to capitalise on strong points and advantages, and to diversify our national output as widely as possible.

This chain can only be strengthened with a vision of the future and if complacency is defeated.