Nicosia - Cyprus faces yet another battle to not only to gain long-delayed Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status for locally-produced halloumi but perhaps even the ability produce it under the name at all.
PDO status will allow only halloumi produced in Cyprus in accordance to a specific recipe to be sold under that name.
Local dairy farmers continuing to lock horns over what percentage of goat, sheep and cow milk should be used to create genuine Cypriot halloumi could prove far more damaging than simply drawing out the process.
Draft European Commission legislation is set to require milk-providing animals are raised on feed at least 50% of the ingredients of which are produced locally.
This would be a great obstacle for Cyprus which is dependent on imported animal feed with an estimated 70% brought in from overseas.
Other European capitals have also sounded the alarm over the mooted legislation in a letter drafted by Agriculture Minister Nicos Kouyialis and co-signed by his French, Italian, Spanish, Romanian, Maltese, Portuguese and Greek counterparts.
In the letter to European Commissioner responsible for agriculture and rural development Dacian Cioloş, objections were raised over the changes “which in our opinion are problematic for member states, districts and geographical areas of the EU which have proven objective difficulties in fulfilling the new demands. This is even more clear in the cases of states and districts with semi-dry and other unpleasant weather conditions and which suffer from frequent drought, flooding and/or permanent natural disadvantages which have resulted in feed coming from other places becoming the rule for decades now.”
Other areas are also not able to meet demand and are forced to import great quantities of grains and soya, the letter continued.
The ministers noted that the current legislation called for feed to be locally-sourced “as far as practical” and asked Cioloş to ensure that the legislation either remain as is or, if the stricter clauses are introduced, include leeway for EU member-states which had been importing feed for long periods and face difficulties producing enough of their own.