Kougialis: The answer for the halloumi is expected in the coming months

CEB1 75 Agriculture, News, Livestock, Nikos Kougialis, Halloumi
CEB1 861 Agriculture, News, Livestock, Nikos Kougialis, Halloumi

The next quarter is expected to decide whether or not the halloumi is registered, according to the Minister of Agriculture, Nikos Kougialis, who stated that he is waiting for the answer from the College of Commissioners of the European Union. The Minister expressed the hope that any objections will be rejected.

Speaking at the Pancyprian Conference on Milk and Cheese in Larnaca, the Minister referred to the issue of securing halloumi and said that "we are in the last stage on this issue and it is expected that in February the Committee on Agriculture will have completed its work which is I am currently evaluating the objections and I hope they will be rejected. From there on, the ratification will be promoted with a suggestion of the Commission to the College of Commissioners who will have the final responsibility to decide whether the halloumi will be registered for Cyprus or not ".

I continued the Minister "I am optimistic that in the next 2-3 months we will be finished. We have been waiting for about 16-17 years, let's wait a few more months and I hope everything will go smoothly ".

Answering a relevant question, Mr. Kougialis said that "the state will support all sectors of milk production, but especially that of sheep and goat farmers because the problem identified today is the low quantities of raw and sheep milk. "We have a budget of 40 million euros that will be allocated to measures that concern three different axes."

He explained that the first axis is "that of the increase of livestock, that is, the increase of productive sheep and goats, where by increasing them they will give us larger quantities of milk. "The second axis is that the existing sheep and goats do not produce as much as they can produce, they produce about 50% of their capacity and a short-term goal is to activate livestock to produce larger quantities."

He also noted that "the third axis is that of seasonality, ie we must solve the problem of seasonality of production, there are about 3-4 months where milk production is very low and for the cheese industry to work properly and to be able to "We have to correct this problem, that is, we have to have a stable milk production all year round."

Mr. Kougialis also stated that "we are focusing on these three axes and we will spend about 40 million euros. There is a huge interest for this program, there is a huge interest for the introduction of new breeders in the profession and about 130 of our compatriots have applied to create new sheep and goat breeding units ".

All this continued "make us feel optimistic and I hope that in the next three years we will have corrected many of the problems faced today by the sheep and goat industry and the cheese industry. I believe that with the establishment of halloumi, many things will fall into place and new horizons will be opened for Cypriot agriculture, animal husbandry and cheese-making ".

Besides, in his speech, Nikos Kougialis said that "in the last 15 years, the exports of halloumi have recorded a leapfrog course. In 2001 our exports were close to 3.000 tons and the value of exports was just close to 13 million euros. In 2015, exports exceeded 15.000 tons with an export value of 103 million euros, consolidating halloumi as the 2nd main export product of Cyprus after medicines ".

He also noted that "in the effort to achieve the goals of improving the productivity of genetic potential and increasing milk production, the contribution of the state alone is not enough. "This sector cannot rely indefinitely on the crutches of the state, especially at a time when there is such a high demand for milk."

The state, he continued, "makes every effort to support the milk production sector. Now is the time for industry to play its part. The dairy industry must contract with the producers, pay encouraging prices that cover the cost of production of the product but also attractive to provide milk and at the same time guide the producers and help them produce the final product based on the quality standards that the industry itself wants to satisfy the export market ".

At the same time, he said, "producers must use the support measures provided to improve their productivity but also to organize in groups, both to facilitate their work and to market their product properly and not casually."

Mr. Kougialis expressed once again his optimism that we will soon have the goal of securing halloumi, which, he noted, "will be the trigger for a close cooperation of all involved, Ministry, milk producers and cheese industry, far from expediencies and interests guided by the prosperity of the whole sector but also of our rural economy ".

Source: KYPE