"The PDO is in danger": SOS for halloumi, they warn with dynamic measures

SOS for halloumi, they warn with dynamic measures

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Sheep and goat farmers are expressing a danger signal for halloumi, talking about behind-the-scenes processes on the part of the cheese makers, as well as tolerance from the Ministry of Agriculture, which put the PDO at risk.

According to information, the two issues were raised at a meeting held yesterday by the Coordinating Committee of Goat and Sheep Breeders, which was attended by the presidents of the eight organized groups of the sector.

As discussed at the meeting, there are two key issues of concern to producers. On the one hand, according to information, industry professionals are talking about behind-the-scenes processes by the cheesemakers, with the aim of gradually reducing the quota of goat and sheep milk for the production of PDO halloumi from 51% to 10%, to serve their financial interests, and on the other hand, all this happens with the tolerance of the Ministry of Agriculture.

The information indicates that there is discontent in the ranks of goat and sheep farmers, as a year after the implementation of the PDO, the Ministry of Agriculture carried out only 24 inspections (fewer, that is, than the available cheese factories), while irregularities were detected in seven of them, as reported before the Parliamentary Agriculture Committee.

The sheep and goat farmers also note that the cheese makers and cattle farmers did not respect the framework agreement which defined the conditions for PDO production to start (July 2022).

According to competent sources, in the shadow of the above, as well as other behind-the-scenes processes, during yesterday's meeting, decisions were made in the direction of protecting PDO halloumi.

Firstly, on September 28 there will be an open gathering of sheep and goat breeders in Choirokoitia, during which specific decisions will be made about mobilizations, which only with radical changes in the ministry's behavior, as we have been told, will be thwarted. Specifically, a protest gathering outside the Ministry of Agriculture and a march to the Presidential Palace is being considered.

Secondly, the sheep and goat farmers will prepare a letter addressed to Wolfgang Burtscher, director general of the Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development of the European Commission, in which they will be informed about the issues that concern professionals in the sector, while it will be emphasized that the sheep and goat farmers do not accept to given a five-year extension as a transitional period for the implementation of the PDO, as requested by the Ministry of Agriculture, but they want it to be implemented in July 2024.

Source: Sigmalive