The registration of Halloumi/Hellim as a Product of Designated Origin (PDO) and its contribution to the island’s economy was discussed by a panel organised by the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Industry last week.
The chairman of the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Industry Ali Cirali, the Minister of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Erkut Sahali and the Minister for Foreign Affairs Emine Colak delivered opening speeches at the panel.
Cirali underlined the importance of registering traditional products as PDO in terms of preserving, conserving and protecting their cultural value.
Stating that the number of companies producing hellim in Turkey had fallen from 70 to 10 once the traditional cheese had been registered, Cirali said that the process of registering halloumi/hellim as a PDO product in the EU is continuing.
“Sooner or later hellim’s registration as a PDO within the EU will take place. We need to be prepared for this”, he said. He also called upon the relevant ministries to cooperate in eradicating all livestock diseases in order to raise sheep’s and goat’s milk production to required levels.
Cirali noted that efforts are underway to obtain PDO registration for other traditional products such as Zivaniya, Seftali Kebab, Walnut Macun (green walnuts in syrup) and Tsamarella (dried meat).
Agriculture minister Sahali, in his speech, said that a process of restructuring is required in order to achieve high standards of production of hellim at competitive rates.
Foreign Affairs Minister Colak for her part, drew attention to the political dimension of the hellim issue. She also said that they were highly disturbed by the Greek Cypriot side’s objection to the agreement reached between the President of the EU Commission Jean-Cluade Juncker and the two leaders on the grounds that it had a negative impact on “south Cyprus’ sovereignty.” Colak said that they are expecting the EU Commission to make a fair assessment of the issue by taking into consideration the demands and equal rights of the Turkish Cypriots. “An agreement to be reached on the issue of hellim will with no doubt have a confidence building effect on the two sides and will reflect positively on the talks”, she said.
She expressed the view that the registration of halloumi/hellim will be of benefit to both communities, adding that they proposed the establishment of an inspection committee made up by the relevant chambers and the EU Commission to oversee halloumi production in the North.