South Cyprus plans to apply for Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status for the root vegetable Kolokasi (Taro), after it made the same application for Halloumi cheese.
The announcement was made by Cyprus’ Agriculture Minister Nicos Kouyialis, who was addressing visitors at the 41st Kolokasi Festival in Sotira, to the east of the island, a region where the cultivation of this vegetable is especially favourable.
The minister emphasised that it was important to preserve and promote the cultivation of traditional agricultural products of the island.
“Over time and through historical traditions, we can see without a doubt that Kolokasi is a traditional product of our country since there are historical references to the presence of Kolokasi in Cyprus since the 12th Century,” Kouyialis said.
According to the Agriculture Minister, the tuber will be registered as “Sotira Kolokasi” after the name of the village to the east of the island in the Famagusta district. He put this decision down to the perfect growing conditions due to the soil conditions in the area as well as the development of cultivation techniques by the local producers.
Kolokasi was traditionally grown on a large scale in the Karpas region before 1974. Its cultivation grew on a larger scale in the government-controlled area of Famagusta since then, with 85% of the root vegetable cultivated in the village of Sotira today.
“Kolokasi’s registration as a PDO will give another dimension to the product, especially promoting its local and traditional culture as well as upgrade its nutritional qualities,” Kouyialis noted.
The South plans to register more products as PDOs, the Agriculture Minister said, allowing producers to take advantage of certain incentives in the Agricultural Development Programme 2014-2020, such as two sets of grants of up to 100,000 euros for the promotion of their product.
Meanwhile, Kouyialis said that the application for Halloumi cheese is expected to be completed soon, while those for Paphos Loukaniko (sausage) and Rose spoon sweet (conserve) from Agros are expected to be processed in the next six months. A further five Cypriot products are currently being reviewed.