articles | 31 July 2014

Agriculture can play an important role in economic recovery

The Ministry of Agriculture can contribute to growth and job creation, said Minster of Agriculture Nicos Kouyialis, pointing out that the registration of halloumi cheese as a product with Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) is crucial to this effort.

Cyprus filed earlier this month an application to the European Commission to grant halloumi/hellim a certificate of PDO. 

"I think that this Ministry can play an important role in the recovery of our economy," he said, noting that both agriculture and livestock can contribute to this and grow even more. 

At the same time, he said, the Ministry aims to create green growth and a low-emission economy that will help create new jobs. 

On Wednesday the Cabinet approved the Rural Development Programme, which will allocate an amount of €240 million to support the rural world in the years 2014 - 2020. At the same time the Operational Programme for Fisheries will allocate €53 million for fisheries. 

"The Rural Development Programme is the tool for growth of our Ministry. The program provides €240 million to be allocated for rural development through various measures to be launched," he said.

Regarding the Plan for Fisheries he said that the €40 million from the €53 million comes from the European Union. 

"We managed to increase these resources from €20 million to €40 million for these seven years which was a great success for our Ministry," he said.

He added that the program will support the fisheries and aquaculture, and will include many measures for research and innovation, which will create many ‘blue jobs’. 

"The Ministry is changing. Our vision is to create a productive and developing Ministry. We can offer many projects and jobs in our country through the funding of programs we handle and will try in every way we can to contribute to the recovery of our economy," said Kouyialis.

The Minister said he was optimistic for a quick registration of halloumi as PDO. He said that during his recent contacts in Europe he asked for a quick review of the file. 

"The Commission is familiar with the matter, the file is similar to thatsent four years ago and I think that within the next six months we will have the first positive response from the Commission," he said.

Referring to the disagreements within Cyprus, after the file was submitted, the Minister clarified that he does not tolerate any pressure from economic interests, however there were some reactions by cattle farmers and cheese makers in Cyprus. He noted that the application has been filed, after 10 years of discussions. 

“I believe that the way we are trying to go about with the registration, will benefit all productive sectors, cheese producers, sheep farmers as well as cattle farmers, some in the short term and others in the long term and will surely have a positive impact on the local economy," said the Minister. 

He also said that the submission of the file provides a transitional period of adjustment in which the halloumi will be prepared with 20% goat and sheep’s milk and not 50% plus as provided in the file, thus production and exports will not be affected.

Source: Financial Mirror

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