The Cypriot government is mobilizing its embassies abroad to help sell a stock of six million kilograms of halloumi cheese outside the EU after demand fell in the midst of the covid-19 pandemic.
Trade Minister Natasa Pilides told MPs on Tuesday that demand had fallen over the past year due to deadlocks across Europe that shut down the hospitality sector and hampered tourism on the holiday island.
The traditional delight is the island’s largest and most famous export, said Pilides.
“Through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, we have contacted all embassies to help get rid of stocks through bilateral arrangements,” she said.
In April, the European Union registered halloumi as a protected designation of origin (PDO) after Cyprus submitted a PDO application to the European Commission as early as July 2014 for cheese made mainly from sheep’s and / or goat’s milk.
Although cheesemakers say exports are increasing, they are selling fresh produce because prices would fall if they unload old stock to regular customers.
“The possibility of sending larger quantities to our regular customers in the EU means that we have to drastically reduce prices, leading to a devaluation of the product,” said Andreas Andreou, Cyprus Dairy Producers Association official.
Halloumi warehouses produced before 1 October can in any case not bear the PDO brand, which is why the authorities are looking for markets outside the block.