The reaction of the cheesemakers was strong, through their President Georgios Petros, after yesterday's protests of the sheep and goats and especially after the statements of the Minister of Agriculture Costas Kadis about the incorrect operation of the competition.
At the same time, Mr. Petrou noted that they fully understand the protests and despair of the farmers but noted that in no case do the cheesemakers speculate against them as they imply. “For us, they are a key part of our chain and we would definitely like their immediate support,” he said.
“The Minister of Agriculture is lying in an attempt to avoid the burden of failure” but also of the problems, when he says that while there is an increase in the price of halloumi, the cheesemakers did not put increases in the price of milk.
It caused him, as he said, to go to the Statistical Service and get the data on the exports of halloumi and to see that the export quantities have decreased, but also the average selling price has generally decreased.
He also said that milk prices did not fall and wondered “why so much passion for cheesemakers, why so much war to those who have promoted and promoted the Cypriot halloumi around the world for decades, to those who through their own efforts managed to develop agriculture of Cyprus with full employment and growth rates in all sectors? “
At the same time he said that & # 8220; they did, to go to the dairies, instead of outside the Presidential. If he wants to close the dairies, the first to suffer losses after the dairies are our breeders, and the 15,000 people employed by the industry in general & # 8221 ;.
“We are also part of the halloumi industry and can not try in any way to offend us and want to destroy us. “I do not think it is the right role of a minister who wants the good and the development of the state, since at the same time he is fighting the cheesemakers, at the same time he is turning against sheep and goat breeders, cow breeders, farmers, traders, but also 270 million exports,” he said./p>
Asked whether he considers the competition to work properly, Mr. Petrou said that the competition works very well and fairly and that milk prices are stable due to the pressure that exists with high reserves of halloumi. “We would be the first to seek increases since our own cost estimate has increased dramatically and is growing non-stop. And of course with an increase in the price of halloumi, we would transfer a significant increase in the price of milk since we really occupy the problem of breeders. “Unfortunately, instead of price increases, we have reductions,” he said.
“The refrigerators are full of hallucinations, we have millions in stock, we do not know what to do with them and instead of leaving the milk to the farmers, limiting our production, we work hard to keep the industry alive. “For 1.5 years we have been carrying the problems of the sector by supporting livestock, buying all the quantities of milk and paying them on time,” he said. That is why, he added, the only one who can support the industry in general today is the state.
Mr. Petrou noted, however, that farmers have the right to complain about the price and agreed that they should get increases, but stressed that they can not increase the price of halloumi, because the announcements of the Ministry and Parliament for the many stocks , brought about a decrease in the selling price, at the same time that energy, packaging materials, shipping are growing non-stop.
As he said, when the announcement of high stocks was delivered, buyers from all over the world (Europe, Australia, England, America) demanded price reductions taking advantage of the pressure from the Cheesemakers.
“Our sales have fallen with all these insecurities that they are transporting in their own way around the world. “They keep talking about milk powder and they gave the impression to the people that we use milk powder to make halloumi and I challenge them and I call them, immediately, if they find milk powder in any factory to come out and announce it in his name”, said Mr. Petrou .
He added that if they do not have data, they should go out and apologize because what they say is transferred abroad, customers hear it and sales are affected. He warned that when their sales were affected, both they and the breeders would be affected. for covid, were reduced.
Regarding the subsidies of € 800,000 to the cheesemakers from the Government, Mr. Petrou stated that these subsidies are not to leave their stock, but they announced a draft that concerns small amounts to cover part of the refrigeration expenses they have for storage of halloumi. “They gave 800,000 euros to be shared by all the cheesemakers in Cyprus, to cover part of the cost of the refrigerants, but we still did not get a single cent,” he said.
< strong> No one can produce halloumi with the PDO standard
Regarding the production of halloumi with the model of Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) approved by the European Commission, Mr. Petrou said that even the five – six small dairies that are said to produce PDO. is illegal, since either they do not have pasteurization, or the milk they get is from breeds of animals that are not registered in the file, or their diet is not what they should be. He stated that 85% of the milk is not produced by animals whose breeds are included in the dossier.
He added that the halloumi file that was secured has many problems and there are 13 points for which the Ministry informed that they need to be corrected, so as not to hinder the production of PDO halloumi. All those involved agreed on this and they are all aware.
“Unfortunately we did not reach the percentage and that is why none of the 13 points went for a change. So at the moment there has been no change in the specifications and the file must be applied as it is, with these 13 points no one can skip them and make halloumi PDO. as it should “, he said.
He added that at the moment, for the above reasons, they are unable to produce halloumi with the PDO model approved by the EU.
Mr. Petrou said that all these issues will be discussed at a meeting of cheesemakers in the afternoon and will be followed by an announcement on many things that, as he said, people should know.