He noted that the Cypriot brand will give an extra boost to the Cypriot countryside
A bill to establish a system for awarding a Cypriot mark is in the final stage of legislative processing, said the Minister of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment Petros Xenophontos, noting that the Cypriot mark will give an additional boost to the Cypriot countryside, since it will effectively reflect the origin of the products and gives them a differentiated presence in the market, linked to the place of production and to the domestic raw material used for their preparation.
Mr. Xenophontos was speaking during the 1st CyFood Forum organized in Larnaca on Larnaca Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the City's Tourism Development and Promotion Company with the aim of strengthening the promotion of Cypriot products in the tourism industry.
In his greeting, the Minister said that “events like today's are very important for the Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment, because they serve one of our main goals, which is to cover, to the greatest extent possible, the nutritional needs of both the local , as well as the visitors of our island”.
He noted “how today's event can highlight possibilities, but also concerns surrounding the issues of the agri-food sector and its relationship with both tourism and industry”.
Today, “more than ever, consumers are looking for quality products, safe, with high nutritional value. Cyprus, with its long tradition in the production of fresh as well as processed, quality agricultural products, can highlight this heritage, meet the needs of consumers and support culinary tourism”.
Mr. Xenophontos said that “our agricultural sector represents, in numbers, a small part of the country's Gross National Product. However, as it becomes evident through the activities of today's Forum, it exerts a significant influence on other sectors of the economy, thus multiplying its own value”.
“Besides the fact that it helps to maintain the social fabric in rural areas and limit urbanization and desertification, the practice of agricultural activity protects and preserves the natural environment and landscape, and contributes to limiting the effect of climate change. It also provides the raw materials for our agro-food industry and industry, while enriching and promoting the tourism product of Cyprus”, he added.
He said that “as conditions have developed in recent years, our agriculture is facing many challenges. The Government, and specifically the Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment, taking into account this fact, continues its multifaceted action and makes every possible effort to improve the competitiveness of the agricultural sector”.
The Minister said that for the support of agricultural activity and the sustainable development of the countryside, “the role of the Strategic Plan of the Common Agricultural Policy 2023-2027, with a total funding of 454 million euros, is expected to be decisive”.
According to him, the Strategic Plan includes measures and interventions that promote the sustainability and competitiveness of our agriculture. At the same time, they give the opportunity to existing and newly created processing companies in the agri-food sector to proceed with investments in the acquisition or upgrading of equipment, in order to meet the modern demands of the market and consumers. In all cases, he said, “great emphasis is placed on introducing innovation and mitigating the impact these activities have on the environment”.
He noted that “the Ministry of Agriculture, harmonizing with the EU policies, gives special importance to the expansion of the actions to reorganize and improve the operation of the agri-food sector. Examples are the reform of the risk management sector in agricultural production, as well as the legislative arrangements to deal with Unfair Trade Practices in the supply chain of agricultural products and food and the improvement of the way the People's Markets operate for the benefit of farmers and consumers”.< /p>
Mr. Xenophontos also said that “in recent years, we have also made a great effort to provide all possible assistance to producers to achieve the registration in the Register of Geographical Indications of the European Union of names of our traditional products, which distinguish and they have special characteristics”.
“Our goal is to preserve the unique identity of these products, to increase the prospect of their exports to international markets and to ensure remunerative prices for the producer”, he noted.
The registration of the name Halloumi as a Designation of Origin Product Register of Geographical Indications of the Union, he said, “is an important achievement for the Republic of Cyprus. It is the tool for the protection and safeguarding of the name of the traditional Cypriot cheese and a brake on any attempt to usurp its reputation and commerciality”.
He added that at the moment, the European Commission is examining the technical files for Tertjiellouthkia, Rodostagma Agro and Cypriot Red Potato for registration of their name as a Protected Geographical Indication while, for Tellyria's Carpets, the single document has already been published by the Official Journal of the European Union and is in the period of submission of objections for the registration of its name as a Protected Geographical Indication.
He went on to say that the bill for the establishment of a system for awarding a Cypriot trademark is in the final stage of legal technical processing at the Legal Service. The Cypriot brand, said Mr. Xenophontos, “will give an additional boost to the Cypriot countryside, since it will effectively capture the origin of the products and give them a differentiated presence in the market, linked to the place of production and to the domestic raw material that was used to make them”.
The Minister of Agriculture expressed determination “to breathe new life into the agricultural sector, to chart a new path that meets the needs and addresses the real problems of our agri-food sector”.
“Our goal is to support rural communities, so that they remain vibrant centers of economic, social and cultural development, combining agriculture, tourism and the protection of our natural environment”, he said.
He suggested to hoteliers and restaurateurs how to include Cypriot traditional products in their products when hosting tourists, Cypriots and foreigners, such as zivania, soujouko, halloumi, pork, etc., which constitute the flag, the identity of our Cyprus abroad .
The objective of the forum is to help the cooperation of hoteliers, restaurant operators and distribution networks with producers and processors of Cypriot products in order to strengthen the effort to promote Cypriot products.
A parallel objective is to give the visitors of the island the opportunity to get to know the genuine products of the Cypriot diet – but also to support the tourism-related professional/craftsmanship activity.
The B2B Forum included meetings of the two parties at pre-arranged appointments while at the same time, speeches were held on relevant topics.
The event was held under the auspices of the Minister of Agriculture and was supported, among others, by the Deputy Ministry of Tourism and by the Associations PASYXE, STEK, PASYDIXE, PASIKA and by the Cyprus Chefs Association.< /p>