The Cyprus Cheesemakers Association has made a unanimous decision to shutter all cheese dairies starting January 10, 2024, following a protracted disagreement with government authorities over regulatory changes.
In the wake of a two-month impasse and failed negotiations with the Ministry of Energy, Trade and Industry, and the Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment, the association’s board took the drastic decision to halt operations.
The conflict arose from a decree issued on October 20 unilaterally mandating a minimum of 19% of sheep and goat milk in the production of halloumi, a move disputed by the association. The disagreement revolves around the erroneous application of the 19% figure to all dairy products, rather than specifically to halloumi, as agreed upon in the framework.
With exports totaling close to 1 billion euros, the association, representing a sector integral to the Cypriot economy, stresses its commitment to preserving jobs and sustaining the halloumi industry. Efforts to find a consensual solution, including reverting to the agreed-upon 10% actual percentage, have proven unsuccessful.