The coronavirus pandemic has lumbered the Mediterranean island of Cyprus with a 6 million kilogram stockpile of its prized white halloumi cheese.
Demand crumbled for the island’s biggest export over the past year due to COVID-19 lockdowns across Europe which shut down the hospitality sector and impacted tourism.
In response, Cypriot Commerce Minister, Natas Pilides, said the Cypriot government is mobilising its embassies abroad to help shift the backlog of halloumi to other markets.
“Through the foreign ministry, we have contacted all the embassies to help dispose of stocks through bilateral arrangements,” Ms Pilides said.
Although cheesemakers said exports are picking up, they are selling fresher products because if they unloaded old stock to regular clients the prices would slump.
In April, the European Union registered halloumi as a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) after a seven-year campaign.
This means halloumi stocks produced before October 1 cannot carry the EU’s PDO brand, which is why authorities are also seeking markets outside the bloc.
In the longer term, and despite the pandemic, securing the PDO registration is expected to boost halloumi exports.
Source: ABC News.