Sheep and goat breeders, the dairy cow breeders, the cheesemakers/industry units, the halloumi cheese exporters, the extension services of the Ministry of Agriculture, the scientific community and the technical committee on the PDO specifications for halloumi cheese are involved in the debate on halloumi cheese consistency and certification. The legal authorities have also taken part in the tension with several decrees issued from the 1980s till today.
The halloumi cheese, which is the main traditional cheese in Cyprus made from sheep and goat milk for centuries, and which, after the 1970s, has been improperly made mainly with cow milk due to its great increase in production (due to the use of the exotic Holstein-Friesian breed, Artificial Insemination, and the development of large scale, intensive dairy cow farm units), a powerful dairy cow breeders’ association and virtually no seasonal variation in milk production within the year.
The sheep and goat breeders generally do not interact or directly communicate with the cow breeders. Some communication exists among the sheep and goat breeders and with the cheesemakers/dairy industry. The extension services and scientists working in the public domain, along with other interested parties in the Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Commerce, usually serve as liaisons, having separate meetings with each group to try to resolve the issues or reach a compromise among them.
The pending (and presumably soon to be accepted) PDO application for the halloumi cheese may serve as a (last) moment/opportunity for discussion of the issues, within the public domain, for reaching a compromise among stakeholders and for securing the interests of the different parties. The Ministry of Agriculture officers could facilitate mediation, even though they have not succeeded in the past.
Perhaps if a marketing plan for the non-halloumi cheese made from cow milk were to be explored scientifically, then it could alleviate some of the concerns of the cow breeders. Additionally, research on alternative cheese products from cow milk would be useful. Finally, continuation and expansion of genetic and reproductive improvement of local sheep and goat breeds to a larger scale, along with scientifically directed promotion of the traditional halloumi cheese, would certainly serve the sheep and goat breeders well.