EARLY THIS NOVEMBER 2017 GULF AGRICULTURE MANAGING EDITOR MATT VISITED CYPRUS TO EXPLORE THE BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES AVAILABLE IN THE CYPRIOT AGRICULTURE, AQUACULTURE, FOOD AND BEVERAGE INDUSTRY FOR THE BUYERS OF GULF AND THE MIDDLE EAST. HE VISITED MANY COMPANIES BASED IN LIMASSOL AND NICOSIA, SPECIALISED IN DAIRY PRODUCTS, HALLOUMI CHEESE, FRUITS AND FRESH VEGETABLES. THE TRIP WAS ORGANISED BY CYPRUS TRADE CENTRE, EMBASSY OF THE REPUBLIC OF CYPRUS IN DUBAI.
The third smallest country in the EU after Luxembourg and Malta, Cyprus’ agricultural sector is small in comparison to its European neighbours. The success achieved in marketing and promoting halloumi cheese as an international brand demonstrates that the island can establish a unique identity for its products: the challenge now is to repeat this success with the island’s other agricultural products such as olive oil, fruits and vegetables.
Indeed, some 44 per cent of Cyprus’ agricultural output derives from crop protection, which apart from the export products of potatoes, oranges, lemons, mandarins, grapefruit and grapes, also includes cereals which are a main source of fodder for the island’s livestock farmers.
According to a latest report, Cyprus’ agricultural share of total domestic exports is around 13.4%, and it is quintessentially Mediterranean with health-promoting foods such as citrus fruit, vegetables, grapes and potatoes. As for processed agricultural goods, Cyprus’ key exports are halloumi, fruit and vegetable juices and meats.
The island’s famous halloumi cheese has become one of the top export products for Cyprus. The country has a rich gastronomical history, and halloumi – with its rich flavour and particular texture – constitutes a cornerstone of Cypriot cuisine.
Aquaculture products are the third most important produce in Cyprus, in terms of export value. Specifically, these products are sea bass and sea bream and approximately 65% of the total national production is exported to markets in Middle Eastern countries and the USA. The aquaculture sector represents about 75-80% both in terms of volume and value of the total national fisheries production, and the total national aquaculture value for 2015 reached Euro 39.2 million .
The traditional markets for Cypriot citrus products have been Russia and the United Kingdom, both enthusiastic consumers of oranges, tangerines and mandora, a cross between a mandarin and an orange. Agricultural exports to the EU constitute around 64.2%, while other European countries 16.7% and Asia 16.2%.