Taş Değirmen Olive Oil became the first processed food product to be sold through the Green Line.
EZKOOP's "Taş Değirmen Olive Oil" succeeded to be the first processed food product to be sold through the Green Line to the Republic of Cyprus. Sold under its original Turkish name "Taş Değirmen" (aka Stone Mill), the olive oil was the first product to successfully meet the EU Food Codex requirements and cross to the south of the island, through the Green Line Trade Regulation.
Since 1974 the ceasefire line (referred to as the "Green Line") has separated the two parts of the island. Green Line Regulation (2004) sets out the terms under which persons and goods can cross this line from the 'non-government-controlled areas' into the 'government-controlled areas'. A selected list of processed food products were recently allowed to cross from the north of the island to the south, including olive oil.
Following the successful transaction on June 28, a press conference was held by EZKOOP to present the story of the two cooperatives, Shopkeepers Artisans and Producers's Cooperative (EZKOOP) and the Buyukkonuk Olive Producers Agricultural Cooperative (Olive Coop), which were established as part of an EU supported clustering project. EZKOOP President Hürrem Tulga, explained the processes the cooperatives underwent up until the successful trading of the products through the Green Line and underlined the necessity of focusing on quality and the importance of incentives for the development of cooperatives. Clustering feasibility studies first started in 2015 with the technical support of the EU TAPS Project, and intensive technical studies were carried out to revive the cooperatives in the northern part of Cyprus. Following the positive results of the feasibility studies, EZKOOP and Olive Coop were established in 2017.
Ersun Aytaç, Secretary General of EZKOOP, said, "This success, has been achieved as a result of great efforts and has once again revealed the important role of cooperatives in developing agricultural production. Taş Değirmen Olive Oil is produced in cooperation with 200 producers and with the support of technical experts and cooperative managers. We are extremely happy to be the first olive oil brand to be sold to the Republic of Cyprus via the Green Line. This is only the beginning".
In her statement, EZKOOP's Marketing and Business Development Manager Niyal Öztürk said that "Our focus on producing high quality olive oil has paid off. Taş Değirmen was the first olive oil to be exported to the UK and Australia from the northern part of Cyprus.
We have always believed that if we produce high quality olive oil and made sure that all EU regulative requirements were met from ahead, we would not face any difficulty in trading our product through the Green Line. Therefore, as soon as processed food products were allowed through the Green Line, Taş Değirmen Olive Oil passed through without any obstacle".