A WEST Somerset cheese could be gaining thousands of new customers around the world after a new EU funding programme was approved this month in the European Parliament.

Exmoor Blue benefits from EU Protected Geographical Indication status.

The scheme will fund programmes to promote high-quality agricultural products in Europe and in fast-growing economies.

It will see a major increase in funding from £51million across the EU in 2014 to £165million in 2020.

Somerset-based LibDem MEP Sir Graham Watson said: “This new scheme will give Somerset producers the opportunity to bring a taste of the levels and moors to the world.

“The European Parliament has today ensured that traditional products with European protected status, such as Somerset Cider Brandy and Exmoor Blue, which has to be made in West Somerset, will be given extra funding to boost their exports and win over new customers abroad.”