The Malta Independent 17 December 2017, Sunday

Friends of the Earth Malta launches agro-report highlighting local produce market

Thursday, 12 October 2017, 19:41 Last update: about 3 months ago

Friends of the Earth Malta, a local environmental NGO, launched its 'AgroKatina' report aiming to give an overview and "deeper understanding" of the local fruit and vegetable market, hoping this can inform people on where to get locally sourced products.

"Friends of the Earth Malta strongly believes in shorter supply chains, as these have a positive impact on local farmers, strengthen local economies and small business, and bring the public closer to their food sources.

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"We hope that the report can contribute to a deeper appreciation of local produce and agriculture, and a stronger integration of agricultural policies with interlinked topics, such as water, biodiversity, natural habitats, health and better quality of life."

Apart from being informative, it is also a shopping guide for customers detailing where one can find locally produced fruits and vegetables.

The launch brought together NGOs, academics, farmers and hospitality stakeholders to discuss the findings and recommendations. The report includes an extensive list of recommendations, such as urging farmers to switch to crops with a higher value added, such as olive oil rather than cabbage and cauliflower.

It calls for a more focused strategy to attract agro-tourism, and recommended that government creates a scheme whereby it offers land, being the largest owner of agricultural land, to keen young farmers. More farmers retire than enter the industry.

Other such recommendations include improving the packaging of local produce, and launching an educational campaign on agriculture. Onto issues of water conservation, one recommendation called for collaboration between farmers to use water more efficiently and minimise the effects of droughts.

Suzanne Maas, project coordinator at Friends of the Earth Malta said, "Friends of the Earth Malta strongly believes in shorter supply chains, as these have a positive impact on local farmers, strengthen local economies and small business and bring the public closer to their food sources."

Martin Galea De Giovanni, director at Friends of the Earth Malta said"Friends of the Earth Malta hopes the Agro Katina research, and this report in particular, can contribute to a deeper appreciation of local produce and agriculture, and a stronger integration of agricultural policies with interlinked topics, such as water, biodiversity, natural habitats, health and better quality of life."

Read the full report here


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