The Malta Independent 11 December 2018, Tuesday

PD calls for ‘sustainable reform in agriculture implemented by national strategy ‘

Wednesday, 21 November 2018, 10:34 Last update: about 20 days ago

Malta lacks food security and has to import its daily food supply. It is evident that successive governments have failed to address core and pertinent issues effectively so that our relatively small scale production be better branded as ‘Prodott Malti’, Partit Demokratiku said in a statement.

PD leader Godfrey Farrugia called for ‘sustainable reform implemented in a revisited National Strategy’.

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Partit Demokratiku said it recently met Għaqda Bdiewa Attivi to map a way forward and fix this broken system. Its president, Malcolm Borg, told the party that we need to ‘educate before we regulate and implement positive measures by reducing risks through meaningful reforms’.

PD’s representative Marcus Lauri noted that ‘the present system is one that is conducive towards leisure farming and full time farmers are on the decrease as their earnings have drastically decreased not due to unfair competition but because Malta has not geared itself to optimize its output in this sector.’

PD called for an immediate reform that addresses:

1) Transparency and traceability of agriculture products down the supply chain. This will ensure that the consumer will get clean food, assist in having pesticide-free local fresh produce and provide adequate earnings to farmers.

2) Transfer of government agricultural land must no longer remain vertical but the Lands Authority has to open a new avenue and regulate that the transfer of such land can also be done horizontally from one farmer to another.

3) The Planning Authority must immediately revisit its Rural Policy to favour ‘il-bidwi’, protect and enrich our soil, and to effectively enforce the guardianship of our agriculture land .

4) Demonstration farming through the Experimental Farm at Għammieri must be more widely accessible and farmers have to be guided by researched forecasts to rotate crops in favour of market demands and climate change.

5) A water supply strategy that provides new water to all agricultural areas all over Malta and support water storage facilities.

6) Support local food produce through grading as this is what the consumer market is demanding, and introduce the middle industry for grade C products.

Partit Demokratiku attests that fresh green local produce is much healthier than imported packed products and notes that the difficulties faced by professional farmers have been made endless due to bureaucracy and not solely because we are an EU member state.

 

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