The Malta Independent 26 June 2022, Sunday

PN working on proposals to address farm land issues

Thursday, 5 August 2021, 17:40 Last update: about 12 months ago

Proposals to protect farmers and the land they farm are being worked on by the Nationalist Party, the PN said in a statement.

PN spokespersons Peter Agius and PN candidate Clifford Zahra Fenech have expressed their concerns over the future of around 40 farmers from Zejtun, after the land they have farmed for years could be taken away from them after a court ruling from November 2020.

"In order for there to be food at the tables of Maltese families, our country has to produce vegetables, fruit and meat in quantities", they said.

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The problem lies with land owners wanting to sell their land and the farmers wanting to continue farming the land, the PN said. "This cannot happen. If farmers do not have the backing of the government and don't have the land to farm, they would become redundant".

Agius and Zahra Fenech have met with the farmers affected by the court ruling.

Currently, there are 40 farmers who are at risk of losing the land they farm since an agreement was reached between the land owners. Farmer Jean Paul Fenech said that "in the coming months, even more farmers are going to end up in the same situation, since they are in contact with the land owners negotiating a way forward."

The price of the land proposed after the court ruling is determined on the demand for the land as well as the use of it, the PN statement read.. "The prices are surging exponentially and it is not viable for a farmer to buy the land", they said.

Agius and Zahra Fenech said that there is a way to "prevent farmers from losing their land through an intervention". They continued to say that if farmers would be ejected from their land, the effects would be devastating and a new generation of farmers could be lost.

"This has to happen in accordance to the European Union law", Agius said. PN would be initiating an urgent consultation on the matter with farmers and after proper analysis of the European Law, proposals would be made in order to remedy the situation.

Just recently, in a landmark judgement, the Agricultural leases board ordered the eviction of two farmers from a field which they were renting under a protected pre-1995 lease.

 


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