‘20% decrease in produce in Malta, 35% in Gozo’ – Vassallo

The Partit Nazzjonalista spokesperson for Farming and Fishing pointed out that there is a 20% and 35% reduction in local produce production in Malta and Gozo respectively. It was also said that farmers are currently going bankrupt and everyone will suffer due to a lack of fresh local produce.

PN MP Edwin Vassallo said this during a press conference where the PN announced studied proposals to turn the Maltese farming situation around. Vassallo explained that farmers’ earnings went down by 9% from last year.

He added that as “the house business survey indicated that around 70% of fruit and vegetables being consumed by the Maltese is imported”. Vassallo explained the public information from the National Statistics Office regarding the wholesale market (pitkalija) show a decrease in local products of 20% in Malta and 35% in Gozo, while the population increased by 14% within the same time frame.

The PN explained in their statement that their proposals were studied in detail to be compatible with European law while permitting promotion of local produce providing technical assistance to the farmers’ and villagers’ organisations, and production schemes of seasonal, fresh and environmentally sustainable produce. The PN also proposed using European facilities to promote local produce in other countries, which the Government has never used and can be part of the solution to get Maltese farming back on its feet.

Meanwhile, MEP Candidate Peter Agius explained how “farmers and villagers in Malta are moving towards extinction due to the Government’s carelessness both in the application of EU funds, as well as because of not using European tools created specifically for the promotion of local produce.” He insisted that Malta is the only EU Member State which hasn’t used these funds.

The two speakers concluded by saying they believe that the Maltese consumer will be the one suffering if the country depends solely on imported products. They insisted that Maltese farming has a lot to offer and politics needs to do its part so farmers can face an open and competitive market.