The Partit Nazzjonalista have proposed using EU regulations to effectively market Maltese produce for exportation purposes. Something which, according to the PN, the Government have never used despite them being in place for the last six years. The Government countered meanwhile by breaking down 2018’s national strategy for the sector.
In a statement, the PN announced a set of proposals which they say will aid in the sustainability and promotion is local produce, as discussed with farmer and villager organisations. PN Leader Adrian Delia said that these producers need to be helped “so they can grow and their product is strengthened.”
Delia said that the PN considers this sector as one which can contribute to Maltese economy and society. “Unlike the Government who made it clear in the last budget that farmers and villagers do not contribute anything to the economy,” said the Opposition Leader. Speaking of EU tools for the promotion of local produce for exportation, the PN have proposed using these tools and regulations to improve promotion of local produce thereby allowing the sector to grow, with Maltese farmers competing in an open market.
This was followed by statistics showing the population has increased by 14%, whereas sales at the wholesale market are down by 20% in Malta and 30% in Gozo, with farmers’ profits going down by 9% last year.
The PN will be holding meetings with farmers to explain the proposals in practise, with the first meetings on the 23rd February in Gozo and the 1st March in Malta.
In a reactionary statement, the Parliamentary Secretariat for Farming said that the Government has clearly shown that it is committed to strengthen the farming sector when considering a publication of the first national strategy for the sector in 2018. It was said that nowadays, when compared to past legislatures, people within the sector finally have a vision.It was explained that the national strategy was discussed with all stakeholders and is a 10-year strategy.
This shall address a number of hurdles including changes needed in legislation about the consolidation of land; the use of ‘New Water’ for irrigation; ensuring fair profit margins for farmers further incentivising youth employment in the sector; raising awareness for the use of technology; as well as expanding on the ‘Extension Services’ to aid workers in the sector to have the best practices.