As part of a series of Citizens’ Consultations, under the theme ‘Għid Tiegħek Dwar l-Ewropa’, MEUSAC organised a public consultation focusing on the future of farming in Gozo. The meeting tackled various aspects and issues faced by Gozitan farmers and was ultimately meant to give citizens the opportunity to make their voice heard, and have their say about the future of farming in the EU.
The consultation was attended by a number of stakeholders representing different sections of the Gozitan agricultural sectors, including wine and dairy producers, full and part-time farmers, as well as Government representatives.
The discussion focused on various issues, including the marketing of local produce, the ability of local farmers to compete with their foreign counterparts in terms of products, scaremongering with regards to pesticides and fertilisers, and bureaucratic processes when it comes to applying for EU funds. Farmers also spoke out about the lack of young farmers entering the sector, and rising costs associated with production and transport of products.
Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, Fisheries and Animal Rights, Clint Camilleri, delivered a closing address, where he noted that the Maltese Government was working on a National Agricultural Policy. He also emphasised the need to make local products as attractive as imported ones, particularly through means of grading and ways of defining the quality of various products.
Minister for Gozo, Justyne Caruana noted that the citizens’ consultations were an effective exercise to help citizens voice their opinions on the future of farming and the EU. She also stated that Gozo will have its own rural directorate, which will seek to address the fragmentation in the agricultural sector, and help to empower this same sector as much as possible.
A similar event was held on September 5, in Rabat, this time with Maltese farmers.