Agriculture in the Maltese Islands
Posted On April 3, 2021
Report on Agriculture
The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Food and Animal Rights launched an initiative in November 2020, whereby it asked local entities to provide feedback on the present situation of agriculture in the Maltese islands.
MaYA has urged its supporters and general public to participate in the initiative. Through its network, participants provided their feedback. A brief report may be downloaded here.
One of the authors of this report is Melvyn Mangion.
Background of MaYA
In March 2012, Jeanette Borg was invited to attend a DG Agri press trip in Estonia and Latvia. She did so together with a small group of agri-journalists from across the EU. Jeanette was introduced to a young farmer who also represented a local Estonian organisation supporting youth. While he was mentioning problems that were afflicting their members – such as insularity and lack of representation, Jeanette immediately saw similarities with the situation back at home. This got her thinking and spent the rest of the trip musing about her discussions with this young farmer.
Back in Malta, Jeanette approached two of her past MCAST students John Gauci and Karl Scerri. She recounted what she had just learnt, and had a meaningful discussion about the potential of agriculture in Malta. It was agreed that young farmers are key to sustainable food production in Malta. Unless agriculture regenerates its workforce, it will become a dying trade. That was the dawn of a new era for youth in agriculture in the Maltese islands, and the birth of the MaYA Foundation.
Since Malta joined the EU in 2004, farming took a different shape. Malta‘s farming is still small-scale and traditional but connectivity and globalisation have changed many aspects of the food chain. Many ask if there are still any young farmers in the Maltese Islands. The answer is a resounding yes! However, youth in Malta and Gozo need to be given much more support and credit. This especially in a society that has been detached from the realities of what it takes to cultivate land, rearing livestock and producing our food.
Building Bridges in Agriculture
The foundation has been set up to address these needs, and to build bridges between young farmers, government entities and the general public, thus giving agriculture a broader scope. Our hope is to achieve the foundation’s objectives by staying close to young farmers, and by being their voice with decision-makers and the local community.
The organisational structure of MaYA is that of a registered Foundation. The scope of the Foundation is to have a holistic overview of the whole agricultural sector in the Maltese Islands. This varies from production to consumption, and with a broad view of the economic, environmental and social impacts.
Unlike other organisations where specific individual members’ interests are represented under one name, the Foundation aims to gather its insight from a vast spectrum of Supporters . They are not directly benefiting personally from the affiliation and work carried out. However, by means of this giving approach, the different segments which make up the islands’ agriculture sector, and their different stakeholders, are supported through a bottom-up approach. This is done without bias towards specific sectors or individuals and allows for apolitical, independent and autonomous actions.