Farmers, particularly from Kerċem in Gozo, are being drowned in bureaucracy to apply both for local permits, or EU funding, when it comes to maintaining their farms and making a living.
Some farmers lost their greenhouses to adverse weather years ago and still haven’t managed to fix the damage which also affects their product yield and profit margins. In fact, three men spoke to Newsbook.com.mt just last week about the issues that local farming has to deal with, including having to directly compete with imports.
PN MEP candidate, Peter Agius, posted on Facebook this morning after meeting Gozitan farmers to discuss possibly ways forward. He suggested that planning permits need to be facilitated, and fees eliminated for farming; as well as guaranteeing replies about European funding within 6 months.
Agius turned his attention towards the Government in his post saying that the only way for this to happen would be to have dedicated officials who consider farming a priority,rather than emphasising that “it doesn’t contribute to the Gross Domestic Product”, as Finance Minister Edward Scicluna said in his Budget 2019 speech.