Maltese MEP Alfred Sant encouraged Maltese farmers to pursue EU funds which as from 2021 could be utilised for projects facilitating the sales of their agricultural products across Malta and Gozo when visiting the Pitkali Market Centre in Ta’ Qali. Local grown fruit and vegetables are deposited by Maltese and Gozitan farmers in this market and sold to licensed hawkers through middlemen . The Maltese MEP promised the farmers he will be assisting them in applying for EU funds related to Small and Medium industries (SMEs) to secure their competitivity in the local markets which is being inundated with imported vegetables and fruits.
Directors of the The Farmers’ Central Co-operative Society Limited (F.C.C.S. Ltd.) welcomed the Maltese MEP and told him that 80% of consumed vegetables and fruits are being imported locally from nearby EU countries with Maltese and Gozitan farmers catering for the remaining 20%. The farmers said they are not affected with the importation of fruit like banana, pears, grapes, apples in the winter season, but complained they face unfair competition with the importation of vegetables like cauliflower, marrows, lettuce, cabbages, broccoli, tomatoes and fruit, especially strawberries, in the high season. In certain instances imported vegetables and fruit are even sold as local produce which is not allowed by law. Farmers argued that local vegetables and fruit should be clearly identifiable for the attention of customers to avoid this abuse.
“Foreign and local vegetable importers first check on our prices at Ta’ Qali and then price their imported vegetables in the main supermarkets. These importers are only interested in their profits and do not belong to the farming community. The Maltese and Gozitan farming community is dying a natural death. Our children are not interested in working our fields. It doesn’t pay anymore to be a farmer. EU common rules on agriculture sounded the death knell for Maltese agriculture”, one farmer told the Maltese MEP.
F.C.C.S Ltd Directors told Dr Sant they cannot access EU funds as a Cooperative because of EU Competition rules. The Maltese MEP advised them to employ a professional Manager with the necessary skills to apply for such EU funds on the farmers’ behalf.
“Farmers should concentrate on production in their fields and investment proposals to the EU or other bodies should be handled by professionals preferably with an agricultural background. I will offer all my assistance and help in Brussels to Maltese and Gozitan farmers to overcome the bureacratic hurdles connected to such applications.” Alfred Sant said.
“To make matters worse”, farmers told Alfred Sant, “this weekend’s storm has created havoc in our fields with damages amounting to thousands of euros.”
The Farmers’ Central Co-operative Society Limited (F.C.C.S. Ltd.) represents over 1000 farmers across Malta and Gozo and is one of the oldest co-operatives in Malta. Mr John Gauci, President, Mr Vincent Camilleri, Vice President and Ms Frances Busuttil, Company Secretary and Mr Joseph Cassar, Manager toured the Maltese MEP around various farmers’ posts.

Maltese Version – ALFRED SANT SE JGĦIN BDIEWA MALTIN U GĦAWDXIN JAPPLIKAW GĦAL FONDI EWROPEJ

Alfred Sant ħeġġeġ bdiewa Maltin u Għawdxin japplikaw għal fondi Ewropej mis-sena 2021 li jistgħu jiffaċilitaw il-bejgħ tal-prodotti agrikoli tagħhom fis-suq lokali meta żar il-Pitkalija f’Ta’ Qali. Dr Sant wiegħed lill-bdiewa li se jkun qed jgħinhom biex japplikaw għal fondi tal-UE marbuta mal-Industriji żgħar u medji (SMEs) biex ikunu kompetittivi fis-suq lokali li huwa mifqugħ bil-ħaxix u frott importat. Ħxejjex u frott tal-bdiewa f’Malta u f’Għawdex jinbigħu minn dan is-suq lil bejjiegħa liċenzjati.
Id-Diretturi tal-Kooperattiva Ċentrali tal-Bdiewa (F.C.C.S Ltd) laqgħu lil Alfred Sant u spjegawlu li 80% tal-ħaxix u frott mibjugħ lokalment illum huwa importat minn pajjiżi ġirien tal-UE. Il-bdiewa Maltin u Għawdxin jipprovdu 20% tas-suq lokali. Il-bdiewa qalu li mhumiex affettwati bl-importazzjoni ta’ frott bħal banana, għeneb, lanġas fix-xitwa, imma ilmentaw b’kompetizzjoni inġusta bl-importazzjoni ta’ pastard, qaragħbali, kaboċċi, ħass, brokkoli, tadam u frott, speċjalment frawli, fl-aqwa tal-istaġun. Qed ikun hemm drabi meta ħaxix u frott importat qed jinbigħ bħala prodott lokali, li hu abbuż kontra l-liġi. Il-bdiewa qalu li l-ħaxix u frott lokali għandu jkun immarkat ċar biex ikun evitat dan l-abbuż.
“L-importaturi barranin u Maltin tal-ħaxix u l-frott l-ewwel jaraw il-prezz tagħna imbagħad jagħżlu l-prezz tagħhom biex ibigħu l-prodotti importati mis-supermarkets. Dawn l-importaturi huma interessati biss fil-profitti u mhumiex parti mill-komunita` agrarja tagħna. Il-biedja f’Malta qed tmut mewta naturali. Uliedna ma jridux ikomplu jaħdmu l-għelieqi. Ma jaqbilx li tkun bidwi illum. Ir-regoli tal-UE kienu d-daqqa tal-mewt għall-agrikoltura f’Malta u f’Għawdex,” qal bidwi lil Alfred Sant.
“Biex tiġina agħar,” bdiewa qalu lil Alfred Sant, “il-grigalata ta’ tmiem il-ġimgħa ħalliet ħerba fl-għelieqi tagħna li swietna eluf kbar ta’ ewro.”
Id-Diretturi tal-Kooperattiva qalu lil Alfred Sant li minħabba r-regoli tal-Kompetizzjoni tal-UE ma jistgħux japplikaw għal fondi Ewropej bħala Kooperattiva. Alfred Sant tahom parir biex jimpjegaw Manager Professjonali bil-ħiliet meħtieġa biex japplikalhom għall-fondi Ewropej.
“Il-bdiewa għandhom jikkonċentraw fuq il-produzzjoni agrarja fl-għelieqi tagħhom waqt li proposti ta’ investiment lill-UE u mkejjen oħra ikunu f’idejn professjonisti idealment bi sfond agrarju. Se noffri l-għajnuna kollha tiegħi biex minn Brussell ngħin lill-bdiewa Maltin u Għawdxin jegħlbu kull xkiel burokratiku marbut ma’ dawn l-applikazzjonijiet.” qal Alfred Sant.
Il-Kooperattiva Ċentrali tal-Bdiewa, li tirrapreżenta aktar minn 1000 bidwi f’Malta u f’Għawdex, hija waħda mill-eqdem kooperattivi f’Malta. Is-Sur John Gauci, President, is-Sur Vincent Camileri, Viċi President, Ms Frances Busuttil, Segretarja tal-Kumpanija u s-Sur Joseph Cassar, Manager dawru lil Dr Sant ma’ diversi postijiet tal-bejgħ tal-prodotti agrikoli.