Former Prime Minister Alfred Sant said Gozitan and Maltese livestock farmers need the support of the Maltese government to ensure continuity of their operations in milk production which have been facing unbalanced competition since Malta joined the EU. While Gozitan and Maltese holdings are necessarily small scale, their European competitors operate out of large scale farms that provide them with unbeatable economies of scale.

The Maltese MEP visited a livestock farm in Kerċem Gozo where Mr Salvu Tabone and his family have been rearing cows for milk production over the years. Mr Tabone manages over 100 cows in his farm. Costs for the maintenance of the farm and animal feed costs have increased considerably over the past years. Feed accounts for 50-70% of the total costs in animal production.

The number of cows in this farm has been reduced by one quarter over the past four years.

“Society must ensure the survival of livestock farms across Malta and Gozo. It is very worrying that our livestock farmers continuously ask themselves whether it makes sense to continue livestock production in their farms.” remarked the Maltese MEP.

The Maltese MEP told Mr Tabone he will make his utmost to help farmers continue receive assistance through EU funds which provide incentives for farmers to maintain current levels of production in sectors or regions where specific types of farming or specific agricultural sectors particularly important for economic, social or environmental reasons undergo certain difficulties.

Maltese Version – IR-RAĦĦALA JEĦTIEĠU APPOĠĠ SĦIĦ BIEX IKOMPLU BIL-ĦIDMA TAGĦHOM

Waqt żjara f’razzett tal-baqar f’Ta’ Kerċem Għawdex, Alfred Sant qal li r-raħħala Għawdxin u Maltin jeħtieġu appoġġ sħiħ mill-Gvern biex ikun żgurat ħidmiethom fil-produzzjoni tal-ħalib. Ir-raħħala qed jaffaċċjaw kompetizzjoni żbilanċjata minn mindu Malta ngħaqdet mal-UE. Filwaqt li r-raħħala Għawdxin u Maltin jaħdmu fuq skala żgħira ħafna, il-kompetituri Ewropej tagħhom għandhom azjendi agrikoli fuq skala ferm akbar li jippermettulhom joħorġu bi prezzijiet aħjar.

Alfred Sant iltaqa’ mas-Sur Salvu Tabone u l-familja tiegħu li ilhom irabbu l-baqar għal produzzjoni tal-ħalib għal bosta snin. Tabone irabbi madwar mitt baqra fir-razzett tiegħu . L-ispejjeż tar-razzett u tal-għalf tal-annimali żdiedu ferm f’dawn l-aħħar snin. L-għalf jammonta għal 50-70% tal-ispejjeż totali fil-produzzjoni tal-annimali.

In-numru ta’ baqar fir-razzett tiegħu naqas bi kwart f’dawn l-aħħar erba’ snin.

Alfred Sant qal li se jagħmel l-għalmu tiegħu biex jgħin lir-raħħala Għawdxin u Maltin jirċievu l-għajnuna bl-użu ta’ fondi Ewropej li jipprovdu inċentivi għal bdiewa u r-raħħala biex imantnu l-livelli attwali tal-produzzjoni f’setturi jew reġjuni speċifiċi fejn għal raġunijiet ekonomiċi, soċjali jew ambjentali jgħaddu minn ċerti diffikultajiet.

“Is-soċjeta` tagħna għandha tiżgura li l-irziezet tal-bhejjem madwar Malta u Għawdex jibqgħu fuq saqajhom. Huwa inkwetanti ħafna li l-bdiewa tal-bhejjem tagħna kontinwament jistaqsu lilhom infushom jekk jagħmilx sens li jkomplu fil-ħidma tal-produzzjoni tal-bhejjem fl-irziezet tagħhom.” qal Alfred Sant.