The proportion of agricultural land farmed organically will increase from 0.6 per cent to five per cent by 2030, the agricultural minister has pledged.

Announcing Malta's first 'Organic Food Action Plan', Agriculture Minister Anton Refalo described the draft plan as “the first step” in setting up a sustainable and organic agricultural and aquacultural industry.

Organic farms are systems that use organic-based fertilizers such as compost manure and bone meal while also keeping to natural and biological modes of pest control.

The scope of the plan is to create a sustainable farming and aquaculture industry that offers high-quality local organic food while driving income for local producers, a draft of the plan reads. 

In line with the EU’s Green Deal proposals, the plan will see an “ambitious” increase in organic agricultural land, raising the amount of utilised agricultural space from 0.6 per cent to five per cent by 2030. 

The EU has pledged that by 2030, a quarter of the bloc's agricultural land will be used for organic farming. 

Planning for an organic future

The draft action plan is set upon three pillars, Organic and Sustainable Food Ambassador Sonya Sammut said. 

The first holds five objectives centred around setting an expandable base for the industry’s ecosystem such as increasing organic farmland and providing agricultural training and education. 

The second holds a single objective: “Ensure adequate institutions for organic production,” the draft reads. This includes assessments of the relevant authorities and further investments. 

The final pillar sets to increase visibility and accessibility for the sector by focusing on producers’ marketing, consumer awareness and developing short supply chains.

The benefits of such an action plan will see a wider scope of biodiversity and greater respect towards the environment and animals, Sammut said.

Refalo noted other recent political developments within the agriculture sector including changes to how agricultural land will be priced to allow farmers to rent land at fair and appropriate prices. 

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