An agriculture expert has underlined the need for immediate action unless Malta is to end up shorn of any crop growers within 15 years.
"I think if the current trends continue we will not have any full-time farmers in 15 to 20 years. We will have land owners doing something with arable land. There's a shift of farmers who are working the land... to building it… or using fields to have a barbeque with the family. Do we want that? Or do we use those 10,000 hectares to feed the people," said agriculture expert Malcolm Borg.
Mr Borg recently launched the Għaqda Bdiewa Attivi, lamenting that for too long farmers been left to their own devices, battling higher customer expectations and stricter regulations with very limited technical assistance.
Speaking on Times Talk, he said the government and the policy owners need to take a strategic decision.
"What are we going to do with our rural areas? Do we want farmers growing food or use it for speculation," he said, pointing to the worrying trend where farmers are shutting shop and going into the construction industry.
He warned that Malta cannot rely entirely on importing produce from neighbouring Sicily, as evidenced recently when stormy weather resulted in empty shelves in supermarkets.
But he also pointed out on the need for farmers to update their work methods and start marketing and producing differently to meet the demand.
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