Following a shocking revelation that Malta was facing a major food shortage crisis last year, a leading farming lobby group has urged the authorities to use the scare as a wake-up call.
“Perhaps now we’ve begun to understand the strategic importance of Malta’s food production sector,” Għaqda Bdiewa Attivi said.
“Perhaps now we’ve begun to understand how essential it is to safeguard food security and prioritise farmers, herdsmen and fishermen.”
“Perhaps now we’ve begun to understand that private and state-owned fields should be entrusted to farmers so they can grow food for the Maltese people.”
“When we ruin fields for projects like roads, we’re compromising Malta’s capability to produce food for its own people. Shading fields with solar panels will render fields non-productive.”
Interviewed on Newsbook today, Finance Minister Clyde Caruana admitted the government was terrified at the potential implications of a strike threat at the Port of Genoa last year.
“My blood ran cold when we were discussing Malta’s food supply [between April and May 2020],” Caruana, who back then was the Prime Minister’s head of secretariat, said.
“We import most of our food and a lot of it comes from Italy, but workers in the Port of Genoa were planning to go on strike because they were getting infected with COVID-19 and wanted a raise.”
“However the management refused and they threatened a prolonged strike. Had the Port of Genoa shut down, a substantial amount of food that’s imported to Malta wouldn’t have come
“We all know how toilet paper used to fly off the shelves [at the start of the pandemic] and I remember the Prime Minister and I staring at each other and wondering what would happen if this port were to shut down, word were to spread, and people were to start panicking.”
While food importers and supermarkets assured Caruana that Malta had enough food stock to sustain its people for three months and that they were contacting other countries to reach contingency plans, he said the threat got him thinking.
Photo left: Għaqda Bdiewa Attivi, Photo right: Għaqda Bdiewa Attivi coordinator Malcolm Borg
Should Malta prioritise its farmers more?