Proposals of Maltese MEP adopted in Future of Food and Farming Report
Special consideration should be granted to farmers who face extra challenges due to specific constraints linked to less favoured areas such as islands and outermost regions to maintain farming activity in such areas. This was one of the various recommendations put forward by MEP Francis Zammit Dimech and which was adopted by the European Parliament's Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development. Such recommendations will now be included in a report on the Future of Food and Farming. This comes at an important time ahead of new EU Agricultural Policy which will determine EU funding for agriculture post 2020.
Zammit Dimech recalled how since being elected to the European Parliament, he has been asked by farmers to raise their concerns at EU level owing to the fact that no Maltese MEP is member of the European Parliament's Committee on Agriculture. Over the past weeks he met several farmers and producers to obtain their views. Zammit Dimech recalled how farmers have expressed disappointment with respect to delay for payments. In this regard he said that the new policy must make financing speeder, fairer and more efficient.
Zammit Dimech worked closely with the Rapporteur of the report Herbert Dorfmann who called for “the overall simplification of the regulatory jungle and to ease farmers paper work. Dorfmann emphasised that "the EPP model is to safeguard local food production in family farms all over Europe.”
Zammit Dimech recalled how young farmers also explained their difficulties to have access to terrain. He said that the next agricultural policy must better support young farmers to ensure the future of European food production. In this regard Zammit Dimech proposed support initiatives to help young farmers have access to terrain including succession planning. Zammit Dimech also spoke on the need to protect arable land from development. In this regard he recalled how agriculture terrain was constantly under threat and that if it wasn’t for Partit Nazzjonalista's Leader Adrian Delia’s effort, a big stretch of agricultural terrain at Bulebel in Malta would have been lost.
Farmers also called for the need to obtain a fair and equitable compensation for their produce and for a level playing field for all farmers including small family farmers. Zammit Dimech said strengthening the position of farmers in the food supply chain was crucial to ensure affordable prices for citizens and consumers and to promote a healthy diet.
Zammit Dimech said that together with his colleagues in the EPP Group, he will be working to ensure that current agricultural budget is increased or maintained to ensure that the objectives made will be reached. Zammit Dimech pledged to keep on listening to the concerns of farmers and be their voice at the European Parliament. He said that this weekend he will be once again in Gozo to listen to more farmers and producers.
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