Malta CAP Conference Highlights Future Challenges for Agricultural Policy

A conference on the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) and its impact in Malta took place in Victoria – Gozo on 7-9 November 2008. The conference aimed to discuss the contribution of the CAP to sustainable growth by analysing the reformed policy at European and national level, and by presenting specific cases, experiences and good practices carried out in several EU countries.

The conference was opened by the Maltese Minister for Resources and Rural Affairs and the Environment, George Pullicino, who presented an overview of Maltese agriculture policy and CAP allocations. He mentioned that Malta is active in the Health Check debate, and is keen to modernise the CAP and promote sustainable agriculture. Aware of the implications of agriculture on climate change – the effects of which are expected to be particularly dangerous in the Mediterranean countries – Minister Pullicino announced that the Maltese government is preparing an economic analysis of the impacts of agriculture on the environment and the budget needed to reduce these effects. The findings will help to shape the Maltese strategy and position on EU budget reform.

The difficulties of regulating and modernising small farms, retaining young farmers, increasing environmental awareness among producers and consumers, and developing the importance of branding local products – also in light of the recent Green Paper on agriculture product quality - were highlighted by a number of speakers. These issues are likely to play an important role in the future of Maltese agriculture policy. Among the key environmental challenges, Maltese agriculture policy will have to tackle the issue of the over-exploitation of water and the excessive use of pesticides and fertilisers leading to high concentrations on nitrates in water and soil.

The event was organised by Gozitano Agri Coop, a Maltese farmers’ association, in partnership with ten organisations from a number of Member States, including the UK National Farmers Union. It was co-financed by the European Commission DG Agriculture, the Malta EU Steering & Action Committee and the Bank of Valletta. Among the speakers, a number of experts of CAP and environmental policy, representatives of farmers associations, university researchers, Maltese officers and farmer advisors from several Member States took the floor. Samuela Bassi from IEEP presented some insights on Payments for Environmental Services (PES), their relevance to support sustainable agriculture and their relevance to the CAP.

A third conference on the outcomes of the Health Check and the ongoing EU Budget Review is expected to take place next year in Malta.

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PUBLICATION DATE

28 Nov 2008

AUTHOR

Samuela Bassi, IEEP

FURTHER INFORMATION

The Institute for European Environmental Policy coordinates CAP2020. It is an independent not for profit institute which undertakes research in a number of policy areas including agriculture and rural development.