PRESS RELEASE ISSUED BY THE PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARIAT FOR THE EU PRESIDENCY 2017 AND EU FUNDS AND THE PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARIAT FOR AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND ANIMAL RIGHTS

Parliamentary Secretary Ian Borg announces the measure for Investments in Agriculture with a total investment of Euros 25 million aimed at supporting agricultural holdings within the Rural Development Programme (RDP) for Malta 2014-2020

Parliamentary Secretary for the EU Presidency 2017 and EU Funds Ian Borg announced the measure aimed at supporting agricultural holdings to invest in cost-effective and environmentally efficient systems. Beneficiaries can include farmers or groups of farmers.

Ian Borg stated that this sub-measure (M4.1 of the RDP) has an allocation of Euros 25m and it is expected that over 200 farmers will receive grants that can reach up to Euros 150,000 per farmer, with an aid intensity of 50%. This measure will be complementing the three measures announced earlier this year, where Euros 30 million were committed for farmers working agricultural land in accordance with specific agricultural practices that respect and support the environment.

The support under this operation will include on-farm support for investments in more efficient equipment, improvements aimed at both reducing energy consumption as well as capturing and storage of energy, and investments in agricultural waste management. Investments in water harvesting, such as new water reservoirs (?iebja) as well as investments in improved crop storage or other activities to improve the quality of the product, are also eligible.

The measure also supports the construction, acquisition as well as improvements to immovable agricultural property; this may include buildings for specialised handling, storage, provision of ventilation, insulation and refrigeration.

In order to ensure maximum transparency and a level playing field for all, potential beneficiaries are being given a two month period so that they can adequately prepare for submission of their project proposals. Beneficiaries will be selected through a competitive procedure and applications will be received in the first weeks of January 2017. An open rolling-call system will be adopted with periodical selection stages.

All potential beneficiaries are reminded that eligible expenditure can only be committed to after the signing of an agreement between the farmer and the Managing Authority within the Funds and Programmes Division, Ministry for European Affairs and Implementation of the Electoral Manifesto.

Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, Fisheries and Animal Rights Roderick Galdes stated that this measure will ensure that farmers and livestock growers will be able to increase efficiency in their farms. This will ensure development in production and therefore strengthen competitiveness in the agricultural sector, as well as ensure sustainability in the use of natural resourses. It is for these reasons, he continued to say, that “I encourage farmers and livestock growers to make the most out of this investment and apply”.

Parliamentary Secretary Ian Borg concluded that the local agricultural sector is looking forward to such support to enable farmers in carrying out much needed investments in this competitive sector. It is therefore expected that this rural development measure will generate significant interest and, as such, this augurs well for the future of the Maltese agricultural sector.

Source: Government of Malta.