'Land-less' dairy, beef farmers win EU derogation on funding

EU - Maltese farmers in the dairy and beef sectors will still be able to receive EU payments in the coming years despite having no agricultural land to show for their farms, a situation which goes against current EU rules regulating these payments.
calendar icon 22 November 2006
clock icon 2 minute read
This announcement was made yesterday in Brussels by Environment and Rural Affairs Minister George Pullicino following a meeting of the EU Agriculture Council.

Mr Pullicino said that member states recognised the particular situation of Maltese farmers and decided to give Malta a derogation. Negotiations on the issue had been going on for the past few months between the Commission and representatives of the ministry and the Maltese Permanent Representation in Brussels.

According to EU rules, payments given under the Common Agricultural Policy to help the dairy and beef sectors are calculated according to the size of land in cattle farms. As the majority of such farmers in Malta do not own any land, Maltese farmers were not going to be eligible to such payments.

According to current statistics, 97 per cent of beef breeders and 75 per cent dairy farmers in Malta are considered to be land-less.

These farmers do not own grazing grounds, as they do in other European countries, and tend to rear their animals inside in sheds.

Mr Pullicino said that Malta made its case that this regulation should not be applied to Malta due to its specific circumstances. He said that Malta has small farms and even smaller agricultural land and thus the rules, if applied, would harm the Maltese beef and dairy industry. He said that both the Commission and the Council acknowledged this issue and agreed to derogate Maltese farmers from these rules.

Source: timesofmalta.com
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