Find Agriculture expertise in Malta
Between 1990 and 2008 the Maltese agriculture sector contributed no more than 4% to Malta’s GDP. This figure has been gradually declining, and by 2009 the sector contributed about 2%, staying at that level until 2010. Alongside this, there has been a reduction in the size of agricultural holdings due to the reduction in total standard gross margins over recent years. In 2011 76% of farmers had less than two hectares of land and 51% has less than one hectare. In 2009 only 1% of the total workforce was employed in agriculture, although agricultural land accounted for 28.1% of total land area. Gozo (the smaller of Malta’s two main islands) relies more on arable crops and animal husbandry than the island of Malta does.
The majority of farms across the country are small and privately owned, with most of the produce consumed domestically. The primary arable products produced in Malta include: potatoes (the main crop), cauliflower, grapes, wheat, barley, tomatoes, and citrus fruits; pastoral products produced are pork, milk, poultry and eggs. By far the most profitable export in 2010 was the prepared food products, generating $58,875,000. The agricultural industry is the responsibility of the Ministry for Resources and Rural Affairs (MRRA).
In the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report (2012-13) Malta placed 26th in the world (out of 144 countries) in terms of its balanced agricultural policy costs, with a value of 4.4 out of 7, comfortably above to the world mean of 3.9. This ranked it far ahead of nearby Italy (88th) and Greece (140th).
A number of factors constrain the development of the agricultural sector, including a lack of sufficient water and land fragmentation. However, the islands have seen a growth in the organic agriculture industry, encouraged by the Malta Organic Agriculture Movement. Additionally, the Agricultural Co-operative Limited is involved in the search for new techniques and products to develop the agriculture industry, alongside the technical and professional education of its members. The development of the agriculture sector needs to take into account the particular conditions on Malta, dominated as it is by small farms. With an ageing workforce there is also a need to encourage young people to enter into the industry.