Financial aid to more than 150 farmers for the efficient use of water
€750,000 are being invested to support some 150 farmers for the efficient use of water in the agricultural sector. As part of the initiative through the Energy and Water Agency’s campaign; ‘WATER – BE THE CHANGE’, eligible farmers applying for the scheme may benefit up to €5,000 for interventions. Such interventions range from simple measures such as improving their irrigation system, to more larger scale interventions, including reservoir restorations and changes of restorations of reservoir or changes to the piping system.
Farmers will receive the support of technical officers who would identify and recommend interventions to make more efficient use of water.
An Mġarr farmer explained how, due to this scheme, he is harvesting rainwater and making better use of it. The intervention consisted of a pipe system connecting two reservoirs, thus increasing the rainwater catchment capacity which is highly needed by the farmers. In turn, this minimises water loss.
In a press conference addressed by Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries, Food and Animal Rights Anton Refalo and Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Sustainable Development Miriam Dalli, it was announced that more farmers have the opportunity to benefit from this scheme.
Minister Miriam Dalli emphasised the importance of sustainability, particularly in a sector which needs water to increase its productivity. In this regard, Minister Dalli explained that sustainable development works are being carried out to increase water efficiency.
“We are working to ensure that the water demand is met sustainably, with a high level of protection of natural resources. With this project, we are providing an added level of support to farmers to continue moving towards sustainable operations,” explained the Minister for Sustainable Development.
As part of the project, data will be collected which will allow technical experts from both ministries to develop policies which are more effective to continue increasing sustainable practices in the agricultural sector.
On the other hand, Minister Refalo said that, with such initiatives, the water demand reduces and that therefore there will be less expenses on the environment and the farmer. He continued explaining how the agriculture sector is essential for the country and the water resource is crucial for the sector.
“Water is considered as the most basic resource in the world – however, it is the most essential natural resource for agriculture. The agricultural sector in Malta remains prominent as it is the sector that provides us with fresh and nutritious produce every day. Therefore, in order to have a sustainable agricultural sector for the long term, the efficient use of water resources is of utmost importance and should be a crucial and integral part of the water management practices on both arable and livestock farms.
“Through the scheme being launched today and others, such as the availability of the New Water, our farmers will be able to benefit from the necessary support which will improve water efficiency whilst also reducing the pressure on available water resources, as well as reducing groundwater abstraction,” emphasised Minister Refalo.