Now that discussions about the new CAP are underway, farmers are bringing suggestions forward to MaYA Foundation. These, together with other recommendations will be passed on to the Minister of Agriculture and the Parliamentary Secretary for European Funds in a few weeks time.
Malta is the smallest country within the European Union, with a total area of 11,000 hectares of agricultural land. This area is relatively insignificant compared to other countries within the EU, however many of the payments related to the CAP are tied to land area. This is one major challenge for Malta, as it cannot utilise area-based funding with the same efficacy as other countries do.
There have been various mentions that landbased payments funded by the CAP need to be targeted towards the actual farmers. However, this is not always happening, since landowners from whom the farmers lease the land, might end up as being beneficiaries themselves. Farmers working the land would not be able to apply for these land-based payments if the owner would already be availing himself/herself of such payments.
The system needs to be revised in such a way to ensure that genuine farmers are the main beneficiaries of land-based CAP payments. This issue, amongst others tied to land-based payments, has been flagged many times all over Europe and now that strategic plans are being laid out, policymakers need to ensure that the next programming period will be more relevant and targeted towards those who bring forward positive benefits in rural areas.
Founder, MaYA Foundation