Win a €100 voucher for seasonal produce from Friends of the Earth

Friends of the Earth Malta launches quiz to raise awareness of EU’s revised common agricultural policy

The use of sustainable and environmentally-friendly farming is gaining more attention as the world begins to grapple with the impacts of climate change.

Farming in Malta, and, more crucially, the issue of the country's continued food security, is becoming increasingly relevant as the dual threats of global warming and geopolitical instability begin to feel their presence known. Due to its relatively small size, changing social environment and increasing urbanisation, Malta’s farming community is under growing pressure both in terms of sustainability and efficacy, with prominent difficulties including a lack of arable land, reduced take-up of farming as a career amongst Malta’s younger generations, public awareness of and accessibility to local produce and the challenge of competing with large-scale providers from overseas. 

In 1962 the European Union launched the Common Agricultural Policy, a scheme with the following objectives: to safeguard European Union farmers’ ability to make a reasonable living; help tackle climate change and the sustainable management of natural resources; maintain rural areas and landscapes across the EU, and to keep the rural economy alive by promoting jobs in farming, agri-food industries and associated sectors.

To help foster understanding of CAP, Friends of the Earth Malta has recently launched a quiz to both test our knowledge of the scheme, as well as to gain further information from the public regarding their experience accessing locally-grown produce. Those interested would be advised to take the quiz, as the organisers are also offering a €100 gift voucher that can be used to purchase fair trade, local and organic produce from a local supplier, with produce currently in season including pumpkins, strawberries and zucchinis. (For help understanding the fruits and vegetables grown in Malta and their seasonal availability, see this guide on the Friends of the Earth Malta website). The lucky participant will be drawn at random, so make sure you enter to be in with a chance of winning!

The quiz also draws attention to other initiatives including the Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 and the Farm to Fork Strategy Malta, two important schemes designed to support the country’s move towards lasting food security by strengthening public access to locally-produced food, and raising awareness of the country’s diverse domestic market. 

The EU’s Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 is a continent-wide initiative focused on regenerating and supporting European ecosystems, with particular emphasis placed on reversing current trends of environmental degradation, by 2030. The scheme includes various measures, such as expanding and strengthening Europe’s network of Natura 2000 areas — an area totalling over 18% of the EU’s land area and more than 8% of its marine territory — and addressing key factors linked to loss of biodiversity, and is a core component of the European Green Deal

The aptly-named Farm to Fork Strategy is a key accompanying part of the European Green Deal, aimed at improving links between consumers and local farmers. The aims of the strategy include a lower carbon footprint associated with the transportation of goods by ensuring better access to local produce, as well as helping to support a reversal of biodiversity loss and securing widespread access to healthy, nutritious food. The scheme also aims to address the economic concerns of farming communities by generating more equitable economic returns and promoting fair trade, whilst guaranteeing competitiveness of the EU supply sector. 

Following over fifty years of operation since CAP’s implementation in 1962, in June 2021 the European Parliament, European Commission and the Council of the EU (comprised of national agricultural ministers) agreed on a set of reforms designed to both modernise and strengthen the effectiveness of CAP in the modern day. The reformed policy will come into effect in 2023, and benefits from a 270 billion Euro budget as part of a 387 billion Euro budget allocated by the EU for 2021–2027. Friends of the Earth Malta, in collaboration with other Friends of the Earth group across Europe, are actively working to support awareness of the revised Common Agricultural Policy, and accompanying schemes including the aforementioned Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 and Farm to Fork Strategy Malta. 

Past successes of the Common Agricultural Policy include improved infrastructure development for remote agricultural communities, the creation of a single common market — allowing EU farmers to sell their produce effectively across the bloc — and protecting intellectual property, including various region-specific produce such as grape and olive varieties, for example. 

Biodiversity and food security are clearly vitally important issues for Malta, and, indeed for the world in general at such a critical juncture both in terms of ecological and geopolitical development. To learn more about the revised Common Agricultural Policy and what it means for Malta, head to the Friends of the Earth website to take the quiz — and remember, with prizes on offer there’s never been a better time to learn more about CAP.