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The restoration of rubble walls and agro-tourism projects will be benefiting from EU funding of €5 m and €12 m respectively, Rural Affairs Minister George Pullicino said.
The financial allocation for the agriculture sector from EU funds between 2007 and 2013 amounts to €100 m.
The sector is experiencing a "period of renaissance" and, together with the subsidies, has never seen such a heavy investment. Priority would be given to environmental investments highlighting a shift in funding towards quality products and environmental improvements, rather than quantity. Farmers & herdsmen can apply for 3 types of funding:
to improve product competitiveness;
for environmental investment
to ensure that structures are in conformity with EU standards.
One of the measures of the rural development programme involves a €13.5 m investment (€11 m from the EU and the rest from the government) for farmers and herdsman to modernise their setups and introduce new methods of production.
Breaking down the €100 m allocation, Mr Pullicino said €7 m would be poured into the investment of quality products, based on fresh produce; the restoration of rubble walls would net €5 m and agro-tourism projects €12 m.
Another €7 m are being earmarked for the marketing and processing of local products.
The first call for funding would be issued in October, and applicants would be granted 50% of the investment, while forking out the other half. The growth in the agricultural sector has succeeded despite the fact that it has passed on from total protection to complete exposure to competition.
Mr Pullicino was speaking at the Meridiana Wine Estate in Ta' Qali, which benefitted from €22,000 from the 2004-2006 EU allocation – 50% of its investment in three projects.
These included new tanks to raise its wine capacity; a waste water recycling plant for automatic irrigation; and a photovoltaic panels pilot project to power two floodlights on the estate all night long.
Source: Funding Opportunities Alert- Malta Enterprise
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