Every product that enters the ‘Pitkalija’ will be registered in a common system to reduce waste and improve transparency

The Pitkalija central vegetable market is expected to undergo reforms that will lead to greater controls and better governance as well as improvement in organisation greater transparency. The Minister for Agriculture, Anton Refalo, said the reforms will place farmers as the central focus point in all activities but particularly to ensure they have a more just price return for their products.

At the market farmers go to this unique outlet to sell their produce to licenced fruit and vegetable retailers who re-sell to consumers.

The reform will not change this system. The main difference is that the 17 market employees will be provided with a computer and printer for receipts and barcodes to enable them to register all products brought in by farmers. The Pitkalija CEO, Marc Vella Bonnici, said this will ensure a more transparent and just system.

He said the reformed system will give a better account of sales, will cover waste and the product price and will make it possible to consider new projects, particularly products not sold at the market while the farmers will have information on their sales and the sale price there and then.

The proposed reform also covers better packaging and presentation of agricultural produce.

Minister Anton Refalo said the market had originally been established to facilitate the sale of produce by farmers and is an important source of income for 1,500 full time or part time farmers in Malta. He said the reform has long been overdue and has a principle aim.

This is to place the farmer at the central focus point of all activities and help then ensure that all their hard work will yield a just return.

Annually, the value of agricultural produce that goes through the market reached about €20 million. The sector contributes less than 1% to the generation of the country’s economy.