The consumer market is vast and nowadays one can find almost any product. Foreign products abound, often in attractive packaging, ready and processed and at competitive prices. Given today’s fast pace of life, these are naturally attractive to consumers but undoubtedly these are having a negative impact on local farmers and fisher folk.
However, despite this strong competition, Maltese producers continue to work hard to have their products on the market. Although foreign vegetables and fruit may be cheaper, local produce does not lack quality. A number of farmers spoke to Popolin who explained that local produce has a far better taste and is more secure than foreign produce.
Farmer Antoine Fenech admitted that foreign products present a great challenge. Competitive pricing and attractive packaging but maintained that local produce is of far a superior quality. Local produce is subject to EU established standards and fresh produce is available on dining tables within 24 hours. Fenech continued to explain that every 15 weeks famers have to carry out specific tests and guarantee the traceability of their produce.
He said that Malta lacks produce marketing and the consumer is normally in so much hurry they select the first product available or the best priced. They do this without checking whether it is local produce or not.
Popolin also spoke to Paul Portelli, a farmer who explained that geographically the country is placed to provide products with a special taste. This is thanks to the country’s climate and the hard work of farmers. He said that those who experience Maltese produce continually to solely search for Maltese products; however, he admitted that local produce lacks attractive packaging and proper marketing. The fact that Malta is small helps logistically because the distance between markets in small.
He appealed to the public to seek local produce to enjoy fresh and quality products. This will not only help farmers and their families but will also help the agricultural sector and the environment.