Minister pledges to compensate farmers affected by grass fires

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Farmers whose crops were destroyed by a recent series of grass fires will receive government compensation, Agriculture Minister Anton Refalo has promised.

“We have already appealed to farmers to tell us what damage they have suffered. We are now assigning officials to visit these fields and issue offsets,” Refalo said.

They will issue the amount which is a fair price for the compensation– Minister of Agriculture Anton Refalo

He could not give details on the amounts and whether the aid will be subject to a cap, saying these were still being worked out and the damages were being quantified.

“We are committed to helping farmers, especially today when we have just lived through more than two years of a pandemic and now we have war in Ukraine. We are seriously committed to helping them because they need all the help,” Refalo said.

“Our technicians will visit the farm, give assessments, quotes and examine the products. After that, they will issue the amount which is a fair price for compensation.

Following a fire that devastated a farmer’s field in Swieqi, Malcolm Borg, leader of farmers’ lobby Għaqda Bdiewa Attivi, told The Times of Malta that farmers are only compensated for grass fires when the fire was intentional.

He also clarified that the government only compensates farmers when 30% of the national product is damaged.

Referring to another farmer, whose fields caught fire following the explosions at the Dwejra fireworks factory recently, the minister said he too would be eligible to claim compensation.

The minister was speaking to The Times of Malta on Friday after the launch of three EU-funded schemes for farmers worth a total of €6.5 million.

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