their passion for agriculture embodied by the photo exhibition of Zammit Lupi

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In less than twelve months, the EU Revised CAP will be enacted, designed to provide lasting benefits and sustainability to European Member States at a time of increasing focus on climate change and food security, as well as an increased focus on climate justice – an increasingly critical goal of prioritizing smallholder (and, in particular, young) farmers and agroecological practices.

The EU lists several main objectives for the revised CAP agreement, including ensuring a fair income for farmers, increasing the competitiveness of the sector, improving the position of farmers in the food chain of the EU, targeted action on climate change, protection of the environment (including the preservation of biodiversity), supporting the renewal of generations, ensuring and improving the dynamism of rural territories, protecting the quality of food and health and promote the development of knowledge and innovation.

As the smallest EU Member State, Malta’s adoption of the revised CAP and European Green Deal and From farm to fork and Biodiversity strategies have a profound impact on the country’s farming community.

In many ways, Malta can be seen as a microcosm of the wider challenges facing the EU, with issues such as urban sprawl, industry support and an aging farming population likely to significantly affect the country.

Under the revised CAP proposals, of the €207.5 billion budget allocated to supporting farmers’ incomes, 10% of this budget will be earmarked for smallholder farmers, and 3% will be made available to young farmers. Both of these measures are desperately needed, with statistics showing that despite producing the vast majority of food – 70% globally (taking into account all the world’s farmers) – between 2005 and 2016, the number holdings of less than 50 hectares fell by 29.4% in the EU. With other factors including reduced income for smallholder farmers (estimated at 50% less than the average wage) and a decreasing number of young people choosing farming as a career, the vital network of smallholdings in the EU faces a potentially existential struggle.

Alongside these concerns, the CAP also aims to address one of the world’s most pressing issues: climate change and, in particular, the vital reforms needed to combat it.

According to recent estimates, agriculture accounts for 10.3% of EU greenhouse gas emissions. However, when examined in more detail, it appears that the distribution within this figure remains unbalanced, with the majority of emissions coming from large-scale industrial farms.

Combined with the fact that these farms receive the lion’s share of existing CAP funds (which are allocated according to their size), research shows that the top 20% of farms by size receive 80% of funding, with the top 2% (equivalent to around 121,000 farms) receiving 30% of available funds — the ability of regulators to force climate action in the agricultural sector remains limited.

Furthermore, the complementarity of large farms further contributes to the erosion of small-scale agriculture, with large farms being more easily competitive due to their size and the economy of scale offered by greater production and a increased purchasing power.

This disproportionate weighting in funding also translates into increased financial power for industrial agriculture lobbyists, with all of these factors combining to create a “perfect storm” of challenges facing both small-scale farmers and the planet.

Despite these difficulties, the actors of peasant agriculture remain passionate about their profession. Seen as a key element of the EU’s farm to fork strategy, small farms — sufficiently supported and, ideally, developed — have the potential to increase agricultural employment, promote less intensive farming methods and more environmentally friendly, shorten supply chains and ensure a long lifespan. long-term food security.

As part of the campaign around the revised CAP, Friends of the Earth Malta has teamed up with renowned Maltese photographer, Darrin Zammit Lupipresent a photo exhibition which aims to highlight the lives of ten Maltese farmers. The exhibition will take place from 6-15 May at Republic Street in Valletta and from 27-29 May at Ghar id-Dud in Sliema, and includes scannable QR codes that provide further insight into the farmers’ stories .

This exhibition is part of the FoEM project called “Bring the dialogue – Green European DEAL and the CAP”, which highlights the importance of local agriculture and how policies affect the food that is produced. The exhibition is managed and curated by Samira Damato, with structural design provided by Tom van Malderen and site construction completed by Kiet Bonnici.

The exhibition will feature portraits and stories of farmers in Malta, with three photos from each of the ten farmers on display. The individual stories focus on the farmers’ backgrounds, their passion for farming and their struggles in the sector, and provide context for the wider farming situation in Malta and Europe as well as how the CAP is affecting farmers and the biodiversity.

In addition, FoEM also runs an online platform quiz to help raise awareness of the measures included in the revised legislation, as well as to highlight important issues facing farmers and to test our knowledge of the existing framework.

They offer a gift voucher of €100 to two lucky participants, which can be used to buy local, fair trade and organic products from local suppliers Core Green and The Veg Box. To find out which fruits and vegetables are currently in season in Malta, see this guide for more details.

While this is clearly a step in the right direction, the question remains whether the revised CAP agreement will go far enough to effect real and lasting change in Europe’s agricultural sector. The reality is that unless we radically rethink our strategy and long-term objectives for agriculture in the EU, the continent runs the risk of not only failing to meet the key challenges of climate change, but, at worst cases, to exacerbate the problem he is trying to avoid. Only by addressing these issues transparently and effectively can we hope to avoid the most adverse effects of climate change and support the continued existence of the smallholder farming community that remains the backbone of the European farming.

To find out more about Friends of the Earth Malta, visit their official siteand to see images of the exhibition online, see here.

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