Malta census reveals declining farming community

Malta’s farming community is in decline, an agricultural census has shown.

Labour, cropland, and animals raised have all declined over the past decade.

The 2020 Census of Agriculture for Malta and Gozo was carried out by the National Statistics Office in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Food and Animal Rights (MAFA).

It revealed an almost 15% drop in the number of farms over the past 10 years, from 12,260 farms to just 10,449.

While nearly 60% of farms sold their produce, some 4,327 small farms, or 41.4% of the total, grew only for their own consumption.

Commercial agriculture accounted for some 83% of deployed agricultural land, or some 8,895 hectares.

However, this is a 6.2% drop in agricultural land used since the last census in 2010.

The census also showed a change in livestock trends, with pigs, broilers and cattle all decreasing (by 43.2%, 17.7% and 7.9% respectively) while livestock sheep, goats and laying hens increased (36.3%, 31.5% and 12.6% respectively).

Malta has an aging agricultural population, with less than a quarter under the age of 45 and nearly 60% aged 55 or over. This has been blamed in part on the declining workforce in the sector

In 2020, Malta had 241 beef farms (a drop of 50 over the last decade) holding a total of 14,447 animals, including 5,996 dairy ones.

Comments are closed.