MaYA Foundation has been closely monitoring the impending situation within the Pitkali Markets. Since many of the independent Pitkala (middlemen) are not operating, we are anticipating that various farmers will not be able to trade their produce as usual. The timing for this disruption could not have been any worse considering that production is at its peak.
It is understood that the Farmers' Central Cooperative Society Ltd. (FCCS) which acts also as a middleman to its members was to provide its service on Monday 5th April, but even if they are allowed to do so, all its efforts will not be enough to cater for all the local supply. This cooperative, which is the longest standing collaboration between producers, is a farmer-centered entity which trades at the Pitkalija premises in Ta' Qali.
In a somewhat unexpected turn of events, after months of discussing the Pitkalija Reform we are informed that Pitkalija Ltd. (which held a central role in the consultation) is no longer responsible for the Pitkali Markets, and that operations have been taken over by the recently established Malta Food Agency.
While acknowledging that this is a delicate situation where everyone involved needs to be fairly treated and compensated, we appeal to the Ministry for Agriculture, Fisheries, Food and Animal Rights to make sure that this situation does not lead to further burdens on producers and provide all the necessary resources to avoid food waste especially in the midst of a pandemic.