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Young farmers worried about pressing land use issues in Malta

Land use issues have been hindering progress in the local agricultural sector for decades. Farmland should be maintained and used for food production, otherwise, we'll lose the little we still have. Rural areas are the only green lung of our islands; therefore land needs to be protected in all possible ways, including a change in legislation

Is nature already revolting?

Malta has very limited arable land where our fresh food and farmed animals are grown. With a population density of over 1,500 persons per square kilometer, Malta ranks top in Europe! This means that the availability of land is intrinsically scarce and even less when it comes to our green lungs. Moreover, the remaining green areas including Natura 2000 sites and other protected open areas, such as garigue and valleys, are mostly exploited for incompatible uses by opportunists and speculators. Concurrently, farmers and those who are trying to start up or support an agricultural practice, are being kicked out, making way for leisure and other inappropriate uses such as dumping bulky waste.

This is a result of the overpopulated island and the ineffective authorities who instead of incentivising genuine rural sustainable development, have been granting or accepting speculative rural development just because the developers will present it as the 'most sustainable'. If one looks at such developments, it would be clearly understood that most of these projects are intentionally designed so that in the long-term they 'fail' - in such cases the land in question will need to be 're-purposed'. The definition of what constitutes sustainable development seems to have been jeopardised in spite of the fact that nowadays we have multiple aids to help us understand. Ironically, everyone seems to perceive the beauty of Malta's untouched natural environment, since adverts for sale and promotion of achievements always portray the most beautiful natural environment instead of the haphazardly built environment.

MaYA spokesperson says: “It is never too late to protect and incentivise the appropriate land uses of the limited natural heritage of Malta.” Our advanced society should learn not to repeat past mistakes of islands such as those of Nauru or Easter Island, otherwise nature revolution will hit Malta. Legislation should be fairly enforced and radically changed for better protection of our natural environment if don't want Malta to end up as the next ghost island.

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