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Gozo poultry crisis

by 5m Editor
13 March 2006, at 12:00am

MALTA - Local statistics confirmed that the poultry industry in Gozo has suffered a severe crisis. In fact while production and slaughtering in 2003 was 1,250,000 heads, in 2005 this fell to under 500,000. This contradicts the statements made last year by the Prime Minister, Dr Gonzi, and Rural Affairs Minister George Pullicino, namely that farmers&#39; earnings are rising. In fact since 2004 the Labour Opposition has been warning of a crisis in this sector, but Government continually denied it. Therefore it is pertinent to ask: how does the Ministry for Rural Affairs intend to compensate Gozitan producers and processors for these losses, due to the incompetence of the administration? Why did the Government not create a specific policy to revive the Gozo poultry industry when a new poultry policy for 2006 was announced recently? Why is the minister only now offering government subsidies and EU restructuring funds on condition that production rises by 20 per cent? Will Gozitan producers qualify for a share of these funds if they are unable to raise production by this amount? The minister also said that Government would be using funds that were not used by the industry in 2004 and 2005. It I am not mistaken, in 2004 there were insufficient funds and producers were not paid any subsidies for broilers slaughtered between October and December since the threshold of 7,000 tons had been reached by the end of September. <i>Source: Times of Malta</i>

5m Editor