Farmers should be helped to switch to organic farming, says veteran campaigner

Farmers should practice organic farming methods and EU government funds must help promote this rather than the continued use of pesticides, a veteran campaigner has said.

Mario Salerno, who founded the Organic Agriculture Movement of Malta (MOAM) in 1999, said Malta was the only EU country to spend more money on the use of traditional pesticides than on traditional methods. ‘organic farming.

“Between 2020 and 2027, the European Union will allocate funds to the agricultural sector. If it were up to me, we would create more financial incentives for growers to switch from conventional to organic farming,” Salerno said during a show on TVM’s Xtra Sajf.

“Of the 28 countries in the European Union, 27 gave more money to organic farming, while Malta was the only exception,” he insisted.

Salerno argued that there is huge potential for the organic farming market in Malta, noting that there has been an increase in health and food quality awareness among consumers, which has resulted in greater demand for organic products.

“Today you can see where the market is going – there is an increase in interest and demand, and with the increase in demand there is also an increase in interest for someone. one to meet that demand,” he said.

Salerno said the organic farming style is not necessarily opposed to using spraying, as some might think, but simply uses natural materials instead of synthetic chemicals.

“I can create alternatives from nettles, for example, and use them as a solution against certain insects that attack tomatoes and which are proving to be a headache since they have even become resistant to synthetic chemicals” , did he declare.

Salerno ended by expressing his hope for the future of organic farming in Malta, as he noted that contemporary European laws offer far more incentives than when he founded his NGO.

Vegan blogger says vegetarianism is the best way to help the natural environment

Darryl Grima, vegan blogger and presenter of TVM Mill-Għalqa, said the best thing an individual can do to help the environment is to switch to a meat-free diet.

He argued that this helps save tropical rainforests, as well as protecting Earth’s biodiversity.

Grima hailed the benefits of a vegetarian and vegan diet, saying that, at their core, these lifestyles are ultimately based on respect for the world and for oneself.

“Both vegetarianism and veganism are based on respect – respect for animals, respect for the environment, respect for our biodiversity and even respect for one’s own health, because when you choose diets based on plants, you improve your health,” he said. .

The blogger insisted that there has been a significant international mindset shift towards plant-based diets, especially in the post-Covid-19 days.

“What is happening now is that we are trying to eliminate the distinction between vegan and vegetarian. Right now there is a movement called reductionism, where we unite everyone in the same mission – to reduce animal consumption and reduce human impact on the environment,” he said.

Grima also argued that there are proven studies that show a plant-based diet is more beneficial for humans, arguing that the data and information is there, although people may not realize it. be not account.

Asked by Balzan about the impact a country as small as Malta could have on the environmental front, Grima underlined that one can never let go of the idea that each person can make a difference.

“If we start saying one person can’t make a difference, then we’ve lost the whole battle, not just here, but also on the environment, on waste and so much more,” he said. he declares.

Grima noted that a plant-based lifestyle has become easier than ever these days, with the amount of meat alternatives and dairy products on the market. He said that while the majority of vegans and vegetarians are people who are against harming animals, there is an increase in the number of people who are turning to this lifestyle for the sake of the environment or improving their health.

“Today we see that all three pillars together – environment, health and animals – will drive this movement forward,” he said.

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