4 - 10 April 2001

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Malta's milk in the spotlight

By Miriam Dunn

Dairy producers are locked in talks with the government over how to increase the fat content in Maltese milk.

While many of us are switching to skimmed milk and low fat products in a bid to watch our waistlines, Maltese dairy producers are, in contrast, gearing up to give the local milk a higher fat content, according to Brian Vella, spokesman for the ‘Kooperativa Produtturi tal-Halib'.

Mr Vella told our sister paper, MaltaToday, that discussions with the government on how to increase the fat content in milk have already got underway, in line with Malta's European Union bid.

According to EU regulations, the fat content for full fat milk should be 3.6 per cent, while the present percentage in Maltese-produced milk is 2.3 per cent.

Mr Vella explained that the dairy farmers' main concern is whether the government plans to help them with the investment that will be needed to produce milk with a higher fat content.

"We will have to change the feed given to the cows, which is costly, especially since grass is such a rarity in Malta," he said. "If we need to swap some of the feed we currently give our cattle for hay, which is more expensive, will there be some support?"
Mr Vella pointed out that the dairy farmers were aware that Cyprus, which was faced with the same problem and has a similar climate to Malta, was refused a derogation from the EU on this issue.

"With this in mind, we have to look at how we are realistically going to tackle the problem," he said.

The Business Times, Network House, Vjal ir-Rihan San Gwann SGN 07
Tel: (356) 382741-3, 382745-6 | Fax: (356) 385075 | e-mail: editorial@networkpublications.com.mt