MOAM denies allegation by Dr Joseph Sammut PL
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With reference to comments in the local press by Dr Joseph Sammut, PL shadow minister for agriculture, the Malta Organic Agriculture Movement (MOAM) regrets to note that he did not check the facts with MOAM officials before passing erroneous statements concerning events in which it was involved between the 17th and 21st March 2010 when stating that the Government was not part of the organisation of the events held in Gozo which sought to raise awareness on the benefits of Organic Agriculture.
As a voluntary organisation, MOAM acknowledges that without Government’s help, it would not have been in a position to organise such an international event that attracted over 200 local participants and 34 IFOAM-EU (International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements – EU group) board members coming from most European states without the invaluable support received from the Ministry for Gozo, the Malta Tourism Authority, the Office of the Prime Minister and the Ministry for Resources and Rural Affairs. MOAM also thanks all Government officials who helped out or participated in the organisation of all events, irrespective of weekends or public holidays.
It was also erroneously quoted that M. Christopher Stopes (President IFOAM-EU), criticised the Minister for Gozo, Giovanna Debono, for not mentioning Organic Farming in her presentation. In actual fact, in his contributions, Mr. Stopes acknowledged that through eco-Gozo, Government was addressing all main issues which are critical for organic agriculture to succeed. He said that organic agriculture has an important role in the eco-island vision and promised IFOAM-EU’s support to the Maltese Government for the development of organic agriculture in Gozo. MOAM believes that no one can force anyone to achieve Organic Certification on a compulsory basis, and is aware that the Ministry for Gozo is currently working on the promotion of organic agriculture on Gozo. Organic certification is currently very difficult for small holdings which are typical of the Gozitan setup, and IFOAM-EU is working with the EU to solve this problem by allowing group certification.
Contrary to what has been stated, MOAM found support and assistance throughout, particularly from the Ministry for Gozo. Furthermore, various Government officials took an active part in both the public conference and the internal workings of the IFOAM-EU group which took place on the following days.
Both IFOAM-EU and MOAM commend the eco-Gozo project and have promised to extend this experience and continue supporting the eco-island vision, now that a deeper knowledge of this project has been gained.
Mario Salerno – President MOAM