The importance of traditional Gozitan food and drink for the island
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While addressing a consultation meeting, with several Gozitan businessmen specialising in tradition food and drinks in Gozo, the Minister for Gozo, Anton Refalo argued the importance of the industry,which he said, will create sustainable jobs in Gozo.
The Minister also mentioned the importance of traditional Gozitan food, the genuineness of the products and how they can play a fundamental role in continuing to strengthen this market.
Dr Refalo pointed out the the Gozitan economy grew 4.8% in the first year of this administration. Among the sectors that have grown in Gozo is that of agriculture and fisheries, as well as the commercial sector and industry, he said.
The Minister spoke about the various initiatives and incentives announced in the budget, which included training on employment. "In fact from this year, the scheme `Training Pays,' will be launched, to encourage persons to train in required areas, which will be subsidised by part payment on training."
The Minister also mentioned assistance for start-ups, as well as the incentive to create new jobs with the private sector in Gozo, with 20% of the average wage, up to a maximum of €5,000, refunded for every employee offered a contract of 3 years or longer.
Dr Refalo also mentioned that the Ministry would be investing in an SME village. "This investment will help to provide space that is so important to help this type of industry," the Minister said. These investments was welcomed positively by those present.
Minister Refalo listened to the various comments and suggestions from the businessmen, while reiterating the Government's vision is that "Gozo is that the economic driving force of the economy."
Some of those at the meeting expressed the wish that the local product is more protected, ensuring the genuineness of the Gozo product. This, they said would be an incentive to the farmer and trader to invest in local products.
An important point discussed was the need for much more education in this regard. They said that everyone should be informed on the genuineness of locally produced products, so that this sector continues to grow, therefore ensuring that those who buy local produce are actually investing in Gozo.
Photograph: MGOZ/George Scerri