€10 million investment to improve the rural character of Gozo

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€10 million investment to improve the rural character of Gozo€10 million is being invested to improve the rural character of Gozo, the Ministry for Gozo has said, and is being carried out through two projects involving valley cleaning, water management and the development of the island’s landscape

The announcement was made by the Minister for Gozo Justyne Caruana and Parliamentary Secretary for EU Funds and Social Dialogue Aaron Farrugia.

The valleys related to the projects are: Wied tax-Xlendi, Wied Mgarr ix-Xini, Wied Tal-Grazzja, Wied Rihan, Wied ta’ Grajgel, Wied il-Wileg, Wied Mgarr, Wied ta’ Xhajma, Wied Marsalforn, Wied il-Ort, Wied l-Infern and Wied il-Kbir.

The Minister for Gozo Justyne Caruana said that through these new European funds, the countryside and rural landscape of Gozo will get a boost.

She said that valleys will be cleaned of debris, and rubble walls and water catchment areas restored. “This project is therefore aimed at improving the rural aspect of Gozo, benefiting the operation of our farmers and continuing to implement the EcoGozo strategy.”

“We are strengthening the sustainability and the green economy,” said Dr Caruana. Explaining that another beneficial aspect from the valley cleaning is that the water storage in the valleys would be utilised by farmers to irrigate crops and their land, thereby eliminating the extraction of groundwater.

The Minister for Gozo insisted that the work will be carried out in accordance with practices agreed by the authorities concerned.

A tender is to be published shortly for the restoration and rebuilding of around 30 km of rubble walls. The Minister said that this restoration will contribute towards increasing the population and range of endemic species living in the rubble walls.

Parliamentary Secretary for European funds and Social Dialogue Aaron Farrugia said the agriculture industry and rural development are two important pillars for Gozo. That is why we are investing a large amount of European funds in Gozo, which is unprecedented, he said.

“As we are in negotiations with the European Commission on which areas to invest in European funding for the next period, including as regards the European Regional Development Fund, we are going to meet with farmers and fishermen to discuss the needs and requirements of their industry,” concluded Farrugia.

Photograph: MGOZ/Terry Camilleri

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