Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Agriculture - The Industry that shaped Malta's Landscape

Photo by Christian Borg
The Maltese archipelago consists of three inhabited islands (Malta, Gozo and Comino) and a number of small islets. The total land area covers a surface of 316 km2. In 2007, 404,000 inhabited the Maltese archipelago, with an average population density of 1,282 inhabitants/Km²; it remains by far the most densely populated Member State of the European Union. Approximately 64% of the total population lives in rural localities. Agriculture is the largest land user accounting for 47.8% of the total area of the islands. Only 2% of the holdings have more than 5 ha. (Ref 1)

Photo by Jeanette Borg
The origins of agriculture in Malta are as old as man’s presence on the archipelago. Judging by the quality, size and numbers of the megalithic temples on the islands, those origins are indeed remote. Tools and agricultural equipment discovered in Malta express neolithic man’s vocation to husbandry and his dedication to agricultural life (Ref. 2).

That the Maltese were advanced in their knowledge of agricultural science and of related pursuits has been well documented. Roman historians refer to the islanders’ prowess in producing cotton and honey. Sails manufactured in Malta were a prized possession in the ancient wor ld. Honey is, of course, associated intimately with Malta’s own name (Ref. 3).

Photo by Christian Borg
Nowadays farming is a less popular industry among locals. Nonetheless, agriculture still has a very important role in providing fresh fruit and vegetables to locals as well maintaining the landscape. Some villages have quite a pronounced agricultural community while others have unfortunately lost their character because of urbanisation. Most of the crops and foodstuffs produced are consumed domestically. The main crops are potatoes, cauliflower, grapes, wheat, barley, tomatoes, citrus, and green peppers. Livestock production includes dairy cattle, chicken, sheep and goats, pork, rabbit, and turkey. The main livestock exports are prepared meat products and fish (Ref 4).

Photo by Jeanette Borg
At Merill Eco Tours we specialise in eco and agricultural tours. We are MTA licensed excursion organisers and are supported by fully trained staff and guides. We enjoy an exclusive extensive contact base of the best farmers and craftspersons to provide you and your guests with a professional and unique experience. For more information visit our website (, follow us on Twitter or "like" our Facebook Fan Page. Should you need to contact us...send us an email on

Ref 1 - Malta Country Profile -

Ref 2 & 3 - Agriculture in Malta; A historical note - 1993 - Salvino Busuttil - CIHEAM

Ref 4 - Encyclopedia of Nations - Malta; agriculture

No comments:

Post a Comment

Subscribe to mailing list for free. Members are eligible for some great offers.