Malta grown potatoes yesterday started a two-month-long journey to Namibia to help address the food crisis in the African state, Times Malta, the English daily reported on Saturday.
The Island of Malta is a small independent nation state located in the centre of the Mediterranean in Europe; it is the European Union’s smallest member state. According to the daily, an expression of interest issued by that country’s foreign affairs ministry for the provision of 500 tonnes of ware potatoes was met with three compliant offers for a total of 468 tonnes of ware potatoes.
The publication said the main criteria were that the potatoes had to be locally grown – not imported – and that local farmers were paid at least 30c per kilo for their produce.
“On receipt of the offers, the ministry bought the whole lot for €187 200, of which €140 400 or 75% of the allocated funds will be going directly to the local farmers who supplied the crop to the exporters,” the paper said.
According to the daily, the shipment departed Malta Freeport yesterday (Monday) and is expected to arrive in Namibia in the last week of August.
Under the Solidarity Malta heading, this foreign ministry initiative, supported by the Ministry for Agriculture and Trade Malta, is being carried out through the Overseas Development Aid Fund.
This act of solidarity with Namibia, which underwent a severe drought exacerbated by the spread of Covid-19, is expected to help around half a million people.
Foreign affairs minister Evarist Bartolo said this mutually beneficial initiative was the start of a strengthened relationship between Malta and Namibia which would lead to other areas of cooperation and potential trade.
Agriculture minister Anton Refalo said the initiative would open up new future opportunities for the establishment of a new niche for local agricultural produce, which would be of long-term benefit for local farmers.