Economic and Labour Market Implications of Global Environmental Change on Agriculture and Viticulture in Malta

Authors: Anthony Meli

Corresponding: Anthony Meli (

Keywords: climate change; agriculture; Malta; production


Issue: Xjenza Online Vol. 4 Iss. 1 - July 2016

Agriculture contributes but a limited amount to Europe's gross domestic production, and the overall weakness of the European economy to climatic changes on agriculture is deemed low. Agriculture remains more considerable in the southern and southeastern European states with regards to employment and economic contribution and these regions are expected to face decreases in yields of 10% or more as a result of the reduction of the growing season and decreased rainfall. In Malta, other than cereal production as a fodder crop, most other crops are supported with a degree of irrigation that may ultimately mitigate adverse climatic conditions. Local producers have indicated that cereals, olives and vines have so far demonstrated varying degrees of susceptibility to climatic factors, although, arguably management factors are also relevant. The development of drier and warmer conditions in the Mediterranean region would also create conditions that are favourable to pests. Analysis of potential output effects triggered by global environmental change indicates that some 6,300 hectares on which wheat, olives and vines are grown, or 55% of Malta's total utilisable agricultural area, could in effect be rendered economically unsustainable when productivity falls by about 23%. Such heavy losses could constitute a potential risk to the sustainability of rural farming systems and livelihoods in Malta.

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