At the Pitkalija market, fresh fruit and veggies used to be carried in green crates. These crates now have a barcode that leads to information about the product, its price, and the farmer who grew it.
The barcode ticket is part of a new system at the Pitkalija market that has been put in place as part of a change of the wholesale fruit and vegetable market. The system makes it easier to track and see what is going on at the market.
It was revealed by the Agriculture Ministry on Wednesday, when they opened the new Malta Food Agency.
The new body will be in charge of running the Pitkalija, Pixkerija, and abattoir, as well as regulating the sales and marketing of all locally grown and caught food.
All producers, middlemen, and hawkers will register for a system managed by an organization, and they will all receive ID cards with information about their respective roles in the market. They’ll also receive the same kind of identity for their registered vehicles.
According to Agency top policy officer Sonya Sammut, “the idea behind the new agency and the Pitkalija reform is to have a centralised system that makes the sale of local fresh produce more open and easy to track, giving everyone in the market a fair chance to do well.”
The change is part of the government’s plan to fix problems at the Pitkali market that have been going on for a long time. In April, Times of Malta claimed that all of Malta’s registered pitkala middlemen had their licences taken away because they wouldn’t put up a guarantee to make sure farmers wouldn’t be left out in the cold.
What is the market in Pitkali?
The Pitkali market is open twice a week, and hundreds of farmers bring in thousands of kilos of fresh fruit and veggies, which are then sold at auction to supermarkets, grocers, and hawkers.
It is different from the close farmers’ market in Ta’ Qali, which is open to the public.
Sammut said that the Agency will focus on finding ways to improve the market and give businesses in the farming and fishing industries new possibilities.
Identifying market failures and chances
With the new barcode system, the agency will be able to register and record all of the farms’ products in real time and record all of the day’s sales.
Sammut said that would make the market more efficient and modern, and it would also put farmers in a better position to negotiate.
“Through the new system, we will also examine “market failures,” considering how we can boost the low volume of output and assist the market in improving.
Anton Refalo, Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Food, talked at the news conference about how important it was to start the Malta Food Agency.
This industry was severely impacted by the epidemic, but it was also robust.According to him, “We believe the agency and reform will benefit our farmers, who have a right to know how much of their produce they sold and for what price.”
Refalo said that the launch is just the start, and he hopes that the agency will look into ways to send extra food in the future to cut down on food waste.