The Directorate for Agriculture, today through the Director of Agriculture Dr Justin Zahra, launched at the Xewkija Experimental Farm in Gozo, an information campaign and project relating to the National Nitrates Action Plan, a project that is financed through the European LIFE+ regime. This information campaign is intended to train and educate livestock breeders and farmers on the correct use and storage of manure and fertilisers. This information campaign complements the training sessions that are already under way with farmers and breeders with the ultimate aim of the project being to protect water bodies from nitrate pollution.
The project, which has been termed InfoNitrates is intended to bridge the gap between the Nitrates Action Plan (NAP) and the farming community by providing farmers with the necessary information and training. As part of the InfoNitrates campaign, thirty village meetings will be held in rural areas around the Maltese Islands. These village meetings will give the opportunity to famers and livestock breeders to view a presentation on the use of nitrates and exchange their views on the subject. An informative DVD and leaflet explaining the obligatory measures of the NAP will be distributed to all those attending the village meetings.
Apart from the information campaign, trainers employed through the InfoNitrates project are giving individual training to farmers and livestock breeders. During the training sessions, farmers will be introduced to soil sampling and the use of soil analysis kits, leading to the compilation of a fertilizer plan based on the crop plan for a particular year. Such a plan will also include details on the amount of fertilizers and animal manure that need to be applied to different crops in a particular year. Livestock breeders are being met on their respective farms and trained on the proper storage method of manure and nitrates management.
The motto of the InfoNitrates project says it all: “We offer assistance to farmers in applying and storing nitrates correctly, to reduce costs and to increase their profits”. By getting in line with the Nitrates Action Plan, we would be conserving farming and safeguarding the environment. A freephone with the number 80074441 was set to address queries from the farming community.