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James Madison University (2010)

Sustainable agricultural management and landscaping through agroforestry and permaculture case study : Northern Malta

Vella, Shawn Sammy

Titre : Sustainable agricultural management and landscaping through agroforestry and permaculture case study : Northern Malta

Auteur : Vella, Shawn Sammy

Université de soutenance : James Madison University

Grade : Master of Science (MS) 2010

Résumé
The farming industry in Malta is facing severe challenges. Many small patches of arable land are being abandoned following land use conflicts and competition from foreign agricultural products. This reduces the economic capacity of the farming industry which leads to soil erosion and land degradation. On the other hand, the remaining land is being intensively farmed with the use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides. Local government following EU regulations is trying to change this trend by aiming more at promoting a sustainable future for this industry in Malta whilst preserving the natural environments, but still many farmers choose not to practice these natural techniques. A qualitative study lends itself best to analyse such issue, with special reference made to the north area of Malta as a cluster sampling area. An in-depth analysis of a local farm converting to permaculture is carried out followed by open-ended, semi-structured interviews amongst a sample of local farmers, departmental representatives and two foreign experts. These provided a wide perspective with which to analyse the local agricultural situation and propose actions to be taken to improve the economic output of farming by investing in local resources, enhancing and strengthening the biodiversity, protecting the environment and generating alternative working opportunities, and promote agritourism. An important concept to hold on to is that of focusing on quality rather than quantity.

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