Financial troubles have left some 600 farmers waiting to get paid hundreds of thousands of euros for produce sold at the Pitkali Vegetable Market around three months ago. Angry farmers have stated how they are still owed for produce sold at the market in September.
The delay in payment means that some are struggling to make ends meet as they have no cash to cover overheads and other operational expenses. The farmers are waiting on some €720,000.
The market opens twice a week and sees farmers drop off thousands of kilos of fresh fruit and vegetables that are then auctioned off to supermarkets, grocers, and hawkers. Money generated from the sale of the produce is then paid to the farmers from a Pitkalija bank account.
The government’s new Malta Food Agency, set up over the summer, replaced the private company Pitkalija Ltd which used to oversee the fruit and veg auction. Agency chief executive Brain Vella has stated that the new entity had experienced delays when it came to opening a bank account.