AgriConnect-FAS

AgriConnect-FAS

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​Overview


Over the past few years, a substantial number of Maltese farmers have experienced significant difficulties in attaining and maintaining compliance with the often-complex requirements of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). AgriConnect has achieved registration to function as Farm Advisory Service, with the aim of ensuring that proper compliance is attained by farmers. 

Services offered through AgriConnect are free of charge. These services help farmers and livestock breeders tackle any obstacles and technical problems that they encounter in their operations. This is done by providing them with the opportunity of seeking specific personalised information and consultative advice aimed at promoting diversification within their operations, producing higher quality products and encouraging sectoral innovation. AgriConnect is strategically located within proximity to the relevant authorities whereby it intends to achieve an excellent collaborative approach between farmers and all relevant authorities pertinent to the rural sector, bridging farmers and stakeholders.

AgriConnect in collaboration with AGRIHUB is working to adapt and embrace new practices, processes and technologies that address new and future challenges being faced by the agricultural sector aimed at improving general agricultural methods, increasing productivity, whilst also safeguarding the environment and bio-diversity. AgriConnect is also responsible for conducting one off projects and assessments in relation to particular events which would have impacted and effected the agricultural sector. AgriConnect also organises seminars on farm management and occupational health and safety training to any stakeholders working in the industry.


Farmer controlling grass growth with a grass cutter



Our Services (Advisory)



Cross Compliance 

Farmers and livestock breeders that are eligible for subsidies Under Pillar I and Pillar II of the CAP issued by the Agriculture and Rural Payments Agency are obliged to conform with Cross Compliance requirements aimed at safeguarding the environment, public and plant health and animal welfare. AgriConnect helps farmers identify any problems they might face and offers them appropriate advice on how to comply with current regulations.


A rubble wall in bad condition -  A Cross Compliance breach 
  


Agri-Environmental Climate Measures (AECMs)

These are voluntary measures taken up by the farmer who is compensated by costs incurred and income forgone in implementing such measures. These measures are generally simple to implement, but need proper adherence in terms of compliance. AgriConnect will assist farmers in informing them on the availability of such measures compatible with their holding and agronomic practices.


A typical bee box 
  


Rural Development Measures 

AgriConnect will in this advisory area relate to measures at farm level, which are provided for in rural development programmes and are linked to farm modernisation, competitiveness building, sectoral integration, innovation and market orientation, as well as for the promotion of entrepreneurship. This service will correspondingly help farmers satisfy the requirements for the ongoing RDP and any subsequent legislation. 


Crop Compensation Calculations for Loss of Agricultural Land
 
AgriConnect caters for the issuing of crop compensation losses in cases where Agricultural land is lost due to infrastructural projects or in cases where land is expropriated by a Government entity. 

 
Advisory Service on Soil Management Plan (smp)

Livestock breeders have a legal obligation to continuously update the herdbook. The herdbook is a registry of the herd found at the farm at that particular point in time. 


Livestock Herd Book Assistance

AgriConnect is providing the necessary help to the livestock breeders to help them fi ll it correctly by demonstrating how the herdbook should be fi lled and also providing a sample template that will help the breeders keep their book up to date. 

SOIL TESTS, CROP PLANS, FERTILISER PLANS AND NUTRIENT MANAGEMENT PLANS - Obligatory administrative work required by the farmer such as Crop Plans, Soil Tests, Fertilizer Plans and Nutrient Management Plans are also formulated by AgriConnect in line with legislative requirements free of charge. Such tools allow the farmer to better understand the characteristics of his holdings, allowing him to plan accordingly. Additionally, these tools serve to safeguard soil quality and regulate nitrate levels in agricultural production as to protect water quality for future generations.


Animal medication records - an SMR requirement 
  


Front Office

The Front Office (FO) Unit with the Agriconnect infrastructure is a key service provider to both farmers and the general public. The Front Office is based in Ta’Qali and complimented by an extension of the office in Mellieha (which will begin operating in the near future, by appointments only every Wednesday). Several tasks are the sole responsibility of Agriconnect, whereas others are shared with the Agricultural Rural Payments Agency. 


A break down of the roles of the Agriconnect Front Office are as follows:

Registry of Agridec parcels
Registry of quantities of olives and vines
MRA applications for boreholes.
Communicating with farmers in regards to Agridec requests
Archives & Research
Soil transfer applications

The following tasks are shared with the Agricultural Rural Payments Agency

Registry of new profiles
Nitrates Declarations
Contestations forms 
Land owner forms 
Data protection forms 


Training

A key role of Agriconnect is to provide training to our farmers to ensure they are in compliance with all their legal obligations in terms of Cross Compliance and over and above that they receive all necessary training to ensure they are able meet the targets and goals established in any Rural Development Plan measures to which they have applied. 

We have a number of trainers forming part of our team to ensure we offer the best service, our trainers regularly receive refresher courses, and all courses offered through Agriconnect are fully certified and compliant with the various departments to which the training is related or requested. 

Training is currently offered in individual Agri Environmental Climate Measures, Nitrates obligations and Plant Protection Products. All participants are given a certificate upon conclusion of the training which aids them in a number of areas including; applying for measures, coming into compliance with legal commitments and obtaining necessary licenses and documentation to allow them to continue their farming practices unhindered. 
At Agriconnect we believe training is the primary starting point to successful implementation of legislation, measures and so forth. Support materials are also provided to farmers, over and above certification to ensure we aid them in achieving their goals. 


Our Services (Extension)

AgriConnect provides a number of farm extension services aimed at both farmers and livestock breeders in-order to achieve the necessary expertise and technical knowledge which is continuously evolving. Particular effort is also done to increase their exposure to new and innovative farming products and techniques, aimed at increasing quality and production of agricultural products whilst also making use of present resources in the best possible manner, safeguarding the environment. 


Soil Management Plans
The objective is to incentivise farmers to prepare and implement a soil management plan prepared by a recognised advisor to combat soil related threats on their parcels arising from soil erosion, compaction and low organic matter. 
 
The implementation of a SMP has the potential to; better filter water prior to it reaching the groundwater table; enhance water retention and storage; mitigate the impacts of extreme weather events; improves soil structure; provide microbial habitat; and serves as a source of long-term, slow-release nutrients. In addition it enhances the soil ability to store carbon dioxide (CO2) and other GHGs in soil organic matter. 

To date AgriConnect has helped and given consultation services on Soil Management Plans to over 100 farmers.


Maltese agricultural landscape 
  


Storm damage assessments   

AgriConnect is responsible to conduct on site inspections with regards to damages sustained to crops or agricultural structures during adverse weather phenomena such as high winds and torrential rain. This is done to determine the extent of damage sustained by a farmer or livestock breeder resulting in potential loss of income due to loss of crop or financial burden in order to fix damaged equipment or structures 
To date AgriConnect has conducted over 1000 inspections on fields


Crop Compensation 

AgriConnect personnel is also responsible to conduct crop compensation exercises when ever particular infrastructural projects such as building of roads or passing of new water or electricity services will impact agricultural fields. An assessment is done to determine the amount of monetary compensation a particular farmer is set to receive for the loss of his crop.


Other services offered to farmers free of charge

Crop Plan
Crop planning considers what, when, where and which plants to grow in relation to their requirements for space, water, maturation, season of planting and tolerance for each other. 

Soil Tests
Soil test are carried out following the collection of soil samples from a particular field. Tests are carried out for Total Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium

Fertiliser Plan
A fertiliser plan is compiled after the necessary soils tests are performed and a baseline indication on the present nutrients already present in the soil is determined. Once the farmer has decided which type of crop he will cultivate a fertiliser plan is worked out according to the need of those crops intended to be cultivated. 

Record Keeping
AgriConnect also helps farmers and livestock breeders keep the necessary records for their holding. 

Research in Land Archives
AgriConnect also offers historical research in land archives using old field plans to determine who was responsible for cultivating a particular parcel of land. 




Click here to download the AgriConnect Information Leaflet – MT Version 
Click here​ to download the AgriConnect Information Leaflet – ENG Version


Contact


 Telephone  +356 21804981/2/4
Address - AgriConnect FAS, Government Farm Għammieri, Marsa, Malta.


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